Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Ilma Rakusa



Where were there none? If we wanted to go to the countryside around Trieste, we had to move from Zone A to Zone B. If we wanted to continue on to Ljubljana, there was another border. Documents to be shown, controls, everywhere. From the backseat of the family car, often half-asleep and wrapped in a blanket, I would see the border officers, saluting soldiers. Barriers closed and opened again. Sometimes they riffled through our suitcases indecently. I would wrap myself tighter in the blanket. And yet, as soon as the strange procedure was finished, I would look around: what was different on the other side of the border? Were the trees taller, were peoples’ faces friendlier? And did I understand what they were saying? Ambivalent, these borders. They were disconcerting, sinister, frightening, but also fascinating. I experienced them as places of tension, places that piqued my curiosity. On the one hand, they were barriers between the familiar and the unfamiliar that provoked one to lift the curtain, to peer through the hole in the fence, to spy over the border gate. On the other hand, they were transitions, points of friction and contact. I


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