Public Gallery 2015

NIKOLAS VENTOURAKIS

“Defining Lines” is focused on the areas in and around the Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri in Cyprus. The Area, which is one of the two British Sovereign Territories created in 1960, is autonomous and has as head of the state the British Monarch. There are no border barriers, no custom posts between the Area lands and the Republic. Normal civilian day to day life takes place along the peninsula and right next and inside the border. It is hard to tell if you have crossed into UK land. Using modern technology and such devices as iPhones and services like Google Maps that the border becomes apparent and real. These borders are open at all times. They separate the land at all times.

To make work about borders is to work in a context where evidence, particularly photographic evidence plays an important role. We are familiar with news images that show migrants as victims or criminals. Passport photographs are taken as proof of identity. The story of traumatic occurrences in a person's life must be repeated again and again as evidence of their right to be in Europe. At the same time there are only a few projects that deal with the reality of the Border itself, the inanimate often invisible line that exists only after Sovereign powers decide to create it. Disagreements on the exact location or validity of borders lead to diplomatic tensions often even to war.

I have visited the area over short periods of time during the last few years and made images along the border lines as revealed by Google Maps or from within the area designated as UK ground. I do not give an indication of the exact points, as I do not try to make a documentary about the location, but rather I am focusing on creating a visual world that might intrigue the viewer with the absurdity of the situation and perhaps even make him question the some of the prevailing perceptions of borders.