in New Richmond
Parking lot of the tourist information office | 401 Route 299 | New Richmond
Corinna Mehl, Darmstadt, Germany | corinnamehl.de
Corinna Mehl is a 27–year old documentary photographer born in Berlin, Germany, who is primarily interested in how different concepts of identity evolve, as well as in how realities are constructed and perceived.
This includes the focus on reciprocal influences between humans and their environment. In two of her recent projects she questions the effects of migrational processes. The series Transition has to do with Germans who emigrated to Hungary in the 18th century. The work Floating deals with refugees arriving in Germany in 2014. Corinna Mehl is currently graduating in photography from the University of Applied Science in Darmstadt, Germany.
EXHIBIT AT RENCONTRES
Friedland is a small village on the outskirts of the city of Göttingen in northern Germany. Friedland is also the name of an initial reception center for refugees, which is located in the village.
It is a place of transition. People who stay in Friedland are only there for a limited amount of time – some for three weeks, some for three months. For refugees being registered in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, the camp is often the first place to live in Germany.
Friedland feels like a place underneath a cheese dome. As if it was holding its breath. In the center, there are people who want to live in Germany. First, they get registered – then they have to wait: wait for status, wait for papers, wait for information, for money, for clothes, for language classes, for transfer. “Transfer” is a word one hears often in 3/5 Friedland. It means that persons are allocated another place to live. Maybe another camp in another federal state, maybe a temporary flat. Often other transfers will follow.
The place is marked by the short-term stay of people. They are people from different countries, different continents, with different backgrounds, yet similar stories – similar but never identical. Those stories are far removed from everyday life in Germany. Stories that are unbelievable, hard or even impossible to understand from an outsider’s point of view. If reality, according to some theory, is constructed by a recognition in common of certain events, then it is important to ask what effect the impossibility of understanding and relating to stories lived and told by asylum seekers, and thus the altering of the told reality, has on the self-perception of those people. In communication, parts of biographies are modified, not understood, get lost, are not believed, and forgotten. What impact does this have on an ongoing life story?
What is true?
What did really happen?
What is real?
What is happening?
The photographs in the Floating project were taken between November 2014 and March 2015 in Friedland, where the initial reception center for refugees of the German federal state of Lower Saxony is located. The images show people who are seeking refuge in Germany, as well as the camp and the surrounding village of Friedland.