Only two generations ago, a large part of Europe lived under dictatorships, in countries like Spain, Portugal, Romania, Poland and the Baltic states. Only in 1991 did the last authoritarian regimes disappear from Europe – barring that of Belarus.

Radio journalist Emmie Kollau asked me to collaborate on a series of video portraits about people who grew up in a European dictatorship. We interviewed people from countries ranging from Estonia to Portugal, focussing on various survival strategy during the dictatorship. The documentary series are shown in museums throughout Europe.

“Maintaining power is an art in itself, cynical as that may sound. Some dictators manage the feat for four decades without being deposed in a revolution. But the people are not crazy either. In all dictatorships citizens develop techniques to make daily life as bearable as possible. Often they use simple strategies like: grow your own vegetables, don’t trust anybody or flee in your own head. In the pop-up museum you will find a series of beautiful video portraits in which Europeans tell anout their favorite survival strategy. Together these videos form sort of a survival guide.”

How to Survive a Democracy Pop-up Museum is an initiative of Stichting Autres Directions and produced by Aldus’ producties. It is made possible by Studio Europa Maastricht, Act for Liberty and European Fund for Citizens.

Client: Aldus Producties
Agency: Bureau Boven
Work: Cinematography and Edit