open.closed – submission for Grand Prix Images Vevey 2021|2022

such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world

Rudyard Kipling, Kim

Check-points disrupt the „river of life“. They claim an often fragile sovereignty over space, people, and goods, while, at the same time, individual freedom comes to a halt. They are the nucleus of discrimination, corruption, subtle as well as gross violence. In conflict regions they document and permanently reproduce the instability of borders and frontiers, legal arrangements, and political power.

In particular, Central Asia was thought to become a heaven of progress and peace by ending British colonial rule in the 1940s. The year 2022 will mark the 75th anniversary of India‘s independence, its partition from what then has become Pakistan and East Pakistan (today Bangladesh), and relating border conflicts as well as numerous hot and cold civil and state wars with adjacent regions or countries. Instead of realizing the shaky vision of a „river of life“ the whole region is filled with unresolved claims, floating nationalism, administrative instabilities, and patchworks of ethnic, religious, and political conflicts.

Constitutive for my work is a continuous interplay between photography‘s objectifying potential and its personal conversion into visual palimpsests that represent our inability to finally grasp the physical and structural, the visible and invisible violence I have been confronted with. For me, the open-shut-down-moment of the camera is a liminal stimulus to engage with the intrinsic limitations of photography as a documentary genre in order to disclose myriad ways to perceive realities.

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