Phantom Ship

On Lake Geneva in Switzerland, there is a mystical legend at the margins. This local story tells of a miraculous boat that appears some nights on the lake and if you are lucky enough to see that magical ship, your wishes may come true.

This is the starting point to talk about the desire and longing for a place to call home, in the complex Swiss migration regime, European borders and their policies of illegality and invisibility.

Through the appropriation and re-signification of the Phantom Ship folktale. By working actively with the Autonomous School of Zürich community, as well as other organizations linked to the anti-racial struggle and the civil rights of migrants. The Phantom Ship ongoing project focuses on navigating contemporary migration issues by exploring the limits of documentary photography, activism, discussion, participation of the collectives involved, fantasy and the imagination possibilities in the construction of new narratives. Combining different tools such as photography, interviews, drawings, video and paper boat masks.

The school, the people who participate in it, asylum seekers, people with and without ID, my migrant story, as well as other species on this planet, is a story marked by the search, whishes and long for a place we would call home.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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Lake Geneva in Switzerland, home and headquarters of many human rights organisations. As well home from the Phantom Ship folktale.

© Emilio Nasser - Another lake in Switzerland, Europe. A continent full of contradictions in its political migration regime.
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Another lake in Switzerland, Europe. A continent full of contradictions in its political migration regime.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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The Autonomous School in Zurich remains closed because the virus has stopped it for now, but the dreams and the struggle for political enmacipation have not. The ASZ is a self-organised and self-managed school. This school is a project against racism and injustice. This school is a meeting point where you can meet other people.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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Chair emptied by a massive Covid virus infection in the Urdorf Bunker Camp Centre for rejected asylum seekers. A Camp famous for its very poor living conditions. As Gaim Kibread argues, "the refugee camp is constructed as a `proper´ space for refugee populations, acting as a technology of spatial segregation that enables the containment of those displaced".

© Emilio Nasser - Home can fit in a cigarette box? Bah, a school activist in the ASZ, wrote a lot of interesting things about what home is.
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Home can fit in a cigarette box? Bah, a school activist in the ASZ, wrote a lot of interesting things about what home is.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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The centres for asylum seekers and rejected asylum seekers in Switzerland are privatised services managed by the company ORS. This company operates on a European level, according to its website statement, "an internationally recognised service provider that guarantees professional assistance to all refugees, from accommodation to integration. Neutrality, flexibility and care". Based in Zurich, this company is one of many examples of the privatisation of care, borders and politics. Ors has been and is highly questioned, denounced by many social organisations, for having many cases of racism and bad practice.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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Cityscape close to the place that the Autonomous School of Zurich has as a temporary home. In the photo someone from the school wrote on the mask that their idea of home is love.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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A key without a lock, a portrait and mask without answers. All together looking for some sunshine on the periphery of Zürich's central station.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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Snow in the mountains of the Swiss and European Alps. A territory bounded by historically, geographically and economically politicised borders.

© Emilio Nasser - Image from the Phantom Ship photography project
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The schoolyard is a place to meet others without the dangers of being deported or stopped for racial profiling. A migrant activist pictured with the Federal Asylum Centre Camp in Zurich in the background.

Phantom Ship by Emilio Nasser

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