Until it closed down in 1991 it was the preeminent Greek record company and most of the country’s big performing artists were signed to the label.
During the seventies many Arab musicians from either Egypt or the Middle East used the studios for their recordings.
In 2009, 200 undocumented migrants squatted the deserted building.
Most of them are Algerians. Nearly all of them want to end up in France or in any of “the big and rich European countries, because in Greece there is not enough work”.
They try their luck at the port of Patras, hiding in containers and trucks hoping that they will manage to get on board a ship to Italy. Most of them after trying for sometime in Patras, they return to the Columbia compound.
I used extensively archival material for describing the musical history of the building. I also used material taken by the immigrants, mainly video clips from their cell phones. Some people made home a historical building having limited freedom and living under constant fear as police repeatedly raids on the deserted building of Columbia Records.
Here we see undocumented migrants, stuck in a building, stuck in a country with unclear laws and policies on immigration; and in the piles of archives and rubbish of a record company some people are trying to build a new life. I am trying to approach the huge and very complicated problem of immigration through the three elements that form my multimedia: music, immigration and cultural background of the immigrants. I am interested in the cultural interchange that takes place, which is often ignored or put aside by the “problems” that illegal immigration brings to a country.