CYPRUS: GREEN LINE | KOSOVO: NORTH-SOUTH MITROVICA | N. IRELAND: BELFAST | ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: BADME | WEST BANK- PALESTINE: WALL | INDIAN-PAKISTANI ADMINISTERED KASHMIR: LINE OF CONTROL | MEXICO-USA: BORDER FENCE
Walls have a longstanding relation both with liberty from fear and subjugation to another’s will. After 1945, walls acquired an unprecedented determination to divide. They spread like a bushfire from Berlin to Palestine, from the tablelands of Kashmir to the villages of Cyprus, from the Korean peninsula to the streets of Belfast. When the Cold War ended, we were told to expect their dismantling. Instead, they are growing taller, more impenetrable, longer. They leap from one continent onto the next. They are globalising. From the West Bank to Kosovo, from the gated communities of Egypt to those of California, from the killing fields of old Ethiopia to the US-Mexico borders, a seamless wall is meandering its way, both physically and emotionally, on the planet’s surface. Its spectre is upon us.
Danae Stratou’s work attempts to capture The Globalising Wall’s stirrings on a constructed video. Using stills that she took during our travels to seven of the Wall’s original ‘sites’,[i] she put together a moving strip of images that expose the Wall’s unyielding motion, its audacious reach for new lands to divide, its monotony, its aesthetic, its sense of hideous purpose. The video is projected on a large free-standing grey wall upon which The Globalising Wall appears as it would to a passenger traveling on some imaginary train that speeds past its intercontinental length. The steady pace of the video projection; the audio which alludes to the imaginary train, but also packs actual sounds recorded in situ from the depicted places; the fixed strip that runs along the grey wall just under the projection in a loop (embracing and circumnavigating the free-standing wall and imprinting upon it the names of the places that appear on the video); these are the elements which Stratou combines in a work that seeks to ameliorate, perhaps to annul, indeed to counter-oppose, the horrid divisions it depicts.
[i] The Green Line dividing Cyprus, the barb-wired Ibar river that cuts through Mitrovica in Kosovo, Belfast’s ‘Peace Walls’, the minefields in the grey zone between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the fortified Line of Control on the mountain ranges of Kashmir, the Wall of Shame that cuts through Palestine and, last but not least, the paradoxical US-Mexican Border Fence which can be seen as Globalisation’s greatest irony.