Caspar Berger

Cordon Sanitaire

Traditional arrangement
The installation Cordon Sanitaire consists of three so-called protective cases – abstracted vessels that enclose and protect a precious objec – in which the viewer might recognize a traditional setup for a dignitary press conference: a lectern for the speaker and two flags indicating the speaker’s identity.

Separate nations – Corona
When the Corona wave spread throughout the countries affiliated with the European Union, it led to a remarkable reflex. Borders were closed and responsible presidents and prime ministers of the 27 member countries addressed their people in a first national address, thus the security of national identity was emphasized. The video projection behind the case of the lectern shows these 27 speeches simultaneously, with their message being the same, only the form totally different.

Emphasizing identity
We witness a union in which each member, under the pressure of a global crisis, chooses his/her own identity, putting the customs of their own country before that of the central role of the European Union. The speeches start one after another, just as the virus has spread in Europe. The viewer is overwhelmed by the surround sound of these speeches, which, after initially being intelligible, blend together more and more.

Local identity versus the European Union
‘Cordon Sanitaire’ raises the question about this Babylonian confusion of tongues, How does our local identity relate to the complexity and functionality of ideals in the construction of the European Union.