Axel Braun - work and projects

UN DRUM PENTRU MILENII (2014)

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9. ZONA km.12 + 500. VEDERE SPRE POARTA ALBA – MIDIA, NAVODARI
MTTC-IPTANA, „Canalul Poarta Alba – Midia, Navodari“, Album Fotografic, etapa I, 1987

Archive of ADMINISTRATIA CANALELOR NAVIGABILE S.A., Agigea

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UN DRUM PENTRU MILENII / A PATHWAY FOR MILLENNIA

a case study for DISTURBED HARMONIES [Anthropocene Landscsapes]

On its way from Serbia to the Black Sea, the Danube forms the
border river between Bulgaria and Romania for several hundred
kilometres. Shortly before the river would reach the sea, an elevation
in the Dobrogea region redirects the river for about 300 km to
the North, where it reaches the Black Sea in the Danube Delta at the
border between Romania and Ukraine.

Since the 19th century, plans were developed to correct this „mistake
of nature“ by building a canal through the Dobrogea and to establish
a direct connection from the Danube to the sea port of Constanța.
Due to extreme challenges both Austrian and British enterprises
buried their plans soon.

After World War II and the establishment of the communist regime in
Romania, the plans were reassessed, in order to use the construction
project as a forced labour camp to eliminate the old elites.
However, after a few years the canal project was deemed unrealisable.
Works came to an end until Nicolae Ceaușescu made building
the canal his prestige project in the 1970s. By mobilising the military
and numerous “volunteers” the canal could be completed and the
two branches were inaugurated in 1984 and 1987.

The communist dictator had ambitions to establish Romania as an
important actor in world trade by controlling the infrastructure.
Comparing the canal to projects of similar size like the Suez or
Panama Canal makes it appear rather irrelevant today.

The case study was realised in the framework of an artist-in-residence
programme of Goethe Institut in 2014.

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