‘Vanishing Lands’. With scientists Ingrid Boas and Ruben Dahm about the island state of Tuvalu, Elvira Osmanovic about the vanished state of Yugoslavia and graphic designer Floor Koomen about the micronation Hutt River. The Slavuj choir with traditional songs from the Balkans and the Black Sea. Quiz by Suzanne Hendriks, moderation by Jorie Horsthuis
Shifting borders make lands appear and vanish. All over the news we can see territories that are on the verge of disappearing or have already vanished. With the ongoing fights in the Donbas region (Ukraine), the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh disappearing from the map, Polynesian island states at risk because of rising sealevels and Gaza under fire, De Facto Live was quite spot on with the topic ‘Vanishing Lands’, at a sold out Roode Bioscoop.
From Tuvalu to Tito and from the Principality of Hutt River to Rose Island, De Facto dug into the world of vanishing lands. Graphic designer Floor Koomen kicked off with a talk about the weird and wondrous Principality of Hutt River, and the rise and fall of this notorious micronation, that was left without an heir after the death of the initiator.
Scientists Ingrid Boas (Wageningen University) and Ruben Dahm (Deltares) were interviewed by Jorie Horsthuis. They explained why island states like Tuvalu do not have to become uninhabitable because of climate change – their groundbreaking argument was recently published by Nature. Like the Netherlands, Tuvalu is facing severe challenges in the future regarding rising sea levels, but the world is expecting Tuvalu to give up, instead of adapt. Why is that and what does it take to change this narrative?
After this, Slavuj took the stage in suitcase size, introduced by Hugo Jetten and conducted by Ivo Boswijk. This Amsterdam-based choir that normally consists of 27 members focused on songs from the Balkans and the Black Sea, areas where borders never have been permanent entities. Their polyphonic Roma song about belonging and their heartfelt performance of a traditional immigration song from Ukraine left a deep impression on the audience of the Roode Bioscoop.
One of Slavujs members, Elvira Osmanovic, stayed on the stage to be interviewed by Jorie Horsthuis about her memories about Yugoslavia, a country that no longer exists. What is left behind, when a country ceases to exist? And how unsettling is it to leave your country and have to witness from afar how it falls apart into different entities? Showing some old images from her family album, Elvira took the audience back to the days when the different nations were living peacefully together. With her mother, brother and daughter on the first row, it became an emotional talk.
And, as always, there was a nerdy quiz by Suzanne Hendriks about vanished micronations and recycled prefixes. The winning team went home with chocolate border markers.