No Place Like Home by Dieter Daemen (b. 1988, Belgian) was primarily made during the European refugee crisis. However, instead of focusing on the outer borders of fortress Europe, No Place Like Home looks inward and shows how barriers and a distancing between people have been slumbering in the heart of our society for quite some time.
No Place Like Home depicts a society that is characterised by an impenetrability and closedness. It shows how at the centre of our communities, constructions like hedges and wooden palisades are used to demarcate the personal property and to frantically block the presence and gaze of the outsider. The series thus deals with troublesome contemporary issues such as distrust, a trend towards more and more individualisation, the inability of people to connect and a fading sense of community.
The precisely trimmed hedges and bushes in the pictured suburban environments have an incredible aesthetic and sculptural aura. But, even though there is a certain naïve beauty in people’s attempts to control the cyclical and regenerative character of nature and to freeze these shrubs in a seemingly permanent state, the meticulous truncation of these plants is also an expression of a disconcerting need to govern and to control life.