The world's longest shared border is that of Canada and the United States. Known as the International Boundary, it has a length of 8,893 kilometers and is also more importantly known as the world's longest undefended border. With so much the focus on the Southern border I became intrigued by the Northern border - aware that it is the longest between two nations on earth, and essentially an “undefended” border, an “invisible” border, or so I thought. My initial idea for this project was to use imagery and places as a metaphor to talk about ideas of nationhood and territory, surveillance and open borders - informed particularly by years spent in Germany and the European Union. Furthermore, my intent was to explore the question as to why this very porous 8,893 kilometers is ever present in a “silent manner” vis-à-vis the media and indeed our nation. I do not mean to imply that nothing is written or reported about it, but it is neither discussed nor problematized with the same frequency as our smaller Southern border. In fact, it was originally intended that the borderline be a “straight line “along the 49th parallel, but reality proves otherwise. There are many places and even a few buildings where one must cross into the neighboring country and then back - a kind of zigzag rather than a straight line. In a vital manner this line begs the question of nationhood versus territory - whether it is undefended because of a shared common history, culture, and language.
Somehow it feels like a metaphor for the times we are living these days …where one thinks their email and messaging is private but where we now know better…that any small “footprint” on the web can be detected and rediscovered and in many cases “ weaponized” towards one extreme or another. It was in this state of blissful ignorance that I began seeing this work as a metaphor for larger ideas …and it kept me returning to border to see where zero point bega It is after all like the medium itself….while a photograph is intrinsically history simultaneously when it is made it is not a “true” representation of the world of thing itself: it is a two dimensional image that has been taken out of context but which “suspends our disbelief” and encourages us to move into it as if it were reality. I have always felt this is photography’s strongest area…the ability to tell “a truth” not “the truth” and in so doing point towards ways we can interpret and think about our world. I hope the accompanying images and text allow you a moment to reflect and ponder…and linger. This work is part of an ongoing project entitled, Zero Line Boundary. that concerns itself with the US/Canada border, the longest contiguous border in the world. The work spans areas in Washington State, British Columbia, New York State, Quebec and Vermont and Eastern Canada. The project consists mainly of B/W imagery juxtaposed with a smaller selection of Color Imagery….that invites the audience to consider the questions of photographic representation and veracity.