How to Secure a country

Salvatore Vitale

2014 - Ongoing


Switzerland is well-known as one of the safest countries on earth – it is seen as an example of efficiency and efficacy. But one of the central reasons that such a country exists is the development of a culture based on protection and safety, which is supported by the presence and production of national security. How to Secure a Country explores the ways in which things that are elusive – such as safety and security – becomes stabilized through standard operating procedures. The aim is to capitalize on the actual fluidity or abstractness of the country’s security measures, as well as to focus upon the “matter-of- fact” types of instructions, protocols, bureaucracies and clear-cut solutions that are applied to what is, in fact, a highly fleeting phenomenon.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • Sign of a custom at the CH–IT border.

  • Fingerprint registration during an immigration control at the Italian border for an Eritrean asylum seeker.

  • Cashier at the custom. Taxes and rates have to payed directly before crossing in case of irregularity.

  • Sign at the entrance of the Swiss territory in a peripheral custom.

  • A car control at the border by the Border Police, looking for drugs importation.

  • Security cell in a custom at the border.

  • A sign written in Eritrean language at the border saying: "Here we are in Switzerland". Placing these signs is needed as the majority of migrants aren't aware they are crossing a border entering another country and they don't speak any other language than their mother tongue.

  • Control room at the operation center for monitoring the Swiss highway in Zürich.

  • Military protocol – preparation for the highest diplomatic ceremony involving the chief of the Swiss Army and the diplomatic attaché.

  • A canine unit’s dog looking for drug during an operation in the Canton Zürich.

  • Swiss assault rifle SIG SG 550. This is the most common rifle in Switzerland held by the majority of the Swiss population and often modified to be used for sport shooting. Switzerland is the third most armed country in the world.

  • Reproduction of the positions indicated in the official instruction manual of the Swiss assault rifle SIG SG 550, the most common rifle between army and civilians in Switzerland.

  • An assault rifle customized for sport purposes.

  • Official military target used for training. This is also often used by civilians.

  • Entrance of a bunker in an apartment building. Until the 80’s it was mandatory to build bunkers in private and public spaces to be ready for a possible nuclear war.

  • Lake police agent going on a patrol during a rescue mission.

  • Military truck in a basecamp during a military exercise while staging a terrorist attack happening in Switzerland.

  • The interior of a Swiss Air Force’s Super Puma Helicopter used for for liaison, rescue and disaster relief.

  • Fake injured people during a military exercise while staging a terrorist attack happening in Switzerland.

  • Control room at the Zürich airport for the visibility check operated by MeteoSwiss.

  • View on the Zürich airport from MeteoSwiss control room. Several points in the landscape are used as measurement points for the visibility calculations.

  • MeteoSwiss decisions room.

PhMuseum Days 2023 Open Call

Apply now for 4 Exhibitions at PhMuseum Days 2023 plus a 40-image collective installation, free applicants pass, and more

Apply now