16 February 2016

A Model Continent

Documenting a theme park where European national landmarks are reproduced as scale models. Part funded by the European Union, the park showcases an idealised continent where once divided nations co-exist in peaceful harmony. The requirements of a tourist attraction however has created unintended juxtapositions between these models and their surroundings. The model crowds at momentous historical events are noticeably small, roads and bridges end abruptly in mid air, and the branding of corporate sponsors are incongruously inserted into the scenery. Even the selection of which monuments are included in the park reflects a very loaded sense of which parts of Europe’s history matter, and which do not. These awkward contrasts seem to speak of the difficulties of the real continent to which this park refers. Rather than an exemplar of harmony, Europe is an increasingly a divided union, wracked by financial, political, and humanitarian upheavals, and where the lessons of history are often forgotten in the search for comforting but simplistic narratives.

Buy A Model Continent book

A Model Continent

2 France, channel tunnel

The Channel Tunnel, France

Alden Biesen, Belgium

Alden Biesen, Belgium

8 Seville Bullring, Spain

Seville Bullring, Spain


The Acropolis, Greece


9 Great Britain, White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover, Great Britain


10 Italy, Venice

Venice, Italy