Borders without borders

2016-2017, photographs

 

 

The project “Borders without borders” comprises eighteen photographs of customs offices on former borders crossing points of the member states under Schengen. Albeit currently abandoned and bereft of any meaningful purpose within the above mentioned area, the customs offices still stand there, reminding us of former divides. However, for people who, like artist himself, come from the area where the borders crossing infrastructure continues to serve its original purpose and the freedom of movement is still restricted, customs offices represent more than just monuments of transitions by dredging up the the painful memory of rejection and loss.

Amidst the renewed strengthening of protection at borders within the Schengen area, the artist decided to photograph the customs offices and raise the issue of the credible (non-) existence of international border. Most countries, namely, share a common and sometimes also conflict-ridden past, in which wars were fought over borders. Something similar happened in the relations between Yugoslavia and Albania during the process off abolishing boundaries within the EU, when the border between the said tow countries was further entrenched and at same places kept families apart for decades.

Through the photographs of customs offices, whose architecture testifies to the common history of EU members states, the artist confronts us with their abandonment. The question is whether they will remain in place and, if so, what function they will have have or what role they may play in the future. Will they be preserved to serve as memory of the past or might one of them perhaps seize the opportunity to host cultural contents like Customs Office on Erjavceva street which once separated Italian Gorizia from Slovenian Nova Gorica?

Photographs by: Emanuel Gjokaj