Pipelines—their construction, operation, routing etc.—have been often subjects of tension, contention, even wars. This project investigates the Druschba-Trasse (“Friendship” pipeline), a 550 km segment of gas pipeline that delivers natural gas from Siberia to Europe. The line has been a point of contention over the last 10 years.
Spaces—urban, private, public, interior etc.—hold a complex embodiment of meanings. The stone, steel, and mortar of a city or a landscape around hold embedded imprints of the collective aspirations of different eras. Disorder and order are in constant flux, as the landscape expresses grandeur or devastation, oppression or dynamism.
As the name already suggests, this pipeline was built during Eastern Bloc times, and it is part of the natural gas line called “Sojus” (union), a line that was collectively erected by the countries that belonged to the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (MEA). In 1974, during the XXVIII Congress of the MEA in Sofia, Bulgaria, the initial construction of the pipeline was decided. Each of the participating countries—Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and East Germany, was responsible for building one segment of the pipeline. East Germany’s job section was the area between Krementschug (Ukraine) and Bar in the western part of the Ukraine. Overall, the Sojus gas pipeline underwent several construction phases and its completion took almost 3 decades. The first phase of construction was completed in 1978. The pipeline is in operation today and is one of the main supply lines of natural gas to Europe. It runs underground, but reaches above ground at compressor stations, which are located approximately 120km apart.
The images of landscapes included here are part of a larger photographic campaign that includes images of the compressor stations, the remaining camps, and the erected infrastructure such as apartment buildings and schools, etc., the so-called residue, and historical images taken by the worker who built the pipeline.