Labyrinth

 

Labyrinth is a theatrical installation made and performed by the We Are Here Cooperative: a cooperative of We Are Here members and professional artists and directors. In January 2015 Labyrinth was performed at Frascati Theater in Amsterdam, and in June 2015 a video installation of Labyrinth was exhibited at Deutches Theater in Berlin.

Labyrinth is based on the experiences of We Are Here members during and after their asylum procedure in the Netherlands. The theatre piece lets the audience experience the frustrating bureaucracy of an asylum application, with long waiting periods and a seemingly never ending chain of interviews and court verdicts. Before entering the labyrinth, all visitors have to hand in their wallets and phones, stripping themselves of their personal identity. In the Labyrinth, everyone plays the role of Mohammed Hassan Abdi; a refugee from Somalia, who fled from terrorist organization Al-Shabaab.

As Mohammed Hassab Abdi visitors navigate through a décor of rooms with walls of colorful sheets, resembling the actual living quarters in We Are Here’s squatted residencies. From room to room, from IND (Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service) to DT&V (Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service), from embassy to living on the street.  They experience a procedure filled with hope and disappointment, a confusing emotional rollercoaster.

At the invitation of the Deutches Theater in Berlin, Labyrinth was edited into a video installation. Such a transformation was necessary because almost the entire cast lacked the proper documentation to travel in Berlin. The documentation of the original theatre piece (as performed in Amsterdam) served as a basis for the 23 videos displayed in Labyrinth’s décor. This installation also follows the story of Mohammed Hassan Abdi.  Two cast members, who recently obtained their Dutch residency permits, were able to join the Labyrinth production to Berlin and inform the German audience about the current situation of refugees in limbo in the Netherlands.

Labyrinth is funded by AFK (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst)