A photo exhibit depicting a journey along the 8,000 kilometre long E40 European Highway from Calais, France, to Ridder, in northeast Kazakhstan near the Russian and Chinese borders, will showcase how operational inland transport between Europe and Asia is becoming a reality. The exhibit will open during UNECE's annual Inland Transport Committee (ITC) meeting on 25 February and will remain on display at the Palais des Nations through mid-March.
The project was developed by Helen Kirwan and Simon Pruciak. Together with architect Jarek Karpik, they travelled for 54 days from France to Kazakhstan and back during the summer of 2013 as part of a research project to visually document the route along the iconic E40 European Highway, which passes through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The E40 European Highway was the first, and the longest, of a series of trans-continental routes conceived by the United Nations after the Second World War under a plan to assist Europe's regeneration and develop international communication and transport links.
The artists recorded daily movements along the road, ambient sounds, conversations and interviews at service stations. Through the video material, they captured various conscious and unconscious experiences, the real and the virtual, so that the viewer can become involved in and share the experience of the E40.
Parts of the E40 follow prehistoric ancient pathways and sections of the so-called silk routes.As a corridor for the transmission of goods, culture, people, ideas, beliefs and inventions between east and west, the E40 demonstrates more than ever the infinite possibilities for the promotion of international understanding, friendly relations, cooperation and harmonization among nations.
Whether cocooned in the intimate spaces of their motor vehicles, marooned in utilitarian motorway service areas or when driving hour after hour across the sometimes vast landscapes of Central Asia, they experienced place and movement, being and action, dwelling and mobility, the space of the world, the finite and infinite.
The exhibit will be opened on 25 February 2014 at 1 p.m. by Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva Michael Møller and UNECE Executive Secretary Sven Alkalaj. The artists will comment on a short video of their trip just after the opening.
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