Border Sampling  2011

Border Sampling

Border Sampling, 2011 (short clip)

Border Sampling

Installation view, Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen

Installation, video and one water sample in glass tube

Border Sampling

Stills

HD video, 10:30 min

Border Sampling

Border Sampling

Border Sampling

Border Sampling

Border Sampling

Border Sampling

Border Sampling
Border Sampling
Border Sampling
Border Sampling
Border Sampling
Border Sampling
Border Sampling
Border Sampling

In the summer of 2011, artist Nevin Aladağ set sail on the Kormoran, the research ship of the Institut für Seenforschung der Landesanstalt für Umwelt, Messungen und Naturschutz Baden-Württemberg [Institute for Lakes Research, State Institute for Environment, Measurements and Nature Conservation], to take six water samples from different depths at a measuring point, established through coordinates, on the Obersee.


That place, with coordinates [N 47° 37' 26'' E 9° 22' 32''], is called Fischbach-Uttwil and is one of Lake Constance’s seven measuring stations. It lies in the middle of the lake at its deepest point, -254 meters. In addition, Fischbach-Uttwil marks the imaginary boundary between Germany and Switzerland. At this location, which has relevance in several systems of significance, Nevin Aladağ took water samples from depths of -250, -200, -150, -100, -50 and 0 meters with the help of the research ship’s rosette water sampler. The Kormoran regularly heads for different measuring points on the lake in order to take samples to test the drinking water and for public water protection, as well as to examine the water’s temperature, oxygen content and conductivity; further steps are taken to ascertain its fine matter content and chemical composition. The artist had her water samples poured into 1,5-liter vessels, sealed airtight (melt sealing process) and refrained from labeling the vessels with statements indicating the exact depths. The samples themselves are exhibited together with an 11-minute video documenting the taking of water samples on the ship. 


But the metaphorical notion most apt in uniting the subject matter of Nevin Aladağ's œuvre and its immanent symbolic content is the fluid border. The fluid border is another way of describing something that cannot be clearly delimited, something that reciprocally influences and blends. This metaphor is used primarily in scientific and legal contexts; Border Sampling makes use of readings from these two systems. But fluid border also implies potential constant change, in contrast to something fixed or established. Thus the fluid border counteracts not only the establishment of borders, but also the manifestations of national cultural identity that borders generate. In its elusiveness, the fluid border of Lake Constance points toward something utopian, without being so itself. A stretch of land in Central Europe whose historical reality has for nearly 350 years opted for another model of coexistence, a life without clearly defined national borders opens up alternatives yet, at the same time, is deeply captive to the bureaucracy of political-judicial separation. As the inheritance of the pre-nation-state era in Europe, the fluid border of Lake Constance is superimposed with its role in a Europe without borders. The fluid border at Fischbach-Uttwil is simultaneously history, present and future and, in keeping with its element, denotes constant change, blending, permeability, exchange, in-visibility, and mobility: “The borders’ only form of existence is impermanence, however much durability might be part of their myth,” states Rada Iveković. 


(excerpt from the text by Anke Hoffmann)