20th Century – Autobahn

Photos: This chapter contains in total 13 photos in which you look at the landscape as seen from the Autobahn, here I show 7 of them.

The Twentieth Century
Traveling by car along the Autobahn in Germany.  As early as the 1920s, this extensive network of highways was conceived with the aim of linking the medieval Hanseatic cities of Lübeck and Hamburg with Basel via Frankfurt. The road merely connects two points, linking one city to the other, with the intervening space no more than an obstacle to be traversed in the least amount of time. Yet when driving down these roads at high speed, a centrifugal experience of space arises.

Small-scale views encountered along the Autobahn were never meant to create a lasting visual recollection. They are impressions forced upon the driver on the highway: layer upon layer, they merge as a composite of virtually simultaneous images. A landscape both visible and invisible at the same time. The road on which he finds himself, the guardrail and car window serve as barriers rendering the landscape unapproachable and intangible.

Severed into pieces by the Autobahn, the landscape becomes inaccessible, and in turn, the Autobahn itself becomes unapproachable from the landscape. Protected by guardrails and its placement in the landscape, the road becomes a chasm where the landscape temporarily ceases to exist.

For more information on the visual approach, take a look at the artist statement here