On the Threshold // Na przełomie (extract)

A European capital: Warsaw; a neighbourhood : Praga, separated from the historical centre by the Vistula River. Almost central, yet on the margins, its edges are both precise and blurred. Its history is singular. The only neighbourhood in Warsaw not destroyed during the war, it is also the only one that was not rebuilt afterwards, and was left on the sidelines of the real estate boom of the past two decades. The traces of time are everywhere to be seen, sedimented, as it were.

Everything is still the same, yet everything is starting to be somewhat different, with the arrival of the metro. Nearly invisible variations have begun to surface. Everything is in suspension, between two moments, disappearance and revival.

It is on this intermediary time/space, so authentically Warsovian and at the same time so mysteriously undefined, that I have chosen to focus. As I wander, landmarks are blurred, between strings of courtyards in ruin or industrial wastelands, where nature sometimes seems to take over again. The borders between the inside and outside worlds blend together in turn. Almost paradoxically, intimate spaces give way to open spaces, to be conquered. Deprivation becomes fertile ground for imagination, and reality, secondary.

“On the threshold” sheds light on one of those interstitial urban areas in transition, as can be seen elsewhere, notably in Central and Eastern Europe. This threshold is triple. It is that of a neighbourhood prior to change, that from which the stranger I am perceives this « just before », and that from which viewers are invited to invent for themselves, beyond the passive frame of the image, the life of a Praga as real as fictional.