Journey into the unknown, part 2
Second volume of Košice project focused on minorities in society
- Series: INTERVIEWS
Journey into the unknown - the story of refugees in Slovakia is the subject of SPOTs, one of the main activities of Košice 2013. Its goal is to support higher public perception, cooperation of artists with citizens from handicapped communities and development of new approaches within social and communal work.
During the event which started in October, professionals from the European Commission collaborated on human rights. The Council of high commissar of UN for refugees, Jesuits and the Cultural centre Zahrada discussed together and informed the public about complicated situation of refugees and asylum applicants. The presented information were enriched with the photography exhibition of Victor Breiner's 12 black and white photos.
With the SPOTs team and Anna Crippa from Genova who works with migrants in Italy, Victor Breiner visited some facilities for asylum applicants and other organizations and institutions active in this field. He is a documentary photographer and focuses on social topics that are often ignored in the mainstream. In his personal works he is attracted by India with all its paradoxes: poorness, happiness, religion… In Europe he shoots radical movements, both left and right.
Victor, you are a documentary photographer, you catch moments that will never repeat. What makes you push the trigger? And what are you expecting from a visitor of your exhibition, what kind of reaction would be satisfying?
The motivation as a photographer is represented by a simple idea which drives so many of us. To give a voice to people, who otherwise would not have a voice and put attention of what is happening to them. Old as journalism itself, this task becomes more challenging in the fast changing world, society and technology of today.
I want my pictures to be strong enough to cause some kind of response. If anger for example is what people will feel, when looking at the photographs, they might start to ask questions, become curious about issues they did not know before, maybe get involved - that would be the ultimate goal.
You have travelled India a lot, what did attract you there the most? Did the trip change you?
The way of life is different in India, Asia, wherever, out of the western world - for it´s people and travelers passing by. It´s important to understand it, not to be completely absorbed by the environments or events. To let them fairly affect you - yes, it is necessary to do the job. To move within different worlds requires one´s constant focus and a sense for balance. That had to be learned.
People - refugees, for miscellaneous reasons, leave their homes in order to find a better tomorrow. What are your experiences from refugee camps?
There is a difference between migrants and refugees. I myself, I am a migrant. I do not live in my country - by choice. Refugees flee their countries due to war, religious persecution, political opinion, nationality, etc...
People in the European detention facilities do not have the legal status of refugees yet. They have been detained as they have been found without the legal permission to stay within the Schengen space, or with no documents at all. Many ask for asylum, some of them get it. Those to whom it isn´t granted, often choose illegality before a return to their home country.
The idea of global peace is beautiful, do you think civilization is able to achieve this goal?
Education and free flow of information are absolutely necessary for a society to function properly. The role of journalism, more than ever, is to provide it with awareness, guiding people´s natural sense of compassion to where it is required. It communicates the responsibility for what is going on in the world to everyone and change becomes not only possible but inevitable.