Alban Kakulya & Yann Minguard | Borders
7 JUNE – 15 JULY 2003
In early 2002, Swiss photographers travelled along the length of Europe’s new frontier in the East – from the Adriatic to the Baltic – starting at opposite ends and meeting in the middle. The resulting exhibition is a striking record of European history in the making.
Through their photographic journey, Kakulya and Mingard have addressed a range of significant questions: What is happening today in a zone where people, who have been accustomed to the standards of the Ancient Regime, are suddenly expected to follow the rules of the European Union? What happens when a former no-man’s land becomes a free zone? Will the iron curtain be restored or replaced by a high tech surveillance barrier?
As photographers, they have documented, point by point, GPS in hand, the actual state of this border – one that has been subject to two World Wars and numerous lines drawn, arbitrarily or not, by those who have made the map of Europe and influenced history. In addition to the geographical aspect of their project, Kakulya and Mingard took a series of portraits of the people directly concerned with and affected by this border.
Today, more than ten years after the fall and decline of the iron curtain, new reinforcement measures are being put into place. The buffer zone that was formerly made up of the ‘sister countries’ of the URSS, is slowly becoming the European Union’s buffer zone against illegal immigration and various kinds of illegal traffic. From North to South, the countries who will be affected include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Russian enclave of Kalingrad, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Most of them are scheduled to join the European Union between 2004 and 2006.
Borders is shown in collaboration with Panos Pictures, London.