Polish artist Tomasz Bajer carried out a three-month residency at ISIS Arts in spring 2008.He was commissioned by ISIS Arts as part of At Home in Europe. Installed on Northumberland Street in Newcastle upon Tyne on Saturday 27th September 2008, the event was a huge success with over 850 visitors.
During the residency Tomasz developed and made Border Crossing,a 4-metre high plywood construction. Inside the construction, by using barriers, a gateway was created that was similar to those one can find at an airport.
The public entered the construction and found their way along the barrier, which metaphorically forced them to cross the border and find an entrance to the new world. The films, projected inside the structure, depicted the experiences of migrants and the complexity of the integration processes.
Outside the construction a line was drawn onto the pavement, creating the illusion of a border, so that a border symbolically divided the street itself.
In terms of its construction, Border Crossing made a symbolic reference to Hadrian's Wall, which was built by the Roman Emperor to keep barbarians from Scotland out of the Roman Empire; yet it also brought to mind more modern barriers across the world.
Tomasz Bajer is a multimedia artist based in Wroclaw, whose practice looks at notions of identity set against ideas of nationality and social class. For more info see his website.
At Home in Europe, started as a project between ISIS Arts, Newcastle Upon Tyne, (UK), BEK, Bergen, (Norway); Rixc, Riga, (Latvia) and Interspace, Sofia, (Bulgaria) and facilitated the movement and exchange of artists and media art in four very different European countries. The project was extended to include Tomasz's residency. The artists selected and works produced all look at what it means to be European and what it means to have a particular nationality in the light of the shifting boundaries within Europe.
The Border Crossing project was granted the London 2012 Inspire Mark (as part of the Cultural Olympiad. London 2012's Cultural Olympiad is a four year UK-wide programme of culture, which will welcome the world and inspire young people).