It was only two hundred years ago that human life on our planet got into motion. Seen from today, 12,000 years of sedentism seem like grey prehistory. Slowly at first, then faster and faster and more comprehensively, people move back and forth between places, status groups and cultures.
We call it mobility. Ascent, descent and relocation mark our lives. Space and time shrink; the world appears to us as a village. People get on trains or planes; they sit on rockets or overcome huge distances with ships; cars revolutionised our lives and our cities. We connect to the most remote locations. It all seems like watching the big bang.
Mobility encompasses us completely. We love the possibilities it opens up for us: Travel, comfort, imagination and speed. We hate the lanes it cuts through our cities, landscapes and lives. Mobility gets us off the ground, and it inspires our curiosity. At the same time, it forces us to constantly move and adapt. Also standstill changes its meaning: immobility causes fear; to others it appears as a promise.
The reports collected here deal with the curse and blessing of mobility. We see people in traffic: space-consuming lorries transporting goods; bicycles waving their slalom in the narrow space left to them by cars; pedestrians transforming themselves into athletes in order to keep up. In this vortex we see people who cannot move: Country dwellers, for instance, sick people, or a person in a wheelchair. We see people who slow down their lives: on wheels, on ferries or even when travelling. People transform what was once a distant holiday destination into an office.
Mobility shapes our lives. Photographers capture it in pictures between movement and standstill. They travel between space and time – with their heads and with their cameras.
by Andreas Helle