The Border Line

An experimental documentary about the Turkish-Syrian border.

The Border Line is an experimental documentary drawn from all the Instagram posts along the Turkish-Syrian border between 2017-2019. The project questions how to see and chronicle migration and war through the lens of an expansive social media archive.

The Syrian civil war recently reached its grim 10-year anniversary. Throughout this crisis over 3.5 million refugees fled across a 900km border separating Syria from Turkey. A large number of these refugees used smartphones to map their routes, communicate with each other, and document their experience. The Border Line explores the data trail of this migration while questioning how to even process an archive of this magnitude for documentary purposes.

The Border Line emerged from my investigations into Instagram’s archives surrounding this tragic and historically crucial moment. How can we learn about the complicated lived experience of this place through the intimacy of videos made by bored truck drivers waiting to cross the border, Italian war tourists hanging out with Kurdish fighters, or a father brought to tears as he sends his daughter off at a wedding?