Scrublands: What Living Off the Grid in Europe Looks Like

The following is a project statement for photogapher Antoine Bruy‘s photo essay, Scrublands. You can read more about the project at Slate, WIRED, and The New Yorker.

From 2010 to 2013, I hitchhiked throughout Europe with the aim of meeting men and women who had made the radical choice to live away from cities, willing to abandon a lifestyle based on efficiency and consumption.

Without any fixed route, driven by encounters and chance, this trip eventually became for me a kind of quest similar to the ones these families embarked on. Eight of these experiments are shown here, and display various fates that should not only be seen at a political level, but more importantly as daily and immediate experiences.

The heterogeneity of places and situations shows us the beautiful paradox of pursuing utopia through permanent empirical attempts and sometimes errors. Unstable structures, recovered materials, or multiple applications of agricultural theories allow us to see the variety of potential trajectories—all of which aim for more economic or social autonomy. In their worlds, time has fallen from its tight linearity to a slow and deliberate pace. No more ticking clocks, just the ballet of days and nights, seasons and lunar cycles. No more clock ticking but the ballet of days and nights, seasons and lunar cycles.

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