Messages from Paradise (MfP) is a trilogy of film- and videoinstallations by Daniela Swarowsky. Central to the trilogy is the eternal longing for elsewhere.
To broaden your horizon, to envision your future, see the world and earn a good living: to go where the grass is greener on the other side of the hill is a universal human desire. The rich West is the greener grass, a paradise that a young and frustrated generation dreams of in poor countries As they see no future at home and there is no work, they feel increasingly frustrated. But those who successfully manage to cross to the other side of the hill, are often confronted with a harsh reality. An interesting phenomenon can then be observed: the longer you are away from the country you came from, the more the image of your home country changes from ‘hopeless and without possibilities’ to a 'lost paradise'.
The Messages from Paradise trilogy is both a poetic reflection as a domain of research concerning the universal myths and experiences relating to migration. The project confronts these myths and poses questions with a critical eye.
Young people from Egypt, Morocco and other non-Western countries are portrayed with their dreams, hopes and realities. They have questions and important things to say to those that left and who are on the other side. Migrants and their children living in Vienna, Rotterdam and other European cities also express their experiences. They too have questions and things to say to those who stayed in their home country. Different sides of the story of migration are told through dialogue by the means of video.
Daniela Swarowsky finished Messages from Paradise #1 (MfP#1) in 2009 in collaboration with the anthropologist Samuli Schielke This documentary begun as a quest between Egypt and Austria. Five young people in Egypt, all eager to leave their country, talk about their lives and ask questions to 1st generation Egyptian migrants in Vienna/Austria. They are curious to know how they experience the dream and what it is like to be migrant.
Messages from Paradise #2 (MfP#2) is a fictive dialogue between young people in the North of Morocco and young Dutch Moroccans. The film has been shot between 2009 and 2011 and has been finalized in the beginning of 2014.
The third part of the MfP trilogy is currently in the conceptual phase and under construction.