Resisting Separation

October 30th 2023
Northern Switzerland
Co-authors: Kaspar Deicher, Miriam Paschetta, Hannah Wirnsperger, Nina Maghsoodloo
Field research
Transdisciplinary research
Social studies

We took a walk through the Lange Erlen…

…and here we met with a comforting feeling of community, beyond and above precarity and uncertainty.

The city border of Basel meets the neighboring city Riehen in a commonly used, 180 hectares forest that also traces a part of the German-Swiss border, the Lange Erlen. This recreational space invites walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists and is widely appreciated for its animal park, the numerous family-friendly parks and its multitude of sport facilities.  

Within this open space, in the western side of the park, a sense of separation lingers, silently imposing its influence. Here, like a metaphor, the prison looms as a sentinel beside the regional asylum center, while its imposing concrete blocks and uniformly spaced windows contrast with the greenery of the old adler forest. This space appears to be governed by a pervasive sense of limbo, a state that is acutely experienced by the refugee community.
The term “Limbo” is here understood as the “In-Between”, that director and artist Rabih Mroué defines as an intermediate space and/or time that is undetermined, somewhere between two states or categories, different from what we are used to experience in daily life, and which does not submit to choice. 
Just a few meters away, opposition arises against the borders and alienation. Offered as an alternative to the separation regime, every Sunday afternoon, the No Border Cafe opens a safer space for connection and empowerment for anybody and everybody who joins.
The text written on the old shack situated next to the café and pictured above clearly illustrates the intended message: “against right-wing agitation”