„Anrandungen“ (literally translated as " on the verge of ...") - a photographic project traveling along the European Union’s new Eastern border from Estonia to Romania.
Europe has natural borders to the west, north and south, but not to the east. Not that long ago, the eastern edge of Europe was right outside my door in the form of the Berlin wall, but nowadays, the border seems to be moving further and further eastwards: to the river Oder, or even further to Brest (Ukraine). Today there is a new East: different from the "Eastern Bloc", and a Europe which does not fit with the image that its citizens have made of it for themselves. The world is starting anew, when it had already seemed to be over for so many: the story is beginning again, when it had appeared to have come to an end. Behind what we thought we knew, is a territory we have yet to discover.
Where will the eastern border of a economically and politically-united Europe end up? Which countries will eventually belong and when will the European Union be saturated? Such questions need to be answered and incite emotional responses and controversy. There is still a lot of work to be done in the new EU countries in the East, but nothing seems as urgent as securing newly-won privileges. I was not an eyewitness to the disappearance of the border, but rather to its metamorphosis. The new Europe that is emerging is not limitless, but one that is learning to find its limits and live with them.
However, it is the barrier itself, rather than the political aspects, which is the subject of my work. The border as a dividing line, a demarcation that separates and limits the space in which we live. People never live (nor could we live) in boundless space. The limits which we depend on are only a transitional line: a threshold which structures the formless. Such limits should not scare us, they should act as a stimulus. They foster new experiences and ensure that each arrival is also a farewell. Boundaries are characterized by a richness of difference. A limit indicates the obligation of being responsible for our own home, as well as the opportunity to be a guest somewhere else.
A journey from the north to the south along the periphery of our great political and cultural project: the European Union, led me from Estonia through Latvia, Lithuania, eastern Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the eastern border regions of Romania. Such a trip, taking over 8 weeks by car, allowed me to accumulate a wealth of material from observations and encounters along the way, based on the thoughts above and questions from the project "Anrandungen". A selection of them can be seen in this photo book. Marco Kaufmann.