The Ukraine War dominated the news for a long time and caused considerable stress around the world. When the crisis began, the NATO border took on new significance, determining which territories are safe and which are not. Before the crisis, this border appeared to be an invisible idea. The photography installation LINIA, a VICE VERSA Association initiative, explores and documents the histories and common thinking of the areas close to one of the most perilous but unyielding lines in the world today: the border dividing NATO members from non-NATO countries.

A military alliance involving 30 member governments, including 28 European and 2 North American nations, is known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also known as the North Atlantic Alliance. NATO is a system of collective security, and its independent member states have agreed to defend one another from outside attacks.

The project intends to investigate the characteristics of the areas surrounding this line, which would have been virtually indistinguishable if not for the rigidity of the line dividing them. The images depict brief moments of routine daily life that are commonplace and recognizable yet stand in stark contrast to the ongoing disaster that is taking place on a bigger scale.

The exhibit includes 40 images that Laurian Ghiniţoiu took while traversing the 3500-kilometer border over 18 days, beginning on the 146th day following the commencement of the conflict. Laurian Ghiniţoiu does not identify as a photographer of architecture. Ghiniţoiu’s lens has a far broader view than the traditionally staged stills of recently finished structures, which include individuals blurred in motion and immaculate surfaces. Ghiniţoiu, a self-described “nomad” since 2019, started as an architect but switched to photography after working in the industry for almost ten years—eight in school and one in practice. His work, which acknowledges that photography is a tool for documenting rather than an end in itself, focuses on the social, political, and physical aspects of the built environment rather than the buildings themselves. The changing constructed environment is what fascinates Ghiniţoiu the most.

On a lesser scale, the railway serves as a barrier, preventing the urban tissue from expanding farther than the train station, which serves as a point of connectivity and an entrance into the city. The positioning was chosen to highlight the fact that lines are utilized to indicate connections that are still feasible despite the great distances between the endpoints, in addition to serving as dividing elements and signs of distinction. Such sites are represented by train stations, which are connected over wide areas by a network of lines and rails.

LINIA, a New Photographic Installation Looks at the Communities Living near Borders and the Lines that Separate Them - Sheet1
LINIA Photographic Installation_Source_Arch Daily

The exhibit is being created as a part of Timișoara’s Beta Biennial of Architecture. The theme of the Beta 2022 event, “The City as Common Good,” was explored through several events, conferences, guided tours, and exhibitions. As further evidenced by the major display of the event, “Another Breach in the Wall,” the topic of borders, lines, and loopholes recurred in the participants’ approaches.

LINIA, a New Photographic Installation Looks at the Communities Living near Borders and the Lines that Separate Them - Sheet2
LINIA Photographic Installation_Source_Arch Daily
LINIA Photographic Installation_Source_Arch Daily

Such an exhibition guides us through important historical moments that not only stick with us forever but also help us remember those moments. Ghiniţoiu’s work will continue to span continents, periods, and landscapes to increase the ability of photography to both document the built environment and more effectively process change as conflict, the environment, and politics—nuances that conventional architecture photography so frequently overlooks—exert their influence.

References

  1. ArchDaily. LINIA, a New Photographic Installation Looks at the Communities Living near Borders and the Lines that Separate Them. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/991199/linia-a-new-photographic-installation-looks-at-the-communities-living-near-borders-and-the-lines-that-separate-them>
  2. Youtube. WawamuStats. The Expansion of NATO since 1949. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug2468hDl6E>
  3. Architectmagazine. Laurian Ghinițoiu Offers a Fresh Approach to Photographing the Built Environment. [online] Available at: <https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/culture/laurian-ghinitoiu-offers-a-fresh-approach-to-photographing-the-built-environment_o>
Author

Reetika is an aspiring architect who is inquisitive about stories behind all works of art. She enjoys telling those stories and adding her own spin to them. She strives to write and communicate herself in a way that is informative, simple to read and comprehend for anyone and everyone.

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