desire lines

Bounded by the borders of Norway and Russia, bonded by a pidgin language, and cast into the global phenomena of the 21st Century, this site belongs to many places. In summer 2015, refugees on bicycles subverted Norwegian law and crossed into their new nation. Norway’s response: build a wall. The new 200m fence is mocked locally by peoples who have for centuries shared markets, reindeer pastures, and a land of extremes. This stretchy border proposes that interrelation, not isolation, provides safety and belonging. As the temperature line defining the ‘Arctic Circle’ shifts southward, these regional, environmental, and inherited relationships shape movement responsively, loosening distant political claims over space. Expanding this border line produces a place that is more easily opened than closed: a wandering zone that reflects local networks and flirts with forms of closure and control. Winding paths with sharp corners provoke coincidental movement and provide the freedom to gather at the fringes of national order and the center of a region. We used an intensive mapping process to study these relationships and their overlap at extreme distance. This project was completed in partnership with Rana Aksoy at Barnard-Columbia Architecture.