Ever since the Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985, internal borders between a large number of European countries are gradually disappearing. The entire Schengen Area, comprising of 26 European countries and 16,500 kilometers of borders, have abolished passport and any type of border control allowing free movement of goods, information, money and people. The Schengen Agreement marks great progress in the gradual unification of Europe and the development of a European consciousness. This transformation in European relations was highlighted when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union on 10 December 2012.
Italian photographer Valerio Vincenzo has spent the last eight years photographing these internal boundaries that have slowly faded from the landscape and from people’s minds. Equipped with a medium-format camera, a GPS, guides and detailed maps, Vincenzo travelled through the entire European Union crossing over these borders more than a thousand times.
“I show images that are very different from what we tend to associate with the notion of borders: fences, barbed wire, patrols,” Valerio Vincenzo told CNN in an interview. “By showing very calm, peaceful border landscapes, I question the meaning nowadays of borderlines between countries. I want to talk about the borders of the future, more than about the borders of the past.”
Vincenzo states that the idea of living or traveling around the various European nations was inconceivable during the Cold War, and is probably the most important historical event in Europe since World War II.
“I wanted to give visibility to this radical change,” he said.
“Looking back on the centuries of fratricidal wars which the nations of Europe waged on one another to establish their borders and impose controls on those wishing to cross them – we can measure just how far European attitudes have progressed by this area of freedom and mutual trust.”
His project "Borderline, the Frontiers of Peace" will be exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September.
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