- 21 Nov 2023 4:51 AM
They seem to be fixed lines of demarcation that delineate the boundaries of authorities, territories, and social systems. So far, the wars of the twenty-first century have been about concepts and zones of influence: while the war on drugs and the war against terrorism may have led to changes of regime, it was not about acquisition of land.
Even the immaterial digital world makes annexation seem archaic and obsolete. The aggressive appropriation of Crimea in 2014 and the invasion of February 24, 2022, have once again made Europeans aware of the fact that forcible border shifts can still be a political goal today.
If you compare a map of Europe from 1900 with one from today, it is hard to find any lines that have not changed in the past 120 years. Austria is certainly one of the countries whose outline has changed most radically.
Through geography and history, the country is intertwined with Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Germany— and not least of all with Ukraine. By examining borders and demarcations, the exhibition Crossing Lines reveals historical, cultural, and media-related systems of reference.
The subject is explored through photographs, especially in terms of distribution and circulation as well as the underlying mechanisms. A special focus is on the application of photography in news channels and social media.
Comprising 150 photographs and video installations by twenty international artists, the exhibition foregrounds the war in Ukraine. What types of imagery are generated to send certain messages? What continuities and commonalities prevail in society regarding the perception of images?
The presented examples prove the extent to which the medium of photography is used to generate and support political and collective statements. Questions related to the shifting of image content have played a role in this not only since the outbreak of the aggressive war against Ukraine: Are photographic images real? Do they have a reference in our world? Are they retouched or completely manipulated? Who is responsible for this, and who is pursuing this to advance certain interests?
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