Crossing Borders

Lars Nickel:

”grenzen – verbinden”

The photography project "grenzen – verbinden" provides an artistic documentary of selected aspects of daily life in the Eastern European accession countries. The project studies both major cultural and social differences and similarities, as well as interfaces in which a measure of convergence is already evident.
”grenzen – verbinden” explores places and people on the frontiers between different states and cultures, between the center and the periphery, between west and east, and between east and east. The primary photographs do not focus on physical demarcation lines – like the barriers and control posts on borders – but aim to explore areas close to borders that illustrate the encounter of different cultures, places whose vivid images and stories enable observers to engage emotionally with the people in their environments: people on the move, travelers, cross-border commuters, people waiting, deportees, resettlers, profiteers and losers, people on the fringe, isolated people, people who remain behind at home. The places and situations are charged with the hope for new opportunities. They blend with the expectations of the people who move through them: their hope of gaining a stake in a huge cultural and economic region which is expected to include some 500 million people once the unification process has been completed. But the fear of the new must also be confronted in these spaces – the fear of losing familiar values, traditional identities, and social standards.

The project receives sponsorship from the "Grenzgänger" research scholarship program of Robert Bosch Stiftung. The accompanying exhibition is supported by the Koordinierungsstelle Ostmittel- und Südosteuropa of the Museum of European Cultures, Berlin, and by the State Secretary for Culture and Media of the German federal government.
The exhibition is part of the European Month of Photography.

It will also be on show at the Europa-Universität-Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder (June 2007), the Prospekto Galerie Vilnius of the Lithuanian Photographers' Association in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Vilnius (May/June 2007).

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