Borders: Abandoned

Borders. Who crosses them? How do you pass them? How long does it take? How much does it cost? Do you have to walk, drive, swim, fly? Can you cross a border? Where is the line, exactly? What is in between? What was the last line I crossed? How long did I stay in between: One foot on one side, the other on the new terrain.

Borders are fascinating. I remember myself standing on one side of a border, I don’t recall if I was looking over the strait of Gibraltar, or just observing the next meter through the poles marking the border, to Spain, actually Britain, or the United States of America, simply being amazed by the pure physical fact of looking into another country, another world, another life. At some point, someone came and said: Here is the line. And here I am, staring across the Rhine, to France.

You can develop a relationship with a border (like in Luis Humberto Chrosthwaite wonderful short story, in Instrucciones para cruzar la frontera). Border: female or male? In German, she is female. Die Grenze. I like that. She invites you, she becomes distant, you adore her, you hate her, you get to know all her wrinkles, you grow old.

What happens, if she suddenly leaves you? From one day to another. What happens to the lines on the maps?

Doesn’t the border continue to live in your head?

I love these images by Josef Schulz. He photographs abandoned border stations in Europe. Poetic, lonely, and fragile.

Thanks to Ronny at Kraftfuttermischwerk for discovering them!