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Poppyfield in Balkh province, Afghanistan, 2003 © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong
Poppyfield in Balkh province, Afghanistan, 2003 © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Poppyfield in Balkh province, Afghanistan, 2003 © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Mamik and Farzana. After Mamik‘s father died her mother remarried, but her new husband rejected his wife‘s children from her first marriage. Mamik ended up living with her brother and his wife. Her eyes became infected but were never treated. When the worst of the afternoon heat is over, Farzana leads her blind friend around the village. “ I can hardly see anymore” says Mamik. “Just the light of the sun or a very strong lamp.” Shikhan, 2001, Afghanistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Mamik and Farzana. After Mamik‘s father died her mother remarried, but her new husband rejected his wife‘s children from her first marriage. Mamik ended up living with her brother and his wife. Her eyes became infected but were never treated. When the worst of the afternoon heat is over, Farzana leads her blind friend around the village. “ I can hardly see anymore” says Mamik. “Just the light of the sun or a very strong lamp.” Shikhan, 2001, Afghanistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

The M42 from Osh to Bishkek is a major smuggling route through Kyrgyzstan. The national Drug Control Agency says the amount of Afghan opiates entering the country has tripled in the last year. 2009, Kyrgyzstan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

The M42 from Osh to Bishkek is a major smuggling route
through Kyrgyzstan. The national Drug Control Agency says the amount of Afghan opiates entering the country has tripled in the last year. 2009, Kyrgyzstan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

An Uzbek girls working as a prostitute in Jetigen Sauna. Osh, 2009, Kyrgyzstan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

An Uzbek girls working as a prostitute in Jetigen Sauna. Osh, 2009, Kyrgyzstan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

The Ismaili Muslims are the poorest of the poor and entire villages in the district have become addicted to opium as an escape from hunger and illness. The spiritual leader of the Ismailis , the Agha Khan, has banned cultivation and trading of opiates © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

The Ismaili Muslims are the poorest of the poor and entire villages in the district have become addicted to opium as an escape from hunger and illness. The spiritual leader of the Ismailis , the Agha Khan, has banned cultivation and trading of opiates © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

After 14 hours, two suspects vehicles are seized and taken to a warehouse for further inspection. The next day the entire warehouse, including cars is burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. Tirana, 2008, Albania © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

After 14 hours, two suspects vehicles are seized and taken to a warehouse for further inspection. The next day the entire warehouse, including cars is burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. Tirana, 2008, Albania © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

KLA Checkpoint, Decani, 1998, Kosovo © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

KLA Checkpoint, Decani, 1998, Kosovo © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Commemoration of the Battle of Kosovo Polje (Plain of the Blackbirds) in which the Serbs were defeated by the Ottomans in 1389. The battle is a focal point for Serbian nationalists. Kosovo, 1998, Yugoslavia © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Commemoration of the Battle of Kosovo Polje (Plain of the Blackbirds) in which the Serbs were defeated by the Ottomans in 1389. The battle is a focal point for Serbian nationalists. Kosovo, 1998, Yugoslavia © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Hawala offices in Karachi. Hawala is an informal way of banking used by millions of migrant workers across the world who send remittances to their home countries. But Hawala also provides financial services to warlords, drug smugglers and anybody intent on hiding the origins of their money. Karachi, 2010, Pakistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Hawala offices in Karachi. Hawala is an informal way of banking used by millions of migrant workers across the world who send remittances to their home countries. But Hawala also provides financial services to warlords, drug smugglers and anybody
intent on hiding the origins of their money. Karachi, 2010, Pakistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Armed militia in Mogadishu, 1998, Somalia © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Armed militia in Mogadishu, 1998, Somalia © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Julia and her mother Vlada have prepared the fixes. With their friends and customers Lena and Sergei they squabble about who gets how much © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Julia and her mother Vlada have prepared the fixes. With their friends and customers Lena and Sergei they squabble about who gets how much © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Arcadia, the main entertainment area on the beach, attracts many thousands of Russian and Western tourists. Odessa, 2007, Ukraine © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Arcadia, the main entertainment area on the beach, attracts many thousands of Russian and Western tourists. Odessa, 2007, Ukraine © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Between 1992 and 1996 different mujahedeen factions fought for control of the capital. Jod-e-Maiwand in Kabul was reduced to rubble in 1994 after Abdul Rashid Dostam, leader of an Uzbek faction, broke away from the Kabul government and sent his fighter jets in to bomb the capital. He joined sides with the Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the ex-prime-minister who had broken away from the central government a year earlier and who was now responsible for daily rocket-barrages into the city centre. Kabul, 1993, Afghanistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Between 1992 and 1996 different mujahedeen factions fought for control of the capital. Jod-e-Maiwand in Kabul was reduced to rubble in 1994 after Abdul Rashid Dostam, leader of an Uzbek faction, broke away from the Kabul government and sent his fighter jets in to bomb the capital. He joined sides with the Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the ex-prime-minister who had broken away from the central government a year earlier and who was now responsible for daily rocket-barrages into the city centre. Kabul, 1993, Afghanistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Poppyfield in Balkh province, Afghanistan, 2003 © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongMamik and Farzana. After Mamik‘s father died her mother remarried, but her new husband rejected his wife‘s children from her first marriage. Mamik ended up living with her brother and his wife. Her eyes became infected but were never treated. When the worst of the afternoon heat is over, Farzana leads her blind friend around the village. “ I can hardly see anymore” says Mamik. “Just the light of the sun or a very strong lamp.” Shikhan, 2001, Afghanistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongThe M42 from Osh to Bishkek is a major smuggling route through Kyrgyzstan. The national Drug Control Agency says the amount of Afghan opiates entering the country has tripled in the last year. 2009, Kyrgyzstan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongAn Uzbek girls working as a prostitute in Jetigen Sauna. Osh, 2009, Kyrgyzstan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongThe Ismaili Muslims are the poorest of the poor and entire villages in the district have become addicted to opium as an escape from hunger and illness. The spiritual leader of the Ismailis , the Agha Khan, has banned cultivation and trading of opiates © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongAfter 14 hours, two suspects vehicles are seized and taken to a warehouse for further inspection. The next day the entire warehouse, including cars is burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. Tirana, 2008, Albania © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongKLA Checkpoint, Decani, 1998, Kosovo © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongCommemoration of the Battle of Kosovo Polje (Plain of the Blackbirds) in which the Serbs were defeated by the Ottomans in 1389. The battle is a focal point for Serbian nationalists. Kosovo, 1998, Yugoslavia © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongHawala offices in Karachi. Hawala is an informal way of banking used by millions of migrant workers across the world who send remittances to their home countries. But Hawala also provides financial services to warlords, drug smugglers and anybody intent on hiding the origins of their money. Karachi, 2010, Pakistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongArmed militia in Mogadishu, 1998, Somalia © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongJulia and her mother Vlada have prepared the fixes. With their friends and customers Lena and Sergei they squabble about who gets how much © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongArcadia, the main entertainment area on the beach, attracts many thousands of Russian and Western tourists. Odessa, 2007, Ukraine © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de JongBetween 1992 and 1996 different mujahedeen factions fought for control of the capital. Jod-e-Maiwand in Kabul was reduced to rubble in 1994 after Abdul Rashid Dostam, leader of an Uzbek faction, broke away from the Kabul government and sent his fighter jets in to bomb the capital. He joined sides with the Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the ex-prime-minister who had broken away from the central government a year earlier and who was now responsible for daily rocket-barrages into the city centre. Kabul, 1993, Afghanistan © Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong

Group Exhibition

»Poppy – Trails of Afghan Heroin«

Installation by Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong

Opening: Friday, July 15, 2016, 19h
Exhibition: July 16 – September 25, 2016
Artist Day: Saturday, July 16, 2016, from 12h
Opening hours: Daily 11-20h (Closure time 2016: check here)
Admission: 10 € / reduced 6 € (Online Ticket)
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Public Guided Tours (held in German): Every Saturday and Sunday 2 pm and 4 pm.
Further infos & booking here.
Overview of all exhibitions & events at C/O Berlin

Description

The Silk Road has connected East Asia with the West for thousands of years. Once an important trade route – for the exchange not only of goods but also of religion and cultures – today large swaths of the Road are deserted, in decay, or being used to transport drugs. For over 20 years, Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong followed the trails of the heroin trade from Afghanistan across Central Asia, Russia, and the Balkans, through East Africa, Dubai, and Western Europe, to where the traces finally disappear in the concrete jungle of London. Brutal gang wars, deadly addictions, illegal money laundering, unscrupulous corruption and prostitution, coupled with the epidemic spread of HIV/AIDS: the multimedia installation “Poppy” is a striking documentary revealing a dark side of globalization as reflected in the faces of smugglers, prisoners, prostitutes, border guards, children, and farmers.

In Afghanistan during the 1980s, opium and heroin were smuggled to buy weapons for the war against the Soviet occupation. In the early 1990s, the collapse of the communist regime left a bloody civil war in its wake. During the US occupation of Afghanistan following September 11, 2001, Afghan opium production increased. Today, the country is producing 90% of all opium worldwide. The sale of Afghan heroin generates 50 billion dollars in profits every year, and around 15 million people worldwide per year consume heroin from Afghanistan. The number of drug-related deaths is estimated at around 100,000 per year.
“Poppy” is a kind of kaleidoscope visualizing the chaos, violence, and opaque relations that prevail along the heroin trade route. Viewers are immersed in multi-layered parallel worlds where different events and developments overlap and interconnect. They are compelled to continually reposition themselves as they confront a flood of information and images that is at once fascinating and frightening. For the project “Poppy,” Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong developed an aesthetic that was capable of reflecting the complexity of the topic, experimented with non-linear narrative forms, and allowed the medium of photography to merge with other dynamic techniques such as video and multi-screen projections.

The exhibition consists of a 45-minute installation with four video projections and additional photographs and information panels. C/O Berlin is showing “Poppy” in cooperation with the Gesellschaft für Humanistische Fotografie. The project was produced by Paradox with support from the Mondriaan Fund. A catalog has been published by Hatje Cantz.

Robert Knoth, born in 1963 in Rotterdam, is an internationally renowned documentary photographer. During the 1990s, he spent time working in many crisis-torn regions of Africa, Asia, and the Balkans. In recent times, he has been focusing on long-term projects dealing with complex themes. His works have been published in newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, the Guardian, and Spiegel and shown internationally in a number of solo exhibitions. Robert Knoth has received numerous prizes for his work, including the German Fotobuchpreis 2012; he won the World Press Award twice and the Dutch Silver Camera Award multiple times.

Antoinette de Jong, born in 1964 in Tilburg, is a photographer, writer, and broadcast journalist who lives in the Netherlands. She has worked in many conflict zones including Somalia, Iraq, and Yugoslavia. Her work includes complex reports and documentaries for broadcasters such as the BBC World Service and Radio Netherland World Service. She has reported for almost two decades on developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her works have been published in numerous international newspapers and magazines.

Event Details

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