Was einem Heimat war is a conceptual work; the short letter at the beginning of the book is the emotional counterpart to the unspectacular photographs.—Peter Granser
Das, woran man mit allen Fasern seines Herzens hängt, was einem Heimat und Existenz, ja in gewissem Sinn das Leben selbst war, hergeben zu müssen, das ist ein tragisches Schicksal, eine kaum vorstellbare Maßnahme. (It is a tragic fate, a barely imaginable measure to be forced to give up that which we cling to with all our hearts, our homeland and livelihoods, indeed in a certain sense life as we know it.)
I don't have a personal connection with the village, but as a half-German, half-Austrian of course I do with the German history. This former military training ground is only one hour away from where I live; over 100 years of German armed forces training took place there. PG
Since 2005 the landscape has been a biosphere reserve and a transformation of the landscape is slowly taking place. A lot of rare species (fauna and flora) can be found, but the area is still contaminated with projectiles and unexploded ordnance and only some paths are open to the public.
I took photos of the projectiles inspired by the work of biologists, who come to the biosphere reserve. Just as they archive rare butterflies I made an archive of projectiles, missiles, hand grenades, and so on. These objects have a disturbing beauty and I combined them with unemotional black and white landscapes that show the oddments of the people that once lived there and of the military. All of that will slowly be covered by nature. PG
In general I can say that my work became too predictable for myself. That's how the changes started. PG
In my work I am always interested in identity and the loss of it. In my newer projects (j'ai perdu ma tête that will be published by Kodoji in early 2013 and "Heaven in Clouds," a series I worked on between 2009 and 2012 in China) I am, beside identity, very much interested in "home" and its disappearance. This connects my three newest projects.
Some people are a bit confused looking at my older work and now at Was einem Heimat war. I took a break in 2008 and started to develop my work further. For some time I have been interested in video and sound; I have started to combine these with my photographs for exhibitions. Installation of my work has become much more important. I try to find the right approach to translating a theme.
Even if it is more difficult to integrate sound and video in a book, I am still interested in publishing. In the case of this book the video and the music are present in the special edition, but it was important that the book function without those elements, too. PG