The World / The Heart of Europe
The World is a man-made archipelago comprised of some 300 islands. As of 2003, 34 billion tonnes of rock and 320 million cubic metres of sand were piled up into the sea over an area of several square kilometres, 4 km off the coast of Dubai. By 2008, the ‘construction’ of these islands had been completed, but the economic crisis that followed initially brought the project to a standstill. More recently, however, development work has continued on six of these islands in keeping with the original plans, creating resorts and entertainment for the super-rich. Austrian photographer Genoveva Kriechbaum herself lived in the United Arab Emirates for many years and, over a period of a fortnight in 2018, she seized the opportunity to visit this US$ 5 bn investment project called The Heart of Europe. In her work The World / The Heart Of Europe (2018) Kriechbaum has captured the absurdity of the project in her sweeping and highly detailed landscape photographs. Here the oil industry and turbo-capitalism collide with extremes of climate, cause and effect emerging as one. The photographs projected onto steel plates are accompanied by a music score written specially by the composer and instrumentalist Hossam Mahmoud, acoustically intensifying the sinister mood evoked by this series of images.
Genoveva Kriechbaum, born 1975, lives in Vienna, Austria.