Borderstage (by Halyna Vasylenko)

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The nation states will be 369 this year. Since that time we have a concept of a state defined with a ‘nation’ term. And one of a nation-state attributes is border.
Beside all the political and social aspects, borders are also about the psychological sphere. There is a great deal of borders comforting people who establish them. It is about safety and not only political one, but also about self-identifying reasons.
We have borders to define ourselves, to show where our ego ends, and someone else’s begins. To explain ourselves, we need some lines, within which we can express ourselves. We are what we have within our borders.
And there is one more thing: since borders are something to identify ourselves, they are also some kind of stage. Countries present themselves on the borders with lots of national symbols, places for currency exchange, national souvenirs to buy and so on.
The Poland-Germany border, which lies between Słubice and Frankfurt-Oder, is interesting also from the point of view that it is extremely visible. Being on a Poland side you can see a German one over the river and vice versa. Because of the river and the landscape, this part of Polish-German border turns out to be a real stage for representing those states. Both Frankfurt and Słubice represent themselves over the Oder river. If you are going from the Polish side, you can see somehow classical Germany with its Roman churches and strict modern architecture, with barely any visual advertisement. And in case you are going in Poland direction, you can see locals pushing their products for a less price (cigarettes first of all), a mix of churches and factories, and, of course, setting a high value on nature.
Both sides are more than aware of their ‘visibility’ to each other over the river, and, of course, use this border-stage to represent themselves in the best possible manner (from their point of view).

For this project I took photos from two sides of defined border – two opposite spots of Frankfurt and Słubice (spots were verified with Google Maps). Each image shows these views of those cities, and also is supported by some footnote-images, which help to disclose the image each city provides on this border-stage.

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