Asier Gogortza has made pinhole cameras of military bunkers and made visual again their connections with their landscapes. Drawing on the researches of Paul Virilio and related to the work of Abelardo Morell his images transform these interior spaces by seeming to both flatten them to an image and open them to a landscape. Even more than Morell's spaces these views quite literally formed the buildings into instruments to view and control. With thanks to Asier for the information and photographs.
How did you choose which bunkers to use?
There are thousends of bunkers around all Europe, so i have a lot of "cameras" to choose from. I have visited a lot of locations and I chose depending on the landscape around the bunker and the interior architecture of the bunker.
Did you create your pinhole in positions where there had been windows or other openings?
Yes, the window is the place where i put the little hole, so the landscape you see from inside the window is the landscape that will be projected on the wall of the bunker.
Are the views of landscape therefore representative of certain historical points of views? Of certain soldiers at specific historical times?
The project talks about the relationship of the bunker, like a human construction, and the landscape. This landscape is the target of the building, the bunker is made to shoot at this concrete landscape. Those war constructions they have something that attracts me, because they talk to us about another period of history. Now they are like monolithic sculptures, totally anachronistic in peace time, and they have been fighting only against time and nature.
It seems that often these war bunkers are reflections/creations of their landscape and environment, did you find new connections between the buildings and their landscapes?
Yes, for me it is interesting the conversation that develops between the bunker and the landscape. The bunkers are places from where you can look to the landscape without being seen, they are always in good locations with panoramic views. The objective of the bunker is to control and dominate all the territory, and finally appropriate the landscape. I think the final objective of all landscape photographers is the same.
On the other hand, its interesting to study how nature fights against the bunker, recognizing in it a strange element. You can see bunkers totally crooked in the beaches, or others totally covered by weeds in the mountain.
I have seen your careful working method on your stop motion animations on your flickr page, how did you prepare the bunkers to take these images? What sort of equipment and exposures did you use?
First of all I make the bunker dark. I use black plastic. Then i put the pinhole in the window and i go inside with the digital camera and the tripod. I shoot with very high sensitivities, 2.500 or 3200 ISO, because otherwise the exposure time would be very long and with digital cameras you have a lot of noise in that case.