A collaboration between
Ivan Mesek and myself.
Croatia - Slovenia
Slovenia has recently erected 500km of concertina wire across its border. The brutal fence is meant to be a deterrent against immigrants making their way north from Croatia. One of the many unfortunate consequences is that thousands of animals are ensnared in the fence and starve to death. Wild animals are a unique factor in the massive conflict happening in Europe right now. They are nationless and free to move unfettered between countries. Wild animals are, in a sense, the ideal that the European Union sought in opening its borders. Due to the fence they have lost this freedom and have now become "Croatian" or "Slovenian" animals, unable to move through their habitat, they are detained by the state.
Croatian artist Ivan Mesek and New York artist Zefrey Throwell created
a short film to highlight this tragedy and call attention to the
absurdity of the situation. The film is the story of animals attempting
to negotiate the quagmire of bureaucracy that immigrants currently face.
The plots follow Zefrey and Ivan as they gather a pheasant, duck and
wild rabbit from near the Slovenian fence. They attempt to get police
help, but are turned away. Taking the law into their own hands, they
forge Croatian passports for each of these animals and set off for the
border. The border guards are incredulous and they are turned away yet
again. Humorous and yet heartbreaking when viewed through the lens of
the everyday struggles faced by thousands of immigrants, “Woodland
Concertina” uses the universally adored story of animals to pierce the
thorny issues we as humans can't bring ourselves to look at.