"The term 'avant-garde' stands for progress and the way of a pioneer. Driven by the desire to give their lives meaning, and guided by their own integrity, migrants bring new perspectives and points of view to our society." - Michael Danner
With his new book of photographs, Migration as Avant-Garde, Michael Danner delivers a moving, critical, and thought-provoking contribution to the current public debate on immigration. He skillfully combines his own photos and texts with historic images, and the result is a coherent and multifaceted narrative of the immigrant experience. Danner has photographed the people who migrate from their homes, but also "those that influence, prevent, channel, or impact a migrant's humanity", including border police and agents of the state. In addition to these portraits, his book includes archival images of refugees and satellite imagery from crisis regions.
Quotes from Hannah Arendt's 1943 essay We Refugees, which was also the inspiration for the title, are interspersed through the book. The events that Arendt wrote about more than seventy years ago - giving up one's home, one's friends, family, and language - are more pressing today than ever before. In search of progress, driven by the desire for a better future, and risking their lives, people both then and now hit the road, break through physical and psychological boundaries, and thus provide our society with new perspectives and ways of thinking.