peripheral driftwood - PhMuseum

peripheral driftwood

Ariane Pfannschmidt

2015 - Ongoing

About 7000 kilometers west of Europe, lies

,La Guyane’, an overseas department of France in South America.

With an area roughly the size of Austria, Guiana is the largest European territory outside of the European continent.

The sparsely populated region covered by the amazonian rainforest was colonized in the sixteenth century and was ceded to France in 1801. Since the 2nd World War, it has been an integral part of it.

The official language is French and the Euro is the legal currency. Thus, the borders to Suriname and Brazil are EU’s external borders.

In1968 the Europeans established the ,Centre Spatial Guyanais‘ in Kourou - the European rocket launching site, from which the Ariane 5 departs into space about five times a year. The spaceport represents the main income of Guaiana’s economy, while the local population only peripherally benefits from it.

This particular status, which can be regarded as a vestige from French colonialism, is not being questioned by neither the French nor the European Union.

French Guiana appears to be a land of milk and honey, but also a country that could seemingly never rid itself off its colonial rule, mainly due to economical reasons. Therefore, it has very little to say about itself. Or maybe more than one suspects?

First I got into this theme by the question about `what is the European identity?`. While some governments want to protect our borders from “cultural invaders” today, we seem to forget our own invasions throughout history. What makes Europe european? Is the european culture defined within borders or is it more an idea that is location independent? Is it even possible to still think and live within borders or from a geographical point of view? How we can define Europe while looking from another continent perspective?

In the photo exhibition my pictures of still life, portraits and found arrangements connect to an interpretation of that place.

By hanging and combining images that were associated by colours, patterns and surfaces a mysterious atmosphere is created.

They reflect the surreal mood, the melancholy of the everyday and the questions after ,where from ́ and ,where to’.

The photo series contains up to 62 photo- graphs, all created in 2015.

A publication is in work for 2020.

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