Good Smugglers / Bad Escape Helpers / We the Ghosts
In different ideological frameworks people who assist people to trespass from one national territory to another are criminalized as smugglers or celebrated as heroes.
In the former east-west complex of Berlin, professionally organized smugglers used to be called escape helpers, even though they did exactly the same job as their contemporary counterparts on the European borders today.
In their video they renegotiate within a byzantine fortress in Istanbul performatively the criminalized knowledges and expertise of smugglers, and their own role of being privileged, white and to many borders in the world invisible – their passports open most legal locks without much resistance.
After graduating from the art academies in Berlin in 2011 Birgit Auf der Lauer and Caspar Pauli continued to work together as a duo, also collaborating with colleagues on various projects. Their immediate and culturally diverse neighborhood of Neukölln in Berlin moves them and propels their work – sometimes towards research trips to other cities or countries, sometimes just a few steps down neighboring pavements. After lengthy conversations with people, colleagues or their families about their history, beliefs, belongings, nations and identities, personal landmarks and upheavals, after roaming around and searching for a form of narrative, Birgit and Caspar create works ranging between installation, performance, text and video.