Due to overstimulation through traffic, noise, advertisements and crowds of people, inhabitants of cities become less sensitive to their surroundings. Although they see the people and buildings while passing through public space, they are not actively aware of them. (Georg Simmel, 1903)
In spring 2014 a simple, common wall is transformed into a public gallery for five weeks. The exhibition allows passers-by to pause for a moment and question their perception of people and objects in everyday life.
What is home, what makes us so attached to some places and what makes us feel ‘at home’?
In spring 2013 I spent one month on the Plateau de Millevaches in rural central France in order to find an answer to these questions. By meeting local people and engaging in conversations with them I learned about their understanding of home and the feelings they have towards this place.
In this visual investigation of the notion of home and the experience of belonging evident in remote villages of rural France, these images also serve as a reflection of my own quest for a place to call home.
Canary Wharf is one of the big business centres in London and is situated on what used to be docks of the London harbour. Today, the impressive silhouettes of banks and office towers with their shiny facades on which the newest stock exchange quotations are being displayed demonstrate the power of finances. They suggest a world, detached from the individual and reigned by cash flow.
Most people one encounters in Canary Wharf are on the streets only three times a day: in the morning, on their way to the office; at noon time, during their short lunch break; and in the evening, when they stream back to the Underground station out of which they came in the morning.
For this series I came to Canary Wharf for several days during lunchtime, put the camera on a tripod in front of a neutral fassade of an office building and asked passers-by for their portrait. The aim was to make the office clerk, workers and visitors pause for a short moment and to capture this moment in one image. The people reacted to the camera and their surroundings in very particular and individual ways, which makes this series also a study of poses and gazes.
Northern Neukölln is full of contrasts. Poor people live next to recently opened art galleries, on the streets you see elderly people walking their dogs next to students on their way to the café at the corner. There is a myriad of different characters and lifestyles in the neighbourhood.
My encounters with the individuals on the streets of Neukölln allowed me to form my own subjective view on the inhabitants of the neighborhood.
With its inhuman scale and the dominant grey concrete structures the outskirts of big cities are absurd and surreal spaces. Everything is functional and serves industry and economy. Nevertheless there are humans in those areas. They are hardly visible as persons but the traces of their presence can be seen and documented.