Borrowed Territories is built on the different perception of time, space and identity through the medium of cinematography and photography. The work implies taking photographs in locations where movies based on true events were shot, which have nothing in common with the locations where the real events took place. These photos studies the places that became “home” for the events revealed in Hatfields and McCoys, a film that tells the story of two families switched to enemies immediately after the American Civil War, from 1865 till 1890. So, the past historical events from the area of West Virginia and Kentucky – USA, are attached to the present-day Brasov, Arges and Ilfov counties – Romania, where the film was shot.
Contrary to the film, the medium where the story, the special effects and the action conquer the rational, in the case of photography, the reality hijacks the imaginary. This conquering is accomplished through the intervention specific to film production, that cannot be observed visually by the film spectator, but that can easily alter his perception on territorial identity.
By shooting the film sets, and in depth analyzing them through scans of plants removed from the locations, I am breaking the spell of the effect produced by the film, and reveal the true identity of these territories. As Susan Sontag notes in her essay, In Plato’s Cave: “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge – and, therefore, like power.”
The photos represent scenes without actors, in which the landscape becomes the main character. Without overlapping foreign history over the native place of Romania, the photographs serve in this context as testimonies of external narrations and past historical events. Between natural and artificial, these images stand as an expression of relationships between aesthetic, historic, economic, symbolic and spatial elements.
“You couldn’t shoot this film in West Virginia and Kentucky today, the way we are shooting it; these wide, epic, massive panoramic shots…” – actor