Installation views, Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna

Johanna Tinzl & Stefan Flunger

La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.
HD-Video, 14min 11sec, 2011/2018

Framing the Fringe
Series of 15 C-Prints on Fine Art Baryta, 2013-2014
wooden frames in various dimensions

With »La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.« (2011/2018) and »Framing the Fringe« (2013–2014) Johanna Tinzl and Stefan Flunger do not represent a single historical event, rather they attempt to capture the long-term border regime of the European Union in images.

»Framing the Fringe« consists of 15 photographs featuring views out the window of a car to unspectacular landscapes. A navigation device is included in each photo, proving that the standpoint of the artist duo is located on the outermost borders of the eastern EU. Despite lacking fences and other “constructional measures”, the border is anything but permeable, as the annual Frontex statistics verify. Tinzl and Flunger succinctly represent the transfer of the border controls to an obscure, technically sophisticated zone: They furnish the photos with a frame, which resembles the navigation device, and correlate the dimensions of the images with the length of the respective national border portrayed in the image. Hence, the image of the border between Lithuania and Kaliningrad is considerably smaller than that of the border between Romania and Ukraine – the border of the EU is not a geographical line; it is a comprehensive size.

»La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.« focuses on another EU border. A taxi ride guides us along the fence between Morocco and the Spanish exclave Melilla. We hear a female computer voice. The words originate from a taxi driver in Melilla in 2011, who wanted to explain to his passengers, beyond all language barriers and as simply and impressively as possible, the complex border situation and the nature of the border installations. At each presentation of »La valla es europeo.« Tinzl and Flunger lend the video a site-specific and temporal signature by having a local taxi driver speak the text. The current realisation with a computer voice and framed monitor underlines the solidification of the EU border regime, which is interpreted in populist views as an inevitable reaction to the refugee movement of 2015.

Text: Gudrun Ratzinger