Fencing Borders is an international documentary project that focuses on the fences erected along the borders of the European Union since 2015. It  began with field research and interviews documenting and recording local perspectives along the fenced-off borders. It aims at the creation of an archive, exhibitions, multimedia works and stage performances addressing the consequences of the fence constructions/materialized borders in and around the European Union.

This website organizes the interviews, images and impressions gathered between 2017 and 2019 during our field trips. It also refers and links to other studies and reports that are dedicated to the topic.

„The border has become the social condition necessary for the emergence of certain dominant social formations, not the other way around.“

In Thomas Nail, Theory of the border, 2016

By focusing on local situations involving the Schengen border zone, we reflect upon the systematic fencing-off of physical spaces for socio-political and economical reasons in today’s world. Such a deployment of barriers, justified as a response to ‘security risks’ associated with freedom of movement (as in the ongoing refugee crisis) forms a quickly spreading grid network of physical boundaries. Border fences reshape rural and urban landscapes, change ecosystems, participate in the creation of different statuses for different human beings. Accordingly, they channel our movements and affect our behaviours, they parcel public and natural spaces into impermeable zones, and ultimately establish a standardized aesthetic for security and identity driven ideologies.

In Europe nowadays, hundreds of kilometers of fence are redrawing and materializing borders that we considered fallen into desuetude. Fencing systems enhanced with razor-wires are a developing part of our environment. Several countries challenge their own laws concerning freedom of movement and create perennial states of emergency, while similarities to historical precedents stay mostly unaddressed.

„The first type of border is the fence. The fence is not only an array of concrete border technologies with some architectural similarity, but also a border regime or a set of kinetic conditions for social motion. Before there is a concrete technical object called “the fence,” there is a kinetic social regime of fencing.“

In Thomas Nail, Theory of the border, 2016