El Volcan (2021)
„On the way back from the volcano it starts to snow. The sound is the same. The effect is the same. All is covered with a black layer of ash. It depends on the direction of the wind where it snows. Closer to the volcano it rather feels and sounds like rain. The Palmeros are all wearing masks, no matter if it rains or snows or because Covid19 is still an issue. Nobody really knows any longer. The policemen in El Paso, the closest mid sized town to the volcano even wear gas masks as if they were standing right in a zone of chemical warfare. The precariousness of the situation is physically perceptible.“
For decades the Tagada has been drawing crowds of teenagers who grew up in and around it. Everybody in town knows it. The Tagada serves as a stage for those who want to shine, it serves as a meeting point for those who have nowhere else to go. It is a venue of escapism and a living room for the Tagada family – often troubled youth who lack other social backing. The speed, the sound, the lights and the people make them forget their worries for a few minutes – and give them a space to come to age.
Camp Mela (2019)
Every six years the Kumbh Mela is held in Allahabad. Time has a different quality here. It is an organic continuum and sets you in a particular flow. Maybe it is because there are no motorbikes or honking cars like in every other Indian city. Maybe it is because at a certain point you get lulled into the prayers and the endless chanting of the Babas. Maybe it is because you dive into the mass of people, get dissolved in it and don’t cause any attention – even when you are only wearing your pale blue long johns scuffling the vast premises of this religious fair.
Purple Soil (2019)
Somewhere in the Rif mountains, hidden away from the Lonely Planet trail, lies a gorgeous valley. People from all over the country come here to cure in and drink the waters from the river. At the waterfront they serve tagine and orangejuice. Up in the hills they serve the finest Hashish in the world.Its production comprises agricultural engineering as well as elaborated modes of refinement and consumtion. Not at last it is the basis of a somewhat pariah lifestyle as the sale of Hashish is not exactly legal. The spirit of Abd El-Krim is still strong here. This, and the cheap availability of fertilizers (Morrocco is one of the main sources of phosphate in the world) makes the Rif Europe’s main source of Hash.
Shaci – The Kosovarian Diaspora at home (2018)
Kosovo – the youngest country in Europe – is still associated with flight, destruction and poverty 20 years after the war. Fewer think of pool parties, pop concerts, luxury weddings and fast cars. And certainly not of people throwing money around in clubs. When the diaspora from Switzerland, Germany and Austria comes home in August, the little Balkan country comes to life again. People celebrate, drink and are getting married. And year after year, those who are left behind realise that their country could not survive without the Schatzis abroad.
The Pilgrim’s Trail (2017)
Ethiopians of all ages are walking from dawn till dusk, not fast but steady, making up to 40 miles a day under intense sun through the highlands of central Ethiopia. On their way they pass through sleepy towns and villages on roads less travelled thus creating a sense of belonging: for themselves but also for the people they meet on the street. Sometimes singing, sometimes chatting, sometimes not doing anything at all but setting one foot infront of the other.
The young men who work in the firework factories day after day got rid of their T-shirts and frenetically run, jump and shout together with the exploding bulls make the pit. They enjoy this intimate contact with the products of their own labor – the wounds inflicted that night are thought to be kisses from their patron saint.