Viktor Telecky

"EU Embassy"

Section MS4, Mirna Pedalo

Keywords: borders, photography

When Albert Speer pointed 152 anti-aircraft searchlights towards the sky, the Third Reich gained a strategic symbol of power that reflected the megalomaniac aspirations of the newly emerging Empire. The monumentalism of the Cathedral of Light was undeniable. Its sheer scale overshadowed any previous human-made architecture. Despite its ephemerality, it represented an impenetrable border, shielding those who perceived themselves as superior from those they deemed inferior. Notwithstanding its naive Promethean promises, the Cathedral of Light is a deterrent reminder that big ideas, however sinister, are always in need of embodiments in the real world.

The European Union, founded as a safeguard against its Nazi raison d’être, has been in a state of perpetual existential crisis, desperately in need of its own symbols. The common interests of economic cooperation and promotion of human rights seem to be succumbing to the irreconcilable differences embedded within the fellowship. It is, however, precisely this fragile search for balance which should be regarded as the EU’s biggest virtue. In opposition to the arrogant symbolism of Hitler’s Third Reich, EU’s symbols should admit, embrace, and celebrate its greatest inherent contradiction – the never-ending quest to reconcile nation-state sovereignty with pan-European interconnectedness.

In 1957, a technology even more imposing than the searchlight was invented, surpassing its predecessor as the ultimate technocratic tool. Laser would have been the Third Reich’s dream. A single concentrated beam of photons allowed for the most precise aim targeting conceivable. In contrast, the EU Embassy project will aim to liberate the medium from its gaze and soften the stiffness to create a symbol of EU’s simultaneous greatest flaw and asset – the eternal search for equilibrium.

EU Embassy is a series of 27 photographs, referring to the number of EU member states. With the use of a laser bar, the aim is to study the relationship between the Union and its citizen – “a European”. In contrast to the rigid and unilateral Cathedral of Light, EU Embassy, is a dynamic scale of experiences – a constant discussion between the institution and its citizen. At times hostile and imposing, other times obliging and liberating, this project wishes to rethink Speer’s strict seriality and reflect more truthfully the contradictions inherent to the European project.