2013, Emden Harbor, Germany. Loading cars at Emden Harbor Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND

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.

2013, Belgium, Antwerp Harbor. Grain silo, container, Antwerp Harbor, Belgium, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2013, Belgium, Antwerp Harbor. Grain silo, container, Antwerp Harbor, Belgium, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, near Bilbao Harbor, Spain. Storing empty containers, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, near Bilbao Harbor, Spain. Storing empty containers, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, Tarragona Harbor, Spain. Coal waste dump, Tarragona Harbor, Spain, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, Tarragona Harbor, Spain. Coal waste dump, Tarragona Harbor, Spain, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, Leipzig, Germany. Freight airport, Leipzig, Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, Leipzig, Germany. Freight airport, Leipzig, Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2013, Antwerp, Belgium. Schelde River near Antwerp, Belgium, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2013, Antwerp, Belgium. Schelde River near Antwerp, Belgium, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, Cologne-Bonn Airport, Germany. Processing freight at Cologne-Bonn Airport, Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2014, Cologne-Bonn Airport, Germany. Processing freight at Cologne-Bonn Airport, Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2013, Emden Harbor, Germany. Loading cars at Emden Harbor Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND
2013, Emden Harbor, Germany. Loading cars at Emden Harbor Germany, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND