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BEYOND BORDERS – Six Degrees of Separation

A traveling camera- 28 destinations worldwide. Its fate detemined by coincidence. And does it find its way home at all? Defying the rising arrogance and nationalism of our times, the Cologne artist Ela Mergels launches her current project BEYOND BORDERS.

Using antiquated photo technology she attempts to connect the world. The project revolves around an old treasure: an analog Ricoh half-frame camera from the 50s. Freshly loaded with color film, the camera begins its travels around the world; friends take the camera with them and hand it over to locals.                                                                        

There is only one mission:

Photograph intuitively whatever is important to you.

Be it a wedding, cat, friends, garden, breakfast or bar ...

The goal is to gain insights into the respective world of the other.


When the camera returns, the film is rewound and inserted a second time for the next trip. Thus miraculously associative images originate, whose allure derives from random double exposures.

Ela Mergels: “A culture that closes itself up is unimaginable to me. I care about openness, transformation and integration. With BEYOND BORDERS I hope to build connecting bridges.”

Ela Mergels coordinates the travel destinations. To her, it is particularly exciting when regions with political or cultural conflicts suddenly tell a common story and create something new across the borders.The first exhibition will be in Istanbul Biennale in October 2019. Afterward, the exhibition travels to the countries where it was photographed.

© by Ela Mergels, 2014-2021

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