Concrete Geographies [Ceuta and Melilla border fences]

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


This limited edition book is a visual documentation of two photographic journeys through landscapes defined by the border fences of Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish cities located on mainland Africa. Ribas sought to give greater visibility and historical and political understanding of these two territories, which are considered by many to be two of the most contested in Europe. The two Spanish enclaves have endured five centuries of military occupation and have been protected by highly militarised border fences since 1993. Ribas wrote in his 2011 essay,The Border Fences of Ceuta and Melilla: A landscape for the future?: ‘These borders are like MULTIFACETED FAULT LINES, defining at once a colonial/national boundary between Spain and Morocco, an economic boundary between Europe and Africa, a geopolitical boundary between North and South, and a religious boundary between Christianity and Islam.’ In order to bring fresh perspectives to this historical legacy Ribas photographed the border fences along their full length on the Spanish side. He sought to give a visual profile to territories that were written and spoken about rather than experienced visually or physically. To assist him in this, Ribas researched nineteenth-century photographic collections in the Fundación Fondo Fotográfico at the Universidad de Navarra that documented the process of modernisation and its impact on the Spanish landscape. Ribas suggested that ‘as a response to their lack of visibility, these [border fence] photographs intend to be statements towards a political cartography of the border fences of Ceuta and Melilla as the very edge of Europe. These two border fences are, perhaps, the contemporary public works that can best define, like monuments to inequality, the European landscape of the 21st century’. Geografías Concretas [Ceuta y Melilla] was published in a limited edition by the Universidad de Navarra (2012).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPamplona, Spain
PublisherUniversidad de Navarra
Number of pages64
ISBN (Print)9788480813259
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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