What is Familar Facades?

Familiar Facades is a multimedia street art project to make refugees visible and audible as individuals. It is present in urban space as well as on the internet.
This multimedia approach is realized by placing highly magnified portrait photographies of the protagonists (so-called ‘Paste-ups’) on facades all over the city. Every portrait includes a QR-code which directly leads to a video interview with the protagonist.
On the web portal, users can find videos with all participating protagonists and a collection of links to other initiatives and projects associated with the topic.
Familiar Facades therefore is not merely a documentary art project, but also includes an added functionality for using it as an information portal which connects public and virtual spaces.


In political and medial discussions about migration and immigration, the voices of those who really matter are barely heard. Instead of persons who are migrating for various reasons, ‘experts’ dominate the discourse instead. By voicing their views about motivation, experience and perspectives of refugees, they homogenize a multi-faceted and diverse group of ‘migrants’ who are faced with the realities of German majority society. In doing so, they fuel notions of difference and ‘unfamiliarity’.

The possibility of having an equal exchange of ideas with persons concerned is hampered by reinforcing concepts, categories and images of people which are highly influenced by racisms and stereotypes. 

Therefore, Familiar Facades does not only want to make refugees visible as individuals, but also audible in multimedia interviews. The interview partners themselves determine what is important to tell, which results in a variety of unique and individual statements.


The portrait photographies including QRC (Quick Response Code) will be printed monochrome on blue back paper and hanged on preselected and approved spots in the city (windowless fire protecting walls, appropriate house walls etc.). Beholders with smartphones or tablets now have the possibility to reach the video interview with the pictured person via QR-Code. The stories are as different as the people who tell them. There is to be space for the individual message. One person prioritizes memories of childhood and formative social environment – his or her cultural identity –, while another person concentrates on the flight and its reasons. Still another person mainly wants to talk about life in the new home.
In future, there will also be interviews and essays of social scientists who deal with topics like migration, integration and cultural identity.