Newsreel 64-The Wire
video essay, photographic collage, archival material
The Newsreel 64 research project considers and reflects on the four periods in which the barbed/razor wire played a role of a tool of governance and power. The project draws attention to its use, which due to its lightness, flexibility, cheapness, aggressiveness and effectiveness brutally encroaches on human lives, thereby producing the greatest possible effects of control and governance.
In 2000, the French philosopher Olivier Razac described, in his Barbed Wire: A Political History, three larger historical events in which barbed wire, used as a political tool, played a crucial role in demarcating space, thereby shaping and determining three key catastrophes of the modern age. In the US, it was essential in the ethnocide of the natives; during World War One, it was crucial in equipping the trenches; while in World War Two, it fenced the Nazi camps. But its history does not end there.
The Newsreel 64 research project examines the above mentioned three key periods, but adds another one. In the fourth period, the barbed wire has obtained a new image and a sharper dimension; it has become a razor wire. It has continued to be widely used on factory walls and in fencing state institutions, elite neighbourhoods and, in the last ten years, the Schengen border. It is used along national borders to control people that need to be confined, deterred and returned.
In the last three years, Slovenia has erected a razor wire on more than 160 km of the border with Croatia, spending more than 13.6 million euros. In 2016 alone, Europe fenced itself with more than 1,200 km of razor wire, which cost more than half a billion euros. The immediate threat on the border along the Sotla, the Kolpa and the Dragonja, where the razor wire now deters the refugees and incomers, has increased because it now includes drowning. In 2017, there were 16 searches for drowned persons in the Kolpa alone, persons forced to find an alternative route through the water due to the razor wire.
Museum of Contemporary art, KGLU, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia, 2019