Journey of discovery

They are places where nothing binding can be attached to except the promise of getting from here to there.


Interview with Dagmar Keller und Martin Wittwer

Are you commuters?

Not really. Our work always takes place in new places and is characterized more by longer stays in a particular place than by commuting regularly. But whilst photographing “commuters,” we commuted every day from our guest studio at the Multimedia Art Museum Moscow to the Smolensk train station. 

What fascinates you about bus and train stations?

In our work, we have always been interested in the “non-place” defined by French anthropologist and ethnologist Marc Augé. Bus and train stations undoubtedly belong to this category.

They are places where nothing binding can be attached to except the promise of getting from here to there. One completely surrenders oneself to the mechanism of the place after entering it. Similar to the use of an escalator.

The repeated use of such places, by commuters for example, sets automatisms in motion that make the perception of the place itself fade into the background. Instead, attention is focused on thoughts or on communication via the smartphone – elsewhere, that is.

Observing this fascinates us, especially against the background of certain social or societal contexts.

The pictures from the series commuters were taken at the Smolensk train station in Moscow. Among other directions, trains depart from there to the satellite cities around Moscow, heading west. After a long day of work in the overpriced city, it is not uncommon for workers to drive another two hours home.

The division of society into a very wealthy few and a majority with modest means forms, so to speak, the background for our series commuters.

How many stamps are in your passport?

It is always important to us to spend enough time in a new place in order to be able to develop and realize new works there. Accordingly, our passports are not overflowing with stamps, nor do all the stays abroad that have impressed us leave their traces in our passports, but there are usually traces of them in our work.


  • * 1972 in Donaueschingen
  • Studied at the Academy of Arts in Düsseldorf and at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne
  • Lives in Düsseldorf and elsewhere
  • * 1969 in Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Studied at the Academy of Arts in Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Lives in Düsseldorf and elsewhere