Cité Europe (2017)
16mm film transferred to HDV, 12:36min, silk screened photographs and c-prints

The Cité Europe shopping center is located next to the French terminal to the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK, outside Calais. It was opened in 1995, the year after the tunnel was opened and contains 140 shops, a multiplex cinema and 20 restaurants. The center was designed by the architect Paul Andreu and the architecture is intended to reflect the shape of the tunnel.

The tunnel between France and England is a powerful symbol of the idea of ​​a united Europe with open borders and transnational cooperation founded in the desire for peace, democracy and human rights in Europe after the two world wars of the 20th century. Today, the European project is characterized by economic challenges and social turmoil, both internally and externally. The tunnel is under pressure, not just symbolically, but also by the fact that "illegal" refugees in France attempt to pass through the tunnel (which is only for rail traffic) or sneak through with vehicles carried by the trains, in order to get into the UK.

In this landscape, close to the tunnel entrance and the outermost tip of mainland Europe lies the giant shopping center Cité Europe. In the vicinity immigrants are waiting for a chance to get to the UK while Frenchmen and Englishmen visit this place to shop for clothes, cosmetics, food and electronics.

These circumstances within the region have created a new geography. The terrain has changed, forests have been removed or fenced in and artificial lakes have been constructed in an attempt to keep the boundary zone that the tunnel represents under control. This landscape produces social exclusion; fences, walls, barriers and security guards help to exclude some people and include others. The landscape and architecture clearly visualize the implied violence exercised against those who frequent the area.


Film still, Cité Europe

Film still, Cité Europe

Film still, Cité Europe

Film still, Cité Europe

Film still, Cité Europe

Film still, Cité Europe

Film still, Cité Europe