The Tibetan word bardo refers to the transitional state between death and rebirth, the existence between two lives on earth. In terms of migration, bardo can be used to refer to the transitional period of a migrant’s life. What happens to a person’s identity when he or she steps out of one culture but is not accepted into another? Bardo focuses on those who live between; unwelcome in their host country and unable to return home.
Thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean region, begin an unknown journey toward the vision of a better life in Europe. Often what stands between his or her destination is the Mediterranean Sea. Undocumented migrants enter the EU member states via the Eastern Mediterranean route through Greece, the Western Mediterranean route, via Northern Morocco into Spain, or the Central Mediterranean route, toward Italy. Stymied in their attempts and often met with racial stereotyping and violence, journeys are brought to a halt in unexpected towns scattered along the borders of the Mediterranean Sea. Some can literally see their destination. Because of the negative stigmas surrounding immigration, migrants face considerable levels of xenophobia in the cities where they temporarily settle. Bardo explores the emotional space of the migrant – the tension between nation and identity, between dream and reality.