Talent of the Year 2020 - FINALIST: Valentin Goppel
allá, en la pampa
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Vladi and Simon share a room. And they share the computer they defuse bombs and build houses on. Alternating all day long. Sometimes Vladi speaks to me, each time with the same words.
"Allá, en Alemania".
There, in Germany.
Then he asks me about the things he has been longing for for all his life.
Music-Festivals, E-sports championships, professional football. All the places where many teenagers come together. Allá, en la pampa, these things do not exist. Allá, en alemania, they do. Except for video games and sleeping, there is not much to do in Maria Susana, the village of the brothers. A football field, an ice cream shop. And a few teenagers. They dream of the same things as me and my friends back home. We all watch the same shows on Netflix, listen to the same music. On Instagram, we see the same posts. Of Disney- and Tomorrowland, of the same
celebrities who made it from the bottom to the top. It's the dreams of the privileged, the American
dream. Everything seems so incredibly close. Simon and his friends live in Maria Susana,
a village that has 3478 inhabitants according to Wikipedia. In the middle of the Argentinean pampas, the epitome of loneliness. There is nothing to do. Fields, cows and electricity pylons. The young people in town want to leave. And those who can afford it have long since gone to study in Rosario, the only big city far and wide. It’s four hours by car on the highway. Every Monday, Simon, like many young people from the pampas, takes the coach into town. One step closer to his distant dreams. Simon attends a cooking school. Theoretically, there would be seminars every day, but university is expensive, so is the journey, and an apartment in Rosario would be even more so. Plus, the argentine peso is loosing value every day. The villagers try their best to exchange their money into US-dollars. Every day they get less for this trade. By now, the banks only change a few dollars a week, that's all they can do. The father of Vladi and Simon once used to own the supermarket in town. By now, he can’t afford the rent anymore. Again and again, there are power cuts in town, sometimes there is no water. Simon and his friends try to somehow bridge each day, but in the end nothing happens. They pass their time with boredom. They don't lock the front door. When someone comes in, it's usually without a greeting. When they say goodbye, they do so in the knowledge that they will meet again the next day just as indifferently and naturally as the day before. Everything seems inconsequential, everything exists only to exist.
Alone, or together, in the end they seem to be waiting. For something to change, for the wake-up call to come, the end of loneliness.
But time stands still in Maria Susana.
I was born on Mai 22. 2000 in Regensburg, Germany.
At early age, I satrted expressing myself in photography. I had my first small exhibition at 18. As a result, I started to work as the assistant of german photographer Florian Hammerich. Since September 2019, I have been a student of photojournalism and documentary photography at HS Hannover.