The short film FESTUNG:HEIMAT is based on a critical text drawn up by ZEBRA, an organization in Graz, Austria, on the Schengen Agreement and its effects on the EU´s insular asylum and migration policies as they are applied to a region on Schengen´s external border: Austria´s Burgenland. The visual leitmotif is provided by flickering high-contrast b/w reminiscences of a childhood spent in this area, which borders on an East formerly imagined to be a threat. Fading features and a fading singularity, because in terms of the system we are no more than data. An additional level is added by information aimed at tourists about the birth of the state and its capital, Eisenstadt. The focus is the surveilling view of this city, a reference to the gaze of border guards into the foreign land from which illegal aliens could come.
FESTUNG:HEIMAT is intended not as an educational documentary but an emotional video essay. It employs a parallel depiction of various themes and narrative threads, a metaphor for the parallel existence of diverging realities at a single place. The sound of constant rainfall serves as a foundation for the spoken text. Almost unnoticed, the Burgenland´s state hymn begins
as a painfully slow funeral march through the rain until a flood of images, taken from old postcards, childhood photos and visual material relating to the Burgenland from the Internet, concludes the film in a melancholy epilog. The passing of a life, an identity and a home.
Translation: Steve Wilder