INTERMEDIATE WORLDS 02.10.2011 – 26.11.2011
curated by Elisabeth Arlt (AT)
steirischer herbst & Pavelhaus
Looking for a better world
Looped Videos, 4″40, 2011
Never before have questions of work, workers and migrants been so pertinent as they are today. Immigrants who flee in hopes of a better life are faced with growing hostility among their new neighbours, who fear increased competition for jobs and deterioration in their country's standard of living. The media is flooded with tragic tales of unfortunate people; immigrants and migrant workers, intellectuals, and our society fears such situations and represses any discomfort or negativity.
Slovenia is one of the few countries that have a relatively small number of immigrants and migrant workers from other countries. In some ways, it is an isolated island, and its perspective on immigrants also differs from the norm – it is less hostile than in other European countries. The project "Looking For Better World" portrays the private lives of people who have found a positive and optimistic approach to the challenge of job hunting. The three films included in the exhibition depict portraits of people who could be described as "heroes" of the current unjust and exploitative labour system, with which we all have to contend. The films tell the life stories of people from three different corners of the world, who all happened to come to the same small Slovenian town of Ptuj. Each one of them had the courage to tackle the problems they encountered in their new country. These are people who managed very quickly and successfully to integrate themselves into the local community. They found jobs, opened their own businesses and launched careers in their own professional fields. The films are psychological portraits in which the protagonists describe their memories of the past, their longing to return home to the countries from which they were forced to flee, while also discussing their reasons for the decisions that they made. In this project, I aim to highlight aspects of their life stories that are often overlooked and to illustrate certain prejudices, which even now are so firmly instilled in our thinking.