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National disintegrations

11 minutes

The Swiss warehouse where the rich hide assets and wealth leaves no trace

Many believe that the art stashed within the Geneva Freeport’s walls – reportedly including around a thousand pieces by Picasso – would make it one of the world’s largest and most exquisite museums… if the work was on display. Instead, masterworks sit unseen and untouched in high-security vaults, alongside archaeological treasures, gold bars, diamonds, weapons and rare vintage wines – their owners waiting for them to appreciate in value, or, in less savoury cases, to hide them for a time. Because the freeport is exempt from import taxes or duties, and operates under the famous secrecy of Switzerland’s banking system, it is thought to be a hotbed of black market activity (although in 2016 the Swiss government took new measures to crack down on illegal freeport holdings). National Disintegrations contrasts the mysterious inner life of the Geneva Freeport – where untold billions in riches come and go with little regulation – with scenes of a nearby complex, where asylum seekers are subjected to endless waiting and bureaucracy. What does this disparity in freedom say about Swiss society and the global movement of people and goods?

Director: Braden King

Producer: Cynthia Reschke

Website: Field of Vision

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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