With pianist and Soviet-expert Sara Crombach, journalist Milo van Bokkum and illustrator Jasper Rietman. Graphic designer Floor Koomen about stamps and quiz by Suzanne Hendriks. Moderation: Jorie Horsthuis
For the first time on tour outside Amsterdam’s city borders, De Facto was welcomed by Mimik, in Deventer. A city which has, as it turned out, its own exclave on the other side of the river IJssel, taking a chunk out of the province of Gelderland. We soon found out we had a well-traveled audience, as they described some of their most memorable border crossings: ‘I will never forget the first time I flew in an airplane by myself: it was the first time to cross a geographical border and a psychological one at the same time’, someone in the audience shared. ‘I will always remember crossing Checkpoint Charlie to go to East-Berlin, as my friend was humming the American anthem.’
Borders are omnipresent and the evening was full of them. Pianist and Soviet-expert Sara Crombach opened the evening with a piece from composer Fazıl Say and played music from Fikret Emirov and Komitas later on. She was interviewed by journalist Jorie Horsthuis about Armenia, Azerbaijan and the de facto state of Nagorno-Karabakh, which ceased to exist this last new years’ day. Why is this mountainous land so important for both countries? And what are the possibilities of a new war over the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan?
NRC-journalist Milo van Bokkum shared his favorite ex- and enclaves with us, from India and Bangladesh to closer-to-home Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau, where even a local Zeeman-shop is split in half by the border. He also talked about the temporary border corrections the Dutch claimed right after the Second World War and the curious case of Pheasant Island, between Spain and France, who co-parent the uninhabited island. His book ‘Grensstreken’ is so De Facto, that it was great to have him kicking of this first Live On Tour.
With illustrator Jasper Rietman we dove into his self-made country, Odad. Jorie Horsthuis interviewed him about this land with its own flag and its own topography but also its own – very relatable – problems with climate change and exploitation of resources. His book will hopefully be in stores next year. Until then, you can check out his work here.
Graphic designer Floor Koomen zoomed in on some of her favorite stamps, from how Transnistria is actually too small to fit on a stamp to a historic stamp from Taiwan where they depict the wish to reclaim mainland China.
The evening was topped off with a quiz by researcher Suzanne Hendriks, with some flag waving, banned Barbies, chocolate bars with geographic info and the anthem illusionist Uri Geller wrote for his self-proclaimed nation.
De Facto will return to Deventer on April 10th and May 29th, we hope to see you there (you can already reserve your ticket here). De Facto Live will also be in Amsterdam, at De Roode Bioscoop on May 14th, in Amsterdam, so save these dates!