Seiichi Furuya: Staatsgrenze


On 4 July 1982, polish refugees—an agricultural pilot, his wife, and his daughter—landed near Vienna in a helicopter. A thunderstorm and low-altitude flying while crossing over the CSSR made their adventure possible. Langenzersdorf, 1982 image by Seiichi Furuya

In 1980, Dlubač Milan, a twenty-two-year-old Czech, attempted to swim across the swollen Morava River, which he succeeded in doing at the cost of his life. Marchegg, 1981 image by Seiichi Furuya


Austria borders on seven foreign countries:
the Federal Republic of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein representing most diverse political systems: countries of the so-called Eastern Bloc, one non-aligned state, the NATO countries, a neutral state and a principality.

Artificially drawn political borders have always played an important role for mankind and probably will continue to do so as long as man exists. Such borders, I believe, will only lose their importance when common defense against an extraterrestrial enemy is called for.

The 1640-mile-long Austrian border is far less brutal than, for example, the Berlin border, where a concrete wall cruelly cuts a city in half. It is even beautiful, romantic, inconspicuous, but in this quiet landscape one feels the silent, sad facts more than in Berlin.

On my trips along the border I have tried to find places where there have been tragic incidences, and to find out personal stories to give myself a chance to think about the “border” phenomenon.

Seiichi Furuya, 1983

Check the the project online or see it in as a book recently published by Spector Books
What kind of impact does it create to publish ‘border projects’ from the 80s in the 2010s?
Does the distance of time create also the distance of memories?

Border as self-definition: the village of Bildein


The village of Bildein saw their their geographic position directly on the border with Hungary not only as an opportunity to base their identity upon, but also as a main characteristics to foster tourism in this village with altogether less than 350 citizens (2011). One of their activities is ‘Grenzerfahrungsweg,’ /to be roughly translated as ‘walk of border experience’/ focused on a reflection of what a border means through specific stations, introducing also WWII and Iron Curtain. They offer a variety of activities for tourists, where they also do not forget to introduce local (transborder) cuisine.

In their projects, they collaborate also with neighboring villages in Hungary.

Read more about the walk here (website in German):
Bildein provides a rich example of how can a place (self-)define the notion of a border. Which kind of vocabulary connected to the main concept of ‘border’ is being created by their own approach? How is their own positioning affected by the distance to a bigger city/town?



photo – project Stadlnova

Stadlnova is a fictive suburb somewhere between Bratislava and Vienna, providing the base for a creative research platform about marginal(ized) aspects of these cities, their region and all the in-betweens. It unfolds a new space of the possible between here and there, center and periphery, growth and recession, archaeology and utopia. A space, where participation and collaboration are facilitated, infected by a genuine curiosity in peripheries.

Read more about the project here: