“No Men’s Land” presented by Groenestijn (Cym)


Session Title:

  • Border Reckonings, Border Crossings 1

Presentation Title:

  • No Men’s Land




  • In her project ‘No Men’s Land’ cym tries to capture something of the rapid changes that are happening to the borders in Central Europe. Since 1995 cym is traveling regularly between the former West- and East-European countries and she has followed the so-called ‘opening of the borders’ very closely. In her project ‘No Men’s Land’ she is following the main border that used to divide Europe in East and West.

    As a first step cym is traveling to the actual borders that mark the countries. She takes photos with the digital camera at the different border situations. The photos give a good impression what this political line looks like in reality. Very often you can’t see anything special. There is only the knowledge that there are actually two different countries visible on the photo.

    As a second step, and this is where the project ‘No Men’s Land’ really starts, cym creates an abstract image from the original photo. This abstract image is created entirely with HTML, the language used to create websites. The abstract image therefore is no longer an image, but only a piece of HTML code. The abstract images are not perfect copies of their original photos, but new compositions made by cym based on the photos captured in reality.

    In this way the abstract images show some similarities with the political border lines in Central Europe. Political lines are constructed to define the bounderies of the different countries, but reality does not always follow these lines.

    When living closely to the border, one realizes that borders are in a way just an imaginary line on paper and in people’s heads. If you actually go and try to find that line in reality you will be surprised that, except of white stones every 50 meters, there is no visible line marking the country. The tree on one side looks the same as the tree on the other side. Even the house on one side looks very similar to the house on the other side. The vegetables that grow on the field on one side, are the same as the vegetables that grow on the field on the other side.

    In her project ‘No Men’s Land’ cym focuses mainly on the Central European borders. Through her photos she tries to capture something of the rapid changes that are currently happening in Europe. Many of the photos show situations that would have been impossible to photograph twenty years ago. And many of the border crossings that are still visible in the photos now, might disappear completely within the next ten years.  nomensland.eu

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