Where we do not belong
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has triggered geopolitical disarray in the Baltic Sea and has created Allies and rivalries among the bordering countries. Nord Stream 2 is a project that results in a geopolitical disarray, since the business between Germany and Russia has the potential to profoundly impact the Central European geopolitical scene, challenging the security of many European countries and deepening economic inequality among them. Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic countries consider that the pipeline will make the EU reliant on Russian gas and thus giving away too much control to Russia while destabilizing Ukraine by depriving the country of gas transit fees; at the same time Northern Europe and Germany believe that the economic benefits outweigh this issue. With this controversial project as a motive, Elena and Leonidas departed on a journey along the Baltic coastline in order to reveal the secrets, trace the bonds and track down the conflicting matters that this Sea holds. The findings were simultaneously concrete and vague; non-descriptive situations represent the quotidian space of the people that inhabit these countries and who act as political mediators between East and West. Layering different realities in a single image imparts this ambiguity, since the individual depictions only fragmentary succeed in representing the real. Ripped images are constructing a visual tale and inviting the viewers to draw their own conclusions.
Elena Kollatou and Leonidas Toumpanos are a photographic duo working collaboratively on long-term projects. Together, they participate in group exhibitions and publish their work in international magazines and websites. Elena holds a BA(HONS) Degree in Photography and Film from Edinburgh Napier University and Leonidas a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from University of Arts in London. Their practice focuses on investigating energy and society related topics, researching a project in depth before proceeding to making pictures. Together they explore the possibilities of representation and our relationship to reality, approaching subjects with a fluid documentary style, following varied ways of production and process-based interventions with the aim to raise questions to the viewers. They are also organizers of Athens Photo Scratch, an event that showcases photography projects in progress.