Rupture - PhMuseum


Line Ørnes Søndergaard

2016 - 2020

Boston, England, United Kingdom; Vilnius County, Lithuania

Aleksandra left Lithuania as a teenager with dreams of prosperity. Albert has lived his whole life in his hometown, and finds solace in the past. They both reside in the same English town, but live their lives in total separation.

Boston, Lincolnshire, was dubbed “The Brexit Capital” of Great Britain after more than 75 percent of its population voted to leave the European Union during the referendum in June 2016. The main reason behind the result was growing discontent with the rapid influx of migrant workers from Eastern Europe, Aleksandra being one of them. But under the surface, a much broader frustration had been simmering for years; against economic and social decline, and against a growing sense of political powerlessness.

“Rupture” narrates the time leading up to the referendum and the following four years of turbulence, seen through the eyes of a handful of Boston’s inhabitants. Aleksandra, whose European adventure stalled at a production line in Boston, is at loss and wonders if she should move back to Lithuania with her two small sons. Albert, who is Boston born and bred and embodies the rise and fall of what used to be one of England’s most important port towns, wants Brexit - but might not get what he wishes for.

This project portraits a town that became the epicentre of one of the biggest political shocks in our time and gives a close encounter with the people who live through the ripples. The material included in this application builds the foundation for the continuing larger story : about workers in free flow (Aleksandra) and in free fall (Albert), about open borders and closing minds, about class and identity, about solidarity and distrust.

The story of Aleksandra, Albert and Boston is a collaboration with writer Yohan Shanmugaratnam.

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  • #01/17.
    2018 : Mazieji Kudzionys, Lithuania.

    Aleksandra Berezina sits for a quiet moment after bathing in the sauna. She battles with her decision of planning for a future in Lithuania. Even though it is possible to find work, it pays less than half of what she could earn in England. But living costs are not adjusted accordingly.

  • #02/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Digger in action at Boston Metal Recycling. Low rate on metal and bad weather makes for a slow day at Boston Metal Recycling. Policy Exchange put Boston on the top of the list of most segregated places in England. According to Daily mail, who named the town «Murder-capital of the UK» and «most segregated town», is every one of five of Bostons 68.000 residents born in another country.

  • #03/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Aleksandra Berezina´s oldest son, Vakaris, jumps on his parents bed before nighttime. Aleksandra have worked hard to get him and his younger brother accepted to the school in the area with the best reputation. They speak perfect English. At home Aleksandra makes them speak Russian as well, so that they won't forget.

  • #04/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    One of the many agricultural properties in Lincolnshire seen from the train. Boston is located approximately a two and a half hour privatized train journey north of London. During the last years a lot of migrant workers have come from Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania to work at farms and factories in the area. Polish resident Robert Krzywda have lived here for 12 years now and explains how the frustration moves accordingly as new groups come to. “Poles hate Lithuanians, Lithuanians hate Latvians, Latvians hate Kurds and the English, they hate everyone.”

  • #05/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Albert Horrey is born and bred in Boston and have seen the coal-mines shut and the agricultural-jobs go from decent to what he describes as slavery. «This country isn´t ours anymore». Albert have worked all his life, farming, dock-worker, the unfair. But the job he misses the most, is that a fisherman. He names the EU´s fishing restrictions for having to put his boat onshore. He wants out.

  • #06/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Aleksandra Berezina and her boyfriend Vitalij Zajankovskij take a quiet break and a cigarette in the backyard of their house. Aleksandra has worked 44 hours these last three days, that being 14 hours a day. An usual shift lasts for 12 hours, including two 20 minute breaks. She works as line manager at a factory that delivers salad and vegetables to supermarkets and, according to Aleksandra, the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

  • #07/17.
    2018 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Dovydas draws lines where he gives "good-points" to his family members on his bedsheets. Mom seems to be winning this round.

  • #08/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Aleksandra Berezina sits on her bed together with her youngest son Dovydas and her boyfriend Vitalij Zajankovskij. Aleksandra moved to Boston from Lithuania in 2009. Both her kids are born here and call England their home. Just recently her boyfriend moved in with them and her mother in a small rented house with walls so damp that the tapestry dents.

  • #09/17.
    2016 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Aleksandra Berezina carries Dovydas down the stairs for a quick bath before bedtime. «It seems like neither the English or us «foreigners» are happy. Maybe it´s convenient for those in charge that we all distrust each other, cause who knows what would happen if we came together? If people just started talking to each other, they would realize that we all share the same struggles.»

  • #10/17.
    2018 : Mazieji Kudzionys, Lithuania.

    When the small family arrives in Lithuania they go to live at the farm-estate that Vitalij Zajankovskij´s parents use as a summerhouse, one hour drive outside of Vilnius. The plan is to find stable work before they look for more central accommodation. For the first time in weeks Aleksandra Berezina eats proper meals again.

  • #11/17.
    2018 : Vilnius, Lithuania.

    Dovydas finds the transition from England to Lithuania difficult to navigate. He only speaks English and Russian and struggles communicating with the Lithuanian-speaking kids in the neighborhood. He keeps asking what the plan is. Will they stay here? Will they go home? To Boston? Aleksandra can't find the answer for him.

  • #12/17.
    2018 : Vilnius, Lithuania.

    When Aleksandra Berezina first moved to England she dated a tattoo-artist who wrote "No retreat, no surrender" on her back. "I had this belief that if it's written on you, you will act accordingly. And I have. I've been strong. Now, I guess I will have to add; "unless you have too".

  • #13/17.
    2018 : Vilnius, Lithuania.

    When the small family cannot stay on the farm estate they all sleep on the foldout bed in Aleksandra Berezina's childhood home. She was raised by her grandparents, since her father was in jail and her mother travelled a lot with work. When Aleksandra decided to move back to Lithuania her grandmother cried. "Here are no possibilities for you. For the kids. Even though you find life in Boston bad, it must be better than here."

  • #14/17.
    2018 : Mazieji Kudzionys, Lithuania.

    Vakaris looks out the window of the sauna having a moment for himself. Returning to Lithuania also means being surrounded by family members at all times. He can't really wrap his head around if being here is for some sort of vacation or if this is how his life is going to be. He misses his best friend Ethan back in Boston.

  • #15/17.
    2018 : Vilnius, Lithuania.

    Since they moved, Aleksandra Berezina and the kids have all slept in the same bed. They have been more difficult to put to rest after the transition. She feels they sleep better when she is close. "Everything else is changing, but I am constant."

  • #16/17.
    2019 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Aleksandra Berezina made the decision of returning to Boston. Back when she left Boston, Aleksandra did as prime minister Theresa May did in the beginning of the negotiations. She drew up some red lines. Never live in Boston again, never work in a factory again. And never smoke again. But just as May, Aleksandra had to break her own promises in the face of reality. She ended up moving back to Boston. Same neighborhood, same factory, same brand of cigarettes. And to the same whimsical river that reveals the residues of wrecks stuck to the riverbed.

  • #17/17.
    2019 : Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

    Albert Horrey walks around at "the Marsh", the swamp-area by the coast. Albert use to follow the water as it withdraws, to see whats left at the bank. You never know what you might find. "If anyone wonders where I will be put to rest, its out there," he says and points towards "the Wash", the bay where he and his friends used to swim and fish. Albert wants his ashes to be dispersed beyond the ocean. All his friends are out there, and he wants to be with them.