cesura lab

The refugee Hotel
by Gabriele Stabile

The “Refugee Hotels” are today´s Ellis Islands. Places of temporary lodging on refugees’ journeys from where ever “there” was to wherever in America they end up. For this photo essay I’ve been only concerned with that moment on the cusp between the port of entry and the place that becomes home, my intention was to document the moments between two kinds of uncertainty. Refugees come fleeing hunger, they come from forced exile, they come escaping certain death. Some spend years in camps waiting for their ballot to be cast. I spoke to one person who’d waited seven years to talk to me in an anonymous hotel room in Newark, New Jersey. The resettlement process, even with all its difficulties and challenges, must be light years away from the harsh realities of life in a refugee camp. Still, I don´t know what to make of the establishing shot we start their American stories with: standardized hotel chains and neondrowned food courts. The first signs of our civilization are “Pardon Our Dust” and the ads by the freeway, designed to appeal to our middle managers, while from the windows of the Refugee Hotel, in the distance, are our cities, our homes, our lives. So close and so far
FULLSCREEN   enter / exit