The idea of our common humanity permeates Eva Koch’s installation Portraits from Bina. This is a site-specific work for the House of Culture in Bina, a suburb of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Eva Koch’s point of departure was that in Azerbaijan, as in many other countries, both west and east, it is the custom to embellish public buildings with portraits of powerful public figures or representatives of the royal family. For this very reason she wanted her contribution to Bina’s House of Culture to give the community pictures of the suburb’s inhabitants. The work would highlight the fact that public space is a communal space, everybody’s space and a democratic space. And at the same time it was to be a tribute to the “ordinary” citizen as someone who mattered, someone who made a difference.
Two large video projections in the House of Culture’s entrance hall show life-size portraits of the house’s staff and users, old and young, men and women, pupils, teachers, the director and the caretaker, people with influence in the community and people without influence. Everyone is given the same amount of space. By the actual entrance door there is a sound installation from which the names of the filmed citizens spoken by themselves can be faintly heard.

The Citizens from Bina, as the work might also be called, makes the point that through his or her picture, presence and voice each individual person makes a difference, leaves a trace.

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Eva Koch © 2010
Photographer: Stefan Wrenfeldt · Picture editor: Anja Farsig · Picture processing and installation: Henrik Lago · Curator: Catrin Lundqvist, Azerbaijan Art Stations, the Nordic Experience · Thank you to: Jahangir Selimkhanov the Open Society Institute, AF Azerbaijan and everybody from the House of Culture in Bina. Supported by: Nordic Culture Point, the Nordic Culture Fund, OSI-AF, Azerbaijan, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan Republic, Längmanska Fonden, Sweden & Domestic Art, Sweden.