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Never before have commodities been shifted so fast and so far around the world as they are today. A t-shirt from Taiwan, felt slippers from Tyrol, wine from Australia – ordered today and delivered to your door tomorrow. Even the individual ingredients for a tub of strawberry yoghurt, when taken together, have already covered several thousand kilometres before landing on the refrigerated shelf of a local supermarket. How is this possible? What infrastructure does it require?
Henrik Spohler’s photographic series In Between takes us into that difficult-to-access intermediate realm of logistics where commodities are transhipped at an ever-increasing speed: the freight areas of airports, the labyrinths of railway tracks in large shunting yards, the warehouses of international haulage contractors, the container terminals of sea ports. Photographed in six different countries including Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, these special zones, streamlined for ruthless efficiency, develop an aesthetic of their very own that oscillates between clear structure, an almost meditative monotony and a gigantism the sheer dimensions of which often go beyond our powers of imagination.
In these places, all individuality has been rationalised away. Here, consumer society has created itself a seemingly fictional nameless realm of pure functionality where access to essential services of good quality, one of the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, is facilitated by an ever-moving technical modernity and innovation.
About the artist:
Henrik Spohler was born in 1965, studied at the Folkwang School / University in Essen and has worked as a freelance photographer since 1992. He has received many awards for his work that is part of public and private collections. Spohler is also professor of photography in the study programme Communication Design at the Hochschule fur Technik und Wirtschaft (University of Applied Sciences) in Berlin. He lives with his family in Hamburg.