Ostrava | 2004–2005

Ostrava – is a city of peripheries; evolving settlements across times and ages – industrial plants, mines and traffic networks. The requirements of geology, transportation and the industrial demands for water-cooling dictated such a layout. Settlements lie between nearby rivers and mountains; ruptured by fields, grasslands, woods and wastelands. Each settlement in turn has its own periphery thereby the rhetorical nature of the project’s title evokes a broader, more introverted, significance.

I can only imagine the problems such a structure holds, making Ostrava less a city and more an ‚experiential region‘. However, for me, it also represents a potential when developed in a prudent and caring manner, to ensure a quality of life of which other such urban locations can only dare to dream of. Nonetheless, whether such a potential will be realised (and for whom) under the impact of international capital, is only one of the disturbing questions, this city faces?

In 2004, the changes within the historical city centre began to interest me. The encroaching billboard advertisements located in front of (still) grey facades signified that nothing would remain as it was. Already pressed by Shopping Malls, DIY stores and the other usual suspects, large parts of the city centre seemed to have fallen into a kind of hectic ’stillness‘. This condition between ’no more‘ and ’not yet‘ was what I tried to photograph.

In 2005 my attention went beyond and began to focus on the areas between the settlements, those edges: those peripheries, which give their own sense of place to the histories of this region.

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