Contemporary Photography in Times of Conflict
European Month of Photography 2016/17
Contemporary Photography in Times of Conflict
Deim Ridnyi Jermolaewa Kerekes Dallaporta Kasearu Fast Renault Moreau —28
Pierre Stiwer in memoriam Frank Wagner Birkin Feldmann Gelitin Drew Bridle Reichmann
—48, 50 —52
Mayrit Ganahl Kastelic Silvestri Cirio Notsani & Mareschal
Galbats Zorman Bán Johne Moutafis Michalakis Rainer Ulrich Gratacap Boukal Alaoui —132
Belić Spinatsch Arvers Giannotti Tsagaris Röder Mravec Németh Hasanović —88
The choice of a common theme by a group of curators from eight different countries is not always easy. Everyone wanted however to root the exhibition in the political reality of the moment given the fact that we all shared a certain uneasiness about the geopolitical drifts in the Middle East, the rise of terrorism that could be seen as a consequence of strategic decisions taken after 9/11. Snowdon’s revelations about the monitoring system set up in the United States, the WikiLeaks of Julian Assange also were a strong incentive to think about the next joint exhibition in connection with these events. The refugee crisis, a direct result of wars unleashed in Libya, Iraq, Syria - but not only these conflicts - added to these considerations. The material was ample. But how could it relate to photography? How has photography evolved since the memorable events of 2001? Did creative photography echo these aspects and how? In what ways has digital imagery had an influence on artistic production?
The production of images must be seen in relation to its historical context. We will have to consider its relation to the inevitable progress of science and industrialization in the 19th century within the dominating European powers like England, Germany and France. Positivism marked philosophy and scientific thought of that time. Photography participated in this research and became its most rigorous expression alongside mathematics and other sciences in its role in documenting reality. Competing with painting - it came out victorious in its ability to reproduce reality - it also assumed with pride its ability to document the authentic, photography was truth. This was done in parallel with the cinema that was soon to take over in turn by giving a mission to reveal to the curious public the remotest corners of the world. Think of Albert Kahn and his photographic explorations of the world that made photography with the development of the illustrated press - a strong vector of documentation of all aspects of life, and of course the conflicts that shook the nations.
Contemporary photography in times of conflict Backroom talks or the prolegomena of an exhibition Pierre Stiwer in memoriam Frank Wagner
From the start, the photographer is present on the battlefield: be it the Crimean War in 1854 or the Civil War in the United States in 1861. It is only the beginning of a long history of photographers whose concern is to provide images of historical events. From Roger Fenton who was present at Sebastopol - and therefore the first war photographer – to Robert Capa – probably the most famous photographer known to the general public to date - through Gilles Caron, Steve McCurry, James Nachtwey to our younger contemporaries, the photographer always wanted to be closest to the action and aspired to become the faithful witness of historical events. But our intention was not to make an exhibition of military conflicts and the testimony provided by war photography. Besides, what is an image? Fenton was travelling in a caravan with heavy equipment that was difficult to transport. He could only take a picture after the battle, or before. For quite a long time, the written word would remain the most vivid testimony of an event, the most authentic voice of what was happening. The image was additional information. Next to the great journalist or writers like Albert Londres or Arthur Koestler in the years between the wars, the photographer was slowly to become the inescapable companion of the journalist. The publishing industry understood the power of the image and the picture was soon to replace the writer in major magazines of the twenties and thirties, from VU to AZ, from Paris Match to LIFE Magazine. In this role, the photographer also ended up being “subsumed” by the great ideologies of the time, fascism and communism, becoming a substantial player in the ideological conflicts that the great powers engaged in through the use of images.
Television in the 50s and - even closer to us - the Internet would bring the slow demise of print but especially the decline of the picture magazine that allowed photographers to sell their images. Modern media – from the TV majors to Facebook and Twitter - became meanwhile the near exclusive source of our view of the world; the image had become the vehicle of all meaning, the written language was dying or was falling foul of a competitor who claimed that a picture says more than a thousand words. We now know that this conception was dismantled very quickly as a new awareness came to fruition. Since the Vietnam war, every army in the world knows that any reporter left to his or her own devices is a disruptive agent. The recent propaganda videos of “terrorists” of all kinds in the social media show clearly that today’s conflicts also take place in these virtual worlds and that wars are won and lost depending on the power of images ... or the lack thereof. When, on September 11th, 2001, the Twin Towers collapsed, audiences around the world experienced the event via live TV. A few hours later or the next day for the vast majority of major newspapers and even later for magazines, photos of the Word Trade Center towers made the headlines on the front pages of all newspapers. Those images were frequently taken by TV cameras, or often by bystanders, and were more of a reminder than a testimony. The more quiet work of a Joel Meyerowitz (Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive) was needed to turn the New York firefighters into the new icons of courage and dedication like the picture that shows the US marines during the war in the Pacific planting the American flag on Iwo Jima. These dramatic and stylish images were far removed from the rhetoric of artists who based their art on the images of surveillance cameras,
of food, refugee children abandoned by their parents, drowning children who scan the sky in expectation of someone who could save them, stretching out their hands, expecting a quantum of solace. The ultimate goal of these machines to provide a global insight into the life of all citizens, guilty or innocent, is now opening doors to a new fascism, that we thought was a thing of the past. Like the citizens of the United States, European states are posing questions: the fight against the so-called Islamic threat - the surveillance and structures of mistrust that were set up - had an immediate impact on our perception of the Other and it all starts with the image we conceive of each other. Questioning the recorded image - in the sense that we can have doubts about the image provided as well as the sense we make of it - has opened a crisis of perspective in the sense that the Other is defined through misunderstanding, distrust and fear, frequently followed by rejection. Fenton’s difficulties in documenting the war for lack of mobility and flexibility have been replaced today by the difficulty of correspondents and the audience to find their way through an avalanche of images, making it difficult to work as a reporter, a photographer; to be an artist as well whose aim is to provide insights without necessarily referring to an external element. Photography is traditionally indexical in that it displays a referent. If an image is developed using a computer programme, according to statistical surveys, for example, or chromatic analysis or if one artificially creates a character (an identikit image), this external referent does not exist. The artist can create a work that somehow still shares some of the qualities of traditional photography, but “shows/reveals” something of reality without its image indicating an external object.
computer-generated algorithm imagery which depicts the human face according to pre-established patterns. Those who raised their eyes to the heavens during that beautiful September day had no idea that more advanced technology would soon force them to consider other threats also coming from the skies, this time in the form of drones and other military gear with a mission to fly over our heads and monitor events. This monitoring apparel would find itself in good company within a network of a different nature. The controlling power had joined forces with another ally up above also called “The Cloud”, a dizzying combination of computers and data analysis software making of any digitalized communication an inexhaustible source of information for Man on Mankind. He had finally achieved full transparency by surrendering his privacy to a machine, voluntarily or not. He had his picture taken in every possible place, not only once but at different moments, images taken by surveillance cameras of all kinds. On a different level his life was replicated in the form of statistics that showed his every move, purchases, preferences, desires and shameful and therefore hidden intimacies. Photography - in its digital form – had become in some ways a pure combination of pixels. The portrait of the average citizen and the computer-drawn face of a terrorist are disseminated easily and at always greater speed. The actual dead of the Twin Towers come as near pixels only in the photographs of Richard Drew while there are real drowned children on the border beaches of Europe whose pictures are shared over social media worldwide. The living individual, of flesh and blood, he who has a face, still cannot be avoided. He or she cannot be summed up by a digital disembodiment that the modern world imposes on us as an ever more threatening reality. There still are people actually suffering, migrants dying because of a lack
The term Looking for the clouds stems from a nomadic tradition that has long accompanied the migrant peoples who had to watch the clouds, the seasons, to predict rain, harvests, food. Fertility - and by extension - the promise of a better life is concentrated in this expression; but it also reflects the fear of the unpredictable, the fear of conflict and war. It requires vigilance. The augurs of Rome observed the flight and behavior of birds to predict the future, to detect the will of the gods. Looking at the clouds can be read – throughout these exhibitions – as a metaphor for the humans of the 21st century in search of certainties at a time of great uncertainties. Especially as this need to feel reassured generatedan unparalleled monitoring device be it drones, social media, or giant databases that explore every corner of our intimate life. This was the basis of discussion which provided the background for the eight curators looking for photographers who could fit the exhibition theme Looking for the Cloud. The title was suggested by our late colleague Frank Wagner, representative of the Berlin European Month of Photography event and curator of many exhibitions. Looking for the Cloud was to be the last exhibition curated by Frank. His sudden death came so unexpectedly, we still have trouble believing it. This publication is dedicated to his memory. His contribution was essential and - largely - defined the structure of this set of photographs and artistic works picturing a world in conflict.
David Birkin Severe Clear: The Shadow of a Doubt Existence or Nonexistence SEVERE CLEAR: The Shadow of a Doubt, 2014 At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a small plane began circling the Statue of Liberty’s torch towing a banner that read “THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT”. The phrase refers to an unattainable burden of proof. In American courts, juries are asked to convict or acquit on the basis of “reasonable doubt”, since proving a defendant’s guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt is all but impossible. As such, it is a jurisprudential ideal: the highest standard of justice to which a society can strive. “Severe clear” is an aviation term to denote ideal flying (and bombing) conditions.
1977 in London, UK, lives and works in New York, USA, and London
On Memorial Day weekend, the words “EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE” appeared briefly above the New York City skyline in synchronised bursts of white smoke.The phrase was extracted from a letter sent by the CIA to the American Civil Liberties Union rejecting their Freedom of Information Act request for records relating to the government’s classified drone program. The full reply reads, “...the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request.” Within minutes of the performance, images were posted to social media sites by people across the city; and the varied and often fantastical interpretations underscored the nebulous nature of the government’s reply. A little over a week later, the CIA officially joined Twitter with its maiden message: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”
SEVERE CLEAR: Existence or Nonexistence, 2014
right: Installation view of The Shadow of a Doubt, 2014 down top: The Shadow of a Doubt, 2014. Aerial performance over New York Harbor down bottom: Existence or Nonexistence, 2014. Skywriting over New York City
Hans-Peter Feldmann 9/11
Like many other works by Feldmann, 9/11 presents its subject in compelling aesthetic and conceptual reduction. Utterly devoid of pathos, it highlights how the media operate and how they cater to the sensationalism of mass audiences. Reveal the essence of the phenomenon, Feldmann’s work allows the realities in question to speak to their genesis. Gunda Achleitner 1 Anne Becker, 9/11 als Bildereignis: Zur visuellen Bewältigung des Anschlags, Bielefeld, transcript Verlag, 2013. 77.
1941 in Düsseldorf, Germany, lives and works in Düsseldorf
The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York went down in history as the founding moment of contemporary media culture. The photographs and TV images that traveled around the globe have come to be endowed with a mystical aura; they are regarded as icons that have become seared on our visual memory. The enormous significance of media imagery for 9/11 is the subject of Hans-Peter Feldmann’s extensive installation bringing back the day after the attacks (whence the alternative title 9/12 Front Page in some of the critical literature). A collection of altogether one hundred and fifty title pages of the September 12, 2001, editions of international newspapers in digital reprints on sheets of white paper are mounted in no particular order in several rows on the gallery wall, soliciting an engagement with questions of media theory. With a single exception (the English-language edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)1 every paper ran a picture of the Twin Towers being hit, burning, or collapsing on the front page. No event had ever been as widely rendered in images circulated by the media in virtually uniform fashion and perceived by the global public with focused attention.
9/11, digital print of international newspaper front pages on paper, 62 × 43.4 cm
9/11, installation view
Gelitin The B-Thing
This text, which Gelitin presented to a lawyer in New York on 6/3/2000, is an excerpt from the catalogue “Gelatin. The B-Thing” (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 2001).
Gelitin is comprised of four artists. They first met in 1978 when they all attended a summer camp. Since then they are playing and working together. 1993 they began exhibiting internationally.
The B-Thing, 2001 colour photos, 40 × 60 cm / 162 × 126 cm / 205 × 66 cm
The B-Thing, 2001 colour photos, 40 × 60 cm / 162 × 126 cm / 205 × 66 cm
On September 11, Richard Drew was also covering the Fall Fashion Week. He rushed to the site, where he captured the dramatic pictures of the people jumping out of the towers. In most American newspapers, his photos ran once and were never seen again; the memories of “jumpers” were so heartrending, their plunges so traumatic and their suicides so stigmatic that officially and journalistically, they ceased to exist. In official records, nobody had jumped; no one had ever been a jumper. Instead, people fell or were forced out by the heat, the smoke and the flames. A decade on, this denial still holds. The 9/11 Museum will consign the story of the jumpers into a hidden alcove, and there is widespread reluctance to DNAidentify the remains. In that sense, the jumpers were modern unknown soldiers, and their pictures, the photographic equivalent of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We will never know truly their motives, but retellings of the jumpers’ stories were at best a measured alteration of history, and a signal of many such revisions to come, as politicians and pundits continue to hijack the narrative and legacy of 9/11.
Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes (September 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm)
1946 in the USA, lives and works in New York, USA
Richard Drew The Falling Man
Attacks World Trade Center, AP images
“… watching robots, camera drones, these seeing systems operate continuously, beyond the range of human interest and endurance. And they operate, always, from above, giving them the privilege of surveillance. Surveillance images are all “before” images, in the sense of “before and after”. The “after” might be anything: an earthquake, a riot, a protest, a war. Any system reliant on flow, which is all networks from vehicle traffic to commercial supply to video feeds to the internet itself, views disruptions within the same negative moral context. Surveillance images attain the status of evidence for unknown crimes the moment they are created, and merely await the identification of the moment they were created for. Automated imagery criminalises its subject…”
1982 in London, UK, lives and works in London, UK, and Athens, Greece http://booktwo.org
James Bridle Drone Shadow
Drone shadows, James Bridle, various locations, 2013 – present. Photographs courtesy of the artist
Wolfgang Reichmann NYC 2002_08_22/23
photograph gradually liquefies— out of many instants emerges the flow of time. Therein lies part of the irritation the work elicits in the beholder. The nocturnal city appears to be bathed in an unreal pink light but is actually illuminated by its own glare. The work was created almost a year after the attacks on the Twin Towers, which would have appeared near the right edge. Our reading of the picture is further unsettled by the tensions between the totality of the city and the particulars—both of which remain fragmentary—as well as between the surveillance of a penetrating gaze and the voyeurism of the beholder gleaning numerous personal details from the sweeping view from the windows. The vantage overlooking the city turns into an indiscreet rear window.
1962 in Villach, Austria, lives and works in Vienna, Austria
Wolfgang Reichmann is a visual artist who has adopted photography as his tool. It lets him work out the world by molding it into pictures he then subjects to techniques of conceptual fermentation to reach for a deeper understanding. In sometimes very extensive series, he investigates visible reality and questions its initially evident and manifest quality. Yet every picture is a construct and by no means identical to the reality it may simulate. Reichmann’s particular approach is defined in part by the technical meta-level he inserts between reality and its likeness. For example, he has created ensembles based on X-ray photography and photograms that scrutinized the theme of distance and proximity vis-à-vis the counterpart of human existence from different angles. His visual thinking is moreover informed by pairs of opposites. During an extended stay in Manhattan, Reichmann made this large panorama of the city—a view from the studio ranging from Midtown to the north across Chelsea toward the east to the Financial District in the south. The picture is composed of thirty individual exposures taken over the course of a night. The moment frozen in the
NYC 2002_08_22/23, 2002 pigment-based inkjet print on aluminum-dibond 30 elements, 184 × 618 cm
Balázs Deim Surveillance System
points of busy public spaces at Budapest, capital of Hungary, and left them there for 4-12 weeks so the cameras take pictures with long exposure time. Because of the long exposure the observed people, vehicles in motion and the whole changing environment disappeared from the surfaces of the photos and only the empty squares are left behind. It is opposed the surveillance cameras used by the authorities which focused especially on the people and actions in the
public spaces. In addition to the static objects only the trip of Sun came into view on the pictures like a rainbow shown the progress of time. This way, it is the place that becomes significant, which triggers our ideas of its function and its memories.
1987 in Szentendre, Hungary, lives and works in Szentendre
Today’s urban society is surrounded by signs of control in streets, public spaces and sometimes even in private spheres. Surveillance camera, with its invisible representatives of control in the background, has become the symbol of our new reality. With this project the photographer tries to challenge this reality and reveal a reverse one. Deim placed home-made camera obscuras like the official surveillance cameras at high
Surveillance System, camera obscura, digital print, 2013
Mykola Ridnyi Under Suspicion
puppets are all around—provocateurs, informants, snipers, terrorists, spies, enemies. Everyone should remain vigilant, watch out for anything suspicious. Mykola Ridnyi’s series might be the material for a possible “independent investigation.” These mental snapshots trace the fatal drive of suspicious conciseness: one minor detail caught on the evening news is enough to launch the mistrust that will leave nothing untouched. What is this gathering of people? Who paid for this newspaper edition? Why is this guy wearing sunglasses? Is he hiding? What do they bring in their bags? What does this car with Lugansk plates do here? What is he observing from the balcony? Danger and deceit may lurk anywhere; anyone might turn out to be a conspiracy agent. In the final chapter of this investigation, you yourself are the one under suspicion. What if, in fact, you have already long been a puppet, agent, spy, and provocateur without knowing it? Perhaps you are in fact the enemy? The main task now is that you should not be exposed.
1985 in Kharkiv, Ukraina, lives and works in Kharkiv
Ukrainian citizens found themselves in a complicated cognitive situation. They had lived through the uprising. Many of them had actively taken part in it, struggling for a better life; many of them had risked—and some had lost— something or someone during the events. A lot of people had experienced Maidan enthusiastically, had felt themselves involved in historic events, in real politics. As usually, a better life did not come after the uprising. A shift of political elites took place; the situation in the country is completely out of control. Part of the territory is lost, part is occupied, part of the civilian populace has joined armed militias, and voters are divided into warring factions. Frustration is spreading among the citizens; in public transport one can hear whispering about how “they” have used us again. Yesterday’s activists of grassroots self-organization are now discussing conspiracy theories featuring “real actors” and “real beneficiaries” of Maidan. Feelings of uncertainty and the impression that events are uncontrollable nurture fantasies about “hidden stages,” manipulators, a “big master plan”—Putin’s? Obama’s? The Freemasons’? If there are puppeteers behind the curtain, then theirs
Under Suspicion, 2015 slide projection of 33 frames / series of 33 C-prints, marker, 20 × 26,5 cm,
Under Suspicion, 2015 slide projection of 33 frames / series of 33 C-prints, marker, 20 × 26,5 cm
Anna Jermolaewa Clouds
Just over two minutes long, the video Clouds begins and ends with a radiant blue sky above a sea of fluffy clouds as seen from a window of a Cubana Airlines YAK-42. Rendering a passenger’s point of view, the camera pans across the cabin, lingering on the rows of seats near the front, other travelers, a sleeping child, the aisle. We hear voices and snippets of conversation, drowned out by the unvarying drone of the engines. Then white smoke slowly rises from the floor and seeps through the gaps between the seats—without eliciting the slightest reaction from the passengers. A young woman holding a book gazes sideways, lost in thought, utterly unaffected by the thick smoke gathering at her feet.
1970 in St. Petersburg, Russia, lives and works in Vienna, Austria
Unlike the airplane’s occupants, we can no longer suppress our anxiety; we start wondering whether a problem with an engine or even a terrorist attack might be the cause and what we should do in this sort of situation. We also cannot help thinking of airplane disaster movies we have seen or the media images of 9/11 that are seared into our minds.
Wielding a handheld camera and eschewing props or elaborate postproduction, Anna Jermolaewa scrutinizes ostensibly banal everyday actions—trivial scenes in public settings and in her own environment—with an alert eye. The pictures she captures sometimes feel deeply familiar; it takes the indirection of a screen or an exhibition space for us to consciously see them. Specific and focused, the works deftly trigger emotional responses—amusement, amazement, and quite often discomfiture. Jermolaewa’s films do not drive toward a conclusion, they bring the process itself into view, moments in which a rupture or a loss of balance is imminent. The artist’s unerring aim easily elevates her works above the deluge of images that inundate us day after day.
Clouds, 2011 HD, 2'10" min, loop
The series called Fly Off is not the first instance in Gábor Kerekes’s oeuvre to employ the strategy of appropriation. A frequently used gesture in contemporary art, appropriation here means Kerekes creates his photographic series from excerpts of images taken from the internet, large surfaces photographed by satellites. He used map details on the electronic displays as negatives, pairing them with a classical technique: gelatin silver contact prints made from Polaroid negatives. The method is traditional, because he uses a camera, but instead of reality, he photographs the surface of the Earth, which has been rendered into an unverifiable virtual reality by the satellites. The scenes of the conspiracy theory (we all know this was where the “crashed UFO” was found), and the mysteriousness associated with the title, encourage the viewer to be all the more fastidious while examining the small but detail-rich images. You have to study the 14x11 cm photographs from a fairly close distance, which adds a strange tension to the changes in dimension that take place during the creative process. Abstracted into signs, the terrestrial surfaces seem to allow a view into the life of a pre-human era, when advanced
alien civilizations repeatedly used Earth as a landing site during their long-distance journeys. In a complex twist, the lines, circles, triangles, rectangles and planes in the photos also seem to employ the abstract mode of expression of visual art. “Kerekes builds a visual idiom from the electronic computer network accessible to everyone, as he reforms abstract sensibility in post-traditional photographic terms. By readapting many diverse forms of photographic expression in the presence of science, Gabor Kerekes redefines levels of visual experience in art. Like his modern predecessors, his work reconsiders the past with the ever-changing present. The art of such masters always tells something about moving into the future. Historically the highest quality of art always does.”1 Zsolt Péter Barta 1 Steve Yates: “Foreword.” In: Gábor Kerekes: Fly Off. Magyar Fotográfiai Múzeum, Kecskemét, 2011, 10.
1945, Oberhart, Austria – 2014, Budapest, Hungary, lived and worked in Budapest
Gábor Kerekes Over Roswell
Over Roswell, No12, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print Over Roswell, No3, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print
Over Roswell, No14, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print Over Roswell, No8, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print Over Roswell, No11, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print Over Roswell, No6, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print Over Roswell, No2, 14 × 11 cm toned gelatin silver print
During autumn 2010, Raphaël Dallaporta takes part in an archaeological mission in the Bactrian region of Afghanistan, a mythical place reminiscent of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Using a drone built according to his design in this war torn country, he becomes the producer of aerial photographs of archaeological sites in great danger of being destroyed or unknown until then. The remote control unit is set to take a snapshot every five seconds, making of these images unique precision shots. Hawing reworked the images, their voluntarily asymmetrical contours highlight monuments and inaccessible places. The most advanced technology is at work to document one of the most recurrent topic of the artist – documenting destruction, showing the transience of things. It brings to our eyes what has been and is no more. And do we not recognize here what constitutes the very essence of photography? All artwork of Dallaporta leads to one statement: we cannot but accept that photography does not speak so to say, it records a form and documents the invisible. Photography is the contemporary medium of traditional vanities or landscapes with ruins, it allows to evoke with great subtlety the lightness of all things, the violence and the viciousness of contemporary society.
1980 in Dourdan, France, lives and works in Paris, France
The group of works entitled Uprising builds around a video filmed during roof maintenance works performed on a building in Tallinn’s Pelgulinn district, where the artist lives and where she has been hosting her “Flo Kasearu House Museum” project since 2013. The metal taken off the roof was folded into plane figures, much like the DIY models folded by children from paper. Responding to the current political milieu of strained international relationships between Russia and the West, Kasearu’s video and accompanying works - drawings and framed 3D models - reflect on
the atmosphere prevailing under these circumstances in Estonia. The artist contemplates the heightened levels of paranoia in the media, calls for the increase in funding of the defense of the country with the resumed faith in NATO membership, and so on. The DIY metal planes as the main motif of the exhibition appear to be symbolic of military action, yet simultaneously representative of an exit strategy, the crossing of the country’s borders by air, immigration and emigration issues. The airspace - a perspective from which to assess ones own position as both a liberating and a frightening idea.
1985 in Tallinn, Estonia, works and lives in Tallinn, in Flo Kasearu House Museum
Flo Kasearu Uprising
Uprising, 2015, 3D pictures, 52 × 73cm Uprising, 2015, video, 4”
Omer Fast 5000 feet is the best
with their modes of dissemination and media coverage. In this challenging of the politics of representation he follows in his installations new forms of narrative in the video and installation fields. (Excerpt from www.jeudepaume.org)
1972 in Jerusalem, grew up between Israel and New York where he lives and works
Drawing for the most part on moving images, Fast’s work explores narrative complexity through a practice that blurs the boundaries between “reality” and “representation.” While Fast’s stories are often rooted in documentary, their construction is non-naturalistic and resists the temptation of any conclusion or revelation of some ultimate “truth.” Fast investigates the relationship between the individual and the social group, together with the way events are transformed into memories and stories, and their modes of circulation and media coverage. Fast investigates the way events are transformed into memories and stories, together
5000 feet is the best, 2011, video, 30'
On September 11th 2001, one of the most tragic events in the history of the 21st century took place. Twelve years later this day remains etched in the memories of a great number of people and particularly on the very spot (now a Memorial ) where this very uncommon tragedy unfolded under the open skies of New York. Families in tears stand there in front of the names of the victims, tourists are grinning like in an amusement park , motionless police officers in great number keep nearby, while the constant and regular number of aircrafts that continue to fly the same route contribute to create a psychosis.
1990 in France, lives and works in Arles, Montpellier and Paris, France
«11», 2014 11 mounted photographies, each 20 × 30 cm, 90 × 98 cm C-Print, 13 × 18cm
Swen Renault Gaza, Summer 2014
Television, with its 24-hour news channels, broadcasts still and moving pictures, an endless loop of repeated violent images of events in the news. Given media thirst for breaking news and scoops, when a critical event such as an attack or a battle is repeated over several days, the frequency of its image diminishes in favour of the newest headline. This work, made up of 16 images taken from the Internet, deals with the critical event of the 2014 Gaza conflict. These 16 images, deliberately reframed to eliminate context, play upon the ambiguity of an image and its meaning, creating an anxiety suspended between the beauty of the form and the horror of the content.
Gaza, Summer 2014, 2014 16 photographs, C-Print, each 30 × 30 cm, 130 × 130 cm
Aude Moreau THE END in the background of Hollywood Through this video Aude Moreau questions the proliferation of apocalyptic fiction scripted by the Hollywood movie industry. A series of photos documenting the surroundings of Los Angeles creates visual links to the video and its context. They act as location scouting photos used by film production crews but also resemble brooding video surveillance images.
1969 in Gencay, France , lives and works in Montréal, Canada
In her recent body of works, Aude Moreau leaves the gallery space to invest the corporate architecture of the North American skyscraper uses the existing structure – the modernist glass facade – to spread visual messages to the environing city. Acting from inside the skyscraper, using its towering position and the light it emits in the night, the artist invites to a re-territorialization of politics in a staged city. THE END in the background of Hollywood (2015) was shot in Los Angeles. Starting with the words THE END, written using the windows of the twins towers located in downtown L.A – once the tallest twin towers in the history of architecture before the construction of the World Trade Center in New York –, the video slowly moves away from the luminous city leaving the inscribed message, and hence the dominant skyline behind, while heading towards the Hollywood studios.
THE END in the background of Hollywood, 2015 video courtesy of Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montréal – © Aude Moreau; also at Centre culturel canadien
was not subjected to any measures. Instead, the “The world will never be the same Western world sought out the prime source of again!” That was the ongoing slogan that people evil in the areas that did not comply with the of different backgrounds and sphere of interests, new world order and the rules of global monetary from analysts, politicians, journalists, to ordisystem. And if one looks at it more profoundly, nary concerned citizens, kept repeating in the all the states that became victims of aggressions immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on used to be part of the emancipatory Non-Aligned the World Trade Center in New York on SeptemMovement, a union of former colonies in the ber 11, 2001. It seemed that the whole of Western so called second and third world. In a way, the society unanimously and uniformly started to “war on terror” could be seen as a retaliation of spread the mantra, even before the scale of the former colonisers against former servants, a reevent was established and disclosed. From the first moment the news broke, the attack had enor- venge of the oppressors against the oppressed. But every war needs a justifimous potential to become a spectacle. And indeed, cation and – no matter how strong the power it became a spectacle of unimagined proporthat wants to wage war may be – there is always tions, a gruesome overture into the 21st century. an incident (genuine or staged) that triggers it. Real time TV footage of the tragWorld War I supposedly started because of the edy was broadcast globally. The day after, in assassination of Austrian crown prince Franz Ljubljana, Slovenia, an entire issue of a major Ferdinand in Sarajevo, and the pretext for the national daily newspaper was dedicated to 9/11 start of the World War II was the supposed Polexclusively. The society of the spectacle and its ish attack on a German radio station. There is driving force, mass media, seemed to be embracalways a reason. And the response is always the ing the event with great horror and excitement. same: inadequate use of force. The number of The shockwave was so powerful that virtually casualties of the “war on terror” is thus much nobody (in the Western world) disagreed that higher than the number of dead of “9/11”. countermeasures were inevitable and righteous. The spectacle of collapsing skyThe US and its allies were granted the moral right to attack and invade whoever, whenever, wherever. scrapers that represented free trade was therefore a perfect justification for the war overseas Soon after, the term “war on terror” was coined. and for the severe control of the civil sphere at It is true, therefore, that the world home. The spectacle was just perfect: too perhas changed since then and that nobody was fect to doubt it. However, it was not completely completely immune to that as huge socio-politconvincing. There are several ambiguities in ical turn was played out in the West, and even the official explanation of the attack. Probably more so, in the societies that became its prey: the most striking instance is the third building first Afghanistan; then Iraq; then Libya; then in Manhattan that collapsed to rubble without later, indirectly, Syria and Yemen. Even though being hit by an aircraft. But all the facts that the majority of terrorists who conducted the atshould have led one to raise one’s eyebrow with tack were citizens of Saudi Arabia, this country
suspicion and disbelief were ignored and suppressed because the images of the catastrophe were visually so apocalyptic and disturbing. In the public discourse, the fall of the towers became a symbol of terror against the values of the Western world. Therefore it was inevitable that these values were soon to be exported across the globe, with full force and with no mercy. The world after 2001 faced the constant process of militarisation, increased surveillance of citizens and uncontrolled downfall of public liberties. Furthermore, increased military costs and loosened corporate control drained budgets of states and caused a collapse of public services that used to be granted. People were suddenly prepared to wage war and ready to give up a good proportion of their privacy for the sake of safety. On the other hand the newly elected neoconservative US president George W. Bush strengthened his political position and the position of his colleagues in the cabinet, the gray eminences of the regime stepped in as representatives of corporate power. The wars that followed were extremely costly for the taxpayers but profitable for subcontracting corporations such as Halliburton, which is deeply interconnected with the most vocal advocate of the war on terror: US vice president Dick Cheney. The war on terror was only a pretext for transferring public resources under private control. As it has happened so many times in history, war became an extremely lucrative business and not only for the arms industry, but also for the current economic system which is based on constant growth in production and consumption.
However, economic growth cannot continue indefinitely. Inevitably, economic grown will come to a stalemate at some point, especially in areas where population is no longer growing. The ongoing economic depression that hit the globe in 2008 is therefore only an indicator of the economic impotence of the current system. Every Western intervention in marginal and disobedient countries is just a desperate attempt to prolong the status quo. However, these are short-sighted, shortterm solutions, staying the eventual economic breakdown that is inevitable in a system based on ruthless exploitation of human and natural resources for the benefit of the few. The downfall of people from the Twin Towers and the downfall of the buildings could as well be a well-timed metaphor for the decay of Western civilisation that has ruled the world for barely three hundred years. It shows that what comes around goes around, that every action has a reaction. It shows the weakness of the new rulers of the world. Of course, one cannot read, see, or hear about that in the mainstream media since the same governments and corporations that conduct these policies control mainstream media. There are few people who are in a position to express doubts and ambiguities regarding 9/11, uncensored, and without being ridiculed for being conspiracy theorists. But art still has the strength to do so. Unlike whistleblowers and media activists who have been widely demonised and prosecuted, artists are often free to expose these issues in a very ambiguous and critical manner, and perhaps only because their reach, lately, is being limited.
journalists and artists to address that topic more daringly. But things are changing. The economic crisis, the environmental catastrophes and the recent wave of refugees fleeing the war-stricken or ecologically devastated lands in the wake of 9/11 are part of the same ongoing story. The wars did not prevent financial markets from crumbling, the severe security measures did not stop corporations accumulating money in tax havens, and the imposed western type democracy in the occupied lands (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan) did not improve the lives of the people involved but has rather made them flee their homes. The so called “refugee crisis” which is stirring fear and hatred across Europe is a direct consequence of wars that most of the European countries took part in. In a way, the seemingly swift victory of the West became its own defeat. Its downfall, which was announced with 9/11, is complete. In the past fifteen years, Western societies have been slowly but persistently losing everything that they have built in the decades after World War II.
Press photographer Richard Drew concentrated on the apocalyptic scenes of the 9/11 attack, taking pictures of people falling from the burning towers. In 2001, a composer of concrete music William Basinski created a score, entitled The Disintegration Loops, which coincided with the fall of the Twin Towers. New media artist Maurice Benayoun created, in his project Emotional Spotting, a real-time map of world’s emotions corresponding with certain traumatic events including 9/11. Hans-Peter Feldmann gathered 150 newspaper covers from 12 September 2001 to show the uniformity of media reporting on that matter. In an illegal action that took place in the year 2000, art group Gelitin built an improvised balcony on the top floors of the World Trade Centre. Swen Renault reacted to the 9/11 events by photographing airplanes in the sky using an optical illusion that made them look as though they might crash into high-rise buildings. However, the issue of 9/11 is still relatively fresh and therefore still a taboo. Apparently, not enough time has passed for
In their recent work, entitled 404, Carine and Elisabeth Krecké explore once again Google Street View. For three years, they have looked for images in Ciudad Juárez, a city located on the Mexican/ American border, and known for its climate of violence. As for the Dakotagate project, they were struck by a hallucinating image: the body of dead woman covered by a plastic tarpaulin. The question immediately arises as to the truth of this scene? Is it our imagination, nourished by what we know of this violent city, famous for its murder records? Or is this photograph really part of everyday life in Juárez? Obviously in the image stream of Google Street View, such images have only a short lifespan, first because they are frequently updated, and second, because we only retain what is formatted. Constituting an archive of photographs that puts side by side the banality of everyday life and a latent violence, the artists respond to these questions by trying to push further the search for the “truth” dissimulated behind these images. By choosing to provide a reinterpretation in writing of the absent photographs, they introduce a new perspective that goes beyond the interface and marks a cognitive presence. Thus “404” – title that refers to the http error code indicating the absence of a resource on the server, explores the interface by interfering in the processes of information dissemination, and by interrupting the logic of visual representations.
Also the poems that make up this imageless book replace the Google Street View images (as a reaction against their legally prohibited use), questioning their meaning through a process of conceptual writing. Do the writings collected in this book succeed in getting us closer to reality or, on the contrary, are they creating new fictions? In any case what this work reveals is, as Carine and Elisabeth Krecké say, referring to JG Ballard, that today it is the exterior world surrounding us which has become fiction, and the only fragments of the real that are left (if any) may only exist in our minds or imagination. As engaged artists, they have understood throughout their research that the “poetry” of this “collection” will eventually allow us to recreate a sense of presence (after the experience of the virtual), or, to get access to another real.
(Excerpts from 404: Reality or fiction reclaimed? in Carine Krecké, 404 Navigation Poems, éditions Gwin Zegal, 2016)
Paul di Felice
1965 in Luxembourg, live and work in Luxembourg
Krecké Carine & Elisabeth 404: REALITY OR FICTION RE-FOUND?
Installation views from the exhibition “404 not found” (CNA Luxembourg, Centre national de l’audiovisuel, Dudelange, 2016)
Images from the exhibition 404 Not Found (CNA Dudelange, Luxembourg)
Between 2010 and 2012 I collected unused cut-outs of ID photos from Portuguese citizens from the Portuguese Consulate General in Luxembourg. Prior to transition to an all digital and fully operational installation to make suitable photographs for Identity cards, the consulate staff would proceed by taking pictures from every citizen in a very rudimentary way (with any available camera at hand ) under very basic conditions. The photos were then transferred to a computer and printed on site. The next step was a cutting session where only the essential part of the portrait that would later appear on identity cards and passports of each would be kept. Having watched carefully this complex process at the occasion of the renewal of my passport and considered the considerable amount of hundreds of cutouts that on a daily basis constituted the missing part of the picture of the Portuguese immigrants in Luxembourg, I asked to be allowed to retrieve the latest waste material before its complete disappearance. These clips raise the question of immigration, of a life between the host country and the home country, because chosing another life always means that there is a culture, a language, a family left behind ... For me the recovered picture elements represent an anthropological source which allows an insight into a split identity through what is still visible. Also, the missing part of this scrap - that is to say the portrait used at the end on an ID card or in a passport - is part of this job procedure. In 2014 I made a wallpaper of a size out of 220 elements which - multiplied- create a space without limits where the missing portrait becomes visible as a white square of variable size. For the MnHA project I would like to create a wallpaper with the hundreds of original paper elements I collected over years.
Marco Godinho Remember (what is missing)
1978 in Salvaterra de Magos, Portugal, lives and works in Luxembourg and Paris, France
Remember (What is missing), 2014 Wallpaper, digital print, variable sizes
Daniel Mayrit You Haven’t Seen Their Faces
1985 in Madrid, Spain, lives and works in Madrid
distorted and confusing, but we somehow assume that the individuals depicted in them are invariably guilty. In You Haven‘t Seen Their Faces, Mayrit metaphorically hacks those surveillance cameras and rotates them 180 degrees, turning them from the bottom up in order to detect faces of people considered primarily responsible for the current economic situation. In this case, the faces depicted are those of the hundred most powerful people in the City of London, according to Square Mile magazine. The artist scours the Internet in search of these “most wanted” and paradoxically less exposed people in a gesture that reverses the classi-
cal visual power structure. Turning the system in which the privileged look from above on its head, Mayrit points them out, publicly exposing the faces of some individuals who enjoy the most exclusive good of our time: anonymity. The artist impersonates the police’s gaze, thus generating a dispute between authority and authorship, by appropriating their visual record in order to subvert its discursive paradigm. May London one day wake up to mailboxes filled with the faces of these most powerful …
In 2011, Daniel Mayrit was living in the London borough of Tottenham, where riots broke out after police shot and killed a young black man. Months later, neighbors woke up to their mailboxes filled with leaflets depicting the faces of alleged participants in the riots: some two hundred hooded, distracted youngsters. The unrests had their origin in a climate of social irritation caused largely by the European financial collapse, whose epicenter was in the City of London. The images released by the police were, in a way, an extension of its own authority. The photographs, extracted from footage of surveillance cameras, are often
You Haven't Seen Their Faces, 2015 exhibition view
You Haven’t Seen Their Faces, 2015 100 photos, 40 × 30 cm
This video series represents a continuation of my language-based video works entitled “Basic Feelings” and “Basic Conflicts.” The principle is always the same: a given sentence is uttered by me in all eleven of the languages I have studied so far. In a situation comparable to that in a language lab, I repeat the same sentence in all these different languages, touching on humor, absurdity, and paranoia. With this new set of “homeland security” clips, filmed as police mug shots, I make reference to the newly created Department of Homeland Security, which is most likely to bring us some kind of a quasi-totalitarian Big Brother police apparatus. Our homes will be subject to digital data mining and endless profiling —in a phrase: “homeless security,” since it is becoming harder to feel our homes are actually home. My “homeland security” sequences start with Arabic, a language I started learning only since 2001, and conclude with the more familiar ones. The sentences are simple and express a degree of paranoia: “I am not a terrorist” (1), “I am not a religious fanatic” (2), “I don’t give money to terrorist networks” (3), “I don’t know how to build bombs” (4), and “I am not downloading dangerous information from the Internet.” (5)
Rainer Ganahl, New York, 2003
1961 in Bludenz, Austria, lives and works in New York, USA
Rainer Ganahl Homeland Security
Homeland Security, I–V, 2003 DVDs, each video segment less than 2'
Jure Kastelic Death Reporters, 2011-2014
images of television personalities who always follow prescribed protocol, being strictly formal and at the same time palatable, thus become aÂ metaphor of modern world which is characterised by multitude of generic information, short attention span and paralysed historical memory. The artist thus very directly addresses extreme sensationalism of mass media
which feed themselves on bombastic news and hence embody the lack of empathy in our society today. This contrast is especially mirrored in the discrepancy between the image of the presenter and the content that he or she is communicating to the world.
1992 Novo mesto, Slovenia, lives and works in London, UK
In the Death Reporters series of photographs Jure Kastelic focuses on the communication tactics of mass media. While watching the television news from around the globe he systematically captured stills from the TV screen in the moment when presenters report on different catastrophes and on the number of death casualties caused by them. Frozen
Death Reporters, 2011-2014
This body of work depicts the journeys and ex- periences of Eritrean refugees into the United Kingdom. Those who emigrated from Eritrea did so illegally for various reasons. Inspired by the story of a childhood friend, I investigated further only to learn that there were many more like her who didn’t want to share their experiences, for fear of consequences or further suffering in their lives. The aims of this body of work is to raise awareness of human trafficking and to reveal different experiences and difficulties that my sitters faced on an uncertain voyage to exile which can be sometimes dreadful. Dedicated to those who suffered or were left behind in their quest for the ‘Promised Land’ and to those who marked their names and left messages on the walls of Sinai Mountains.
1978 in Eritrea, lives and works in the United Kingdom
Aida Silvestri Even This Will Pass
The work Obscurity is a selection of printed mugshots, which were appropriated from the Internet and manipulated by a custom-made algorithm to make the individuals unrecognizable using a unique visual effect. The derive from the artist’s online performative hack made with over 15 million mugshots of people arrested in the U.S. that have been obfuscated to protect their privacy. The mugshots have been blurred to make faces unrecognizable while their names have been shuffled by an algorithm that samples data based on common age, race, location, and charges, all of which are kept accurate in order to provide social context on the actual individuals arrested and the crimes they were accused of when they were booked in jail. Obscurity explores the emotional underpinning of unflattering personal information and reputation exposed on the Internet. Beyond the use of criminal records for the social experiment and the performative hack, the artwork promotes a legal right to remove personal information from search engines in United States. The Obscurity artwork deployed strategies that are oriented to problem-solving
as a form of Internet social art practice. By engaging with law, millions of individuals, bad business practices, and general public opinion, this artwork seeks to embody a practical discourse about the aesthetics, functions, and ethics of information systems affecting social structures that resonates within and outside the contemporary art dialogue. Control and access to information, the right to privacy, mass surveillance and profiling, and the system of participation within social dynamics are explored in this socio-critical Internet artwork. Ultimately, the project questions the legal frameworks surrounding public policies on privacy and profiling of citizens and engages the public in a debate about them.
1979 in the countryside of Piedmont, Italy, lives and works inNew York, USA, London, UK, and Turin, Italy
Paolo Cirio Obscurity
From the series Obscurity, 2016, inkjet prints, 75 × 100cm
From the series Obscurity, 2016, inkjet prints, 75 × 100cm
Tami Notsani / Laurent Mareschal Mues of oneself isn’t apparent. It takes courage. While many of them lacked that, some of them took the occasion to go inside of themselves with an acute narcissism or masochism. Nevertheless, unlike identikit usage by police forces and related sensationalism disseminated in the media of constructed banal images reduced to a brief description, Mues uses the identikit as a subjective tool, like a zoom lens focussing on one self to reveal one’s unique interior reflection. Personality can’t be reduced. Language is simply incapable of expressing its full essence. But we can try…
Tami Notsani : 1972 in Haifa, Israel, lives and works in Paris, France Laurent Maréchal: 1975 in Dijon, France, lives and works in Paris, France
The work Mues questions both individual and collective identity, through a collection of sound self-portraits and identikit (identikits comprise an archive of generic facial traits and features used by police forces to help create a composite image to identify people) pictures, created by three groups of teenagers from France, Israel and Palestine. The participants moult, vulnerable like lobsters in their new carapace. We asked the teens to leave the old shell behind so as to grow a new one. The picture looks like them, but doesn’t resemble them anymore. We hope this artwork is a significant souvenir of their moulting. Our proposition was violent as if we held up a deformed mirror in which participants had to recognise themselves. Constructing a transformed image
Mues, 2007, multimedia installation, variable dimensions ÂŠ Le Fresnoy, Tami Notsani, Laurent Mareschal
Dario Belić Where Is the Beginning of Our Private Space
1989 in Zagreb, Croatia, lives and works in Zagreb
In his ongoing work Where is the Beginning of Our Private Space Dario Belić uses unprotected, easily accessible IP cameras in order to capture privacy of various unknown people who are willing be observed or (even more often) are not aware that the real-time footages from surveillance cameras are available on the Internet. Ironically, most of the people around the globe use IP cameras for safety reasons. However, they therefore might sacrifice their privacy. Access to hundreds of unprotected cameras that started appearing in the past few years is possible at atenlabs.com/camwar or through any search engine by typing the correct keyword. An IP address is a unique numeric identifier of a computer on the Internet, in this case the numerical code of the camera that captures images or video. By using ‘IP’ addresses on the whatismyipaddress.com website one can easily find out the approximate location of cameras, access the unprotected cameras and monitor them. On the other side of the camera are people from all over the world in their private spaces who are usually not aware they are being watched.
Where Is the Beginning of Our Private Space, 2013-2014
Where Is the Beginning of Our Private Space, 2013-2014
Jules Spinatsch Vienna MMIX 10008-7000 Surveillance Panorama Project – No. 4 their ears but to their eyes. They are photographing each other, to remind themselves that this dream world, this orgy of power bonding, is happening and they are part of it. Perhaps there’s nothing entirely new there: the mobile phone camera is the logica extension of opera glasses. But what is extended is the symbolic reach of the event, out beyond the physical walls of the opera house and into the virtualized space of telecommunication and the internet… » Excerpts from David Campany’s text Spectacle of Surveillance in Jules Spinatsch. Vienna MMIX — 10008/7000 Surveillance Panorama Project No. 4 —The Vienna Opera Ball; Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess AG, Zürich, 2014.
1964 in Davos, Switzerland, lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland
« …In 2009, Jules Spinatsch suspended two interactive network digital cameras in the center of the Vienna Opera House. They were programmed to track incrementally, taking in the entire space, ceiling to floor. One image was recorded every three seconds between the start of the Ball at 8.32 pm and its conclusion at 5.10 am: 10 008 photographs in total. While doing so the cameras together completed two full rotations, so every spot in the opera house was covered exactly twice during the evening. …Look at the individual images captured by Spinatsch’s cameras at the Vienna Opera Ball. So many of the participants seem bored, vague, distracted, nervous, even anxious. Many are holding their mobile phones. But they are holding them not to
How to live in the jungle, how to restore its humanity, how to create spaces for living and sharing together. How to do the work of a government that shuns it, that refuses to see the urgency of the situation, that focuses instead on “reducing” the number of immigrants in Calais—without ever taking into account the dignity of those in transit, who seek not asylum but to cross the Channel to the UK as soon as possible... In a little less than a year together, and with the help of numerous French and especially British NGOs, the refugees of the jungle have built what has become a city-world, populated by places of worship, shops, services, restaurants, schools, galleries, cultural spaces... These everyday heroes are not only able to meet most community needs, they introduce a fledgling political model, based on decisions made from the representative of each community present, which are heard by NGOs, with all due respect to the needs, expectations and voices of the residents. The jungle’s biggest irony is the mayor of Calais’ “big project” to rebrand her city by creating a 275 million euro amusement park called Heroic Land —a theme park inspired by the world of videogames, manga and heroic fantasy... with total contempt for the true heroes, those who find solutions to the ohso-complex problems of migration and transit zones.
1972 in Paris, France, lives and works in France
Isabelle Arvers Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land
With The stationary point in the evolution of a system, Aldo Giannotti investigates the architectonics of the social space. In the long shadow cast by the global financial crisis, the artist questions those underlying mechanisms that allow the emergence of dominant positions within a given community. A white wooden board (300 × 150 cm) serves as a spatial reference system to embed an idea in the rough surface of the real, testing it for its resistance and potential. The context is provided by various infrastructural elements of the public space (canal banks, railway tracks, speed bumps, etc.). Out of the spatial relation between the board and the surroundings as well as between the people standing on the board, pictures of a precarious balance arise, capturing different inclinations and drop heights. The artist can thus measure the degree of conflict between the existing reality and a possibility lying dormant. The grass-roots democratic ideal of
a flat social ontology, evoked by the white board, takes the form of a pending question or a suspended judgment. As indicated by the title, Giannotti doesn’t focus his attention on the changing distribution of power relations, but rather on what stands unshakably firm beneath them, a stationary point that can be compared to the rotation axis of a body: “This axis is not fixed in the sense that anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility” (Wittgenstein). By exploiting the law of gravity, the artist can depict power imbalance as a naturalized form of cultural violence acting on the members of society like a physical force. Shifting the centre of gravity by changing the architectonic context the board is placed in, however, Giannotti lets the basis of community appear in its contingency and plasticity.
1977 in Genoa, Italy, lives and works in Vienna, Austria
The stationary point in the evolution of a system
The stationary point in the evolution of a system, 2012 installative performance photos, 100 × 70 cm each, plywood, 300 × 150 cm, framed drawings on cardboard, 100 × 70 cm each, polystyrene sculpture, 120 × 70 × 60 cm
The stationary point in the evolution of a system, 2012 installative performance photos, 100 × 70 cm each, plywood, 300 × 150 cm, framed drawings on cardboard, 100 × 70 cm each, polystyrene sculpture, 120 × 70 × 60 cm
Panos Tsagaris’ photographic work aims to transcend traditional practices of imagery, by incorporating existing published material with transformative processes, towards the production of symbolic objects that underline our individual and collective struggle with spiritual development. The smooth, fragile and appeasing surface of the gold leaf in the “Golden Newspaper” series, subverts the violence and intensity of the visual imagery, while at the same time its value exemplifies the questionable relation between the self and material wealth. Therefore, by using the sociopolitical reality of a nation to attest to the struggle of the individual, the work becomes the connecting link of the space between the real and the unconscious. A political phenomenon becomes the vessel through which the need for self-development is highlighted, while the use of global newspaper covers in the works underlines the essence of the element of interconnectedness associated with spiritual growth.
1979 in Athens, Greece, lives and works in New York, USA
Panos Tsagaris Golden Newspaper
June 30th 2011, 2014 gold leaf on archival inkjet print, 150 × 90 cm Private collection. Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki. (Photograph on The New York Times: John Kolesidis/Reuters)
“The Union”, 2011 triptych, gold leaf on newspaper 56 × 30.5cm each courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki
“Death is life-Life is death”, 2011 diptych, gold leaf on newspaper 56 × 30.5cm each courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki
Julian Röder worked as an agency photographer for many years. Yet he never adopted the aesthetic of journalistic sensationalism or humanistic empathy, instead devising an investigative and aesthetically committed documentary style. His work includes allegorical political statements and essayistic observations on the dark underside of neoliberal societies and the fateful entanglements of power and economics. Röder translates the interest in his motifs into lavish compositions that invite association with genres ranging from battle painting to monumental film. For the series The Summits (2001–2008), he shadowed anti-globalization activists as they traveled to the meetings of heads of states. Clouds of tear gas balloon into prodigious metaphors of resistance; reedy teenagers, their faces wrapped in T-shirts, are stylized as anti-capitalist warriors. When they muster before the panorama of a dusty suburb of Thessaloniki and one protester wearing a gas mask strikes a heroic pose, gazing off into the distance beyond the carefully framed selection of reality, the echo of history paintings like Eugène Delacroix’ La Liberté guidant le people lends historic depth to the picture’s message.
Another series, World of Warfare (2011), was shot in Abu Dhabi at the arms fair IDEX (International Defense Exhibition), where the military industry showcases cutting-edge defense technology. Jet fighters fly in displays above picturesque sceneries, ammunition belts are attractively draped over glass beads, an infant poses at the helm of a tank as visitors take pictures, and one scene is bathed in the light of a Mercedes star. Röder frames a compelling glimpse, ironic and distressing in equal measure, of a world in which brisk trade turns even the heavy machinery of killing into glossy merchandise.
1981 in Erfurt, Germany, lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Julian Röder The Summits
The Summits, 2001â&#x20AC;&#x201C;2008 C-prints, various sizes Courtesy: Galerie Russi Klenner, Berlin
Julian Röder World of Warfare
World of Warfare, 2011 archival pigment prints, various sizes Courtesy: Galerie Russi Klenner, Berlin
World of Warfare, 2011 archival pigment prints, various sizes Courtesy: Galerie Russi Klenner, Berlin
World of Warfare, 2011 archival pigment prints, various sizes Courtesy: Galerie Russi Klenner, Berlin
Juraj Mravec DONBAS
Mravec documents the conflict zones in many countries (Russia, USA, Ukraine, Serbia, Irak, Syria etc.). „We live in 21th century and in eastern Ukraine is taking place a trench war. During the two years more than 9000 people died in this conflict. It is a war of ideals, Russian or European and of Europa. People are willing to die in it. In the devastated postsovietic country this conflict looks like from the past bad dream. Mainly civilians suffer.“ Juraj Mravec
1987 in Leviciach, Slovakia, lives and works in Bratislava, Slovakia
DONBAS, 2016, C-prints
Boris Németh could be called a pictorial chronicler of Slovakia. Since 2007 he has travelled through towns and the countryside, attended folklore and music festivals, political protests, religious celebrations, pilgrimages and air shows. However, he does not photograph them in a purely documentary way. His chronicle is not supposed to be factual, history does not flow linearly. Its layers are fragments of stories and encounters that are bizarre, ironic, sometimes unobtrusively moralizing and sometimes tragicomic. The events and secluded places which he visits, offer him rich visual material and the confrontation between various symbols. All these features meet in the frame of the photograph: the global and the regional, the religious and the secular, history and the present and the traditional and consumerism. Németh artfully combines seemingly unrelated or contradictory elements,
but without staging or fabrication. A refined sense for a natural visual counterpoint is typical of his photographic style. Years ago, Martin Kollár began to push for visual counterpoint in Slovakia and Németh successfully continues to develop this ability to find images worth recording in the ordinariness of everyday life. In his chronicle, he layers micro-stories that bear witness to the paradoxes of Slovakia, its transformations, as well as its unchanging heritage. Despite a geographical linkage to Slovakia, the metaphors and symbolism which he uses attract attention even without understanding the context of the Slovak environment. After all, it is a chronicle which is written in the language of photography and this is the most popular and clearest language of today.
1979 in Šaľa, Slovakia, lives and works in Slovakia
Boris Németh From the Life of a Country
Ibro Hasanović Note on Multitude (2015)
The Note on Multitude is a short film showing farewell that goes from the emotional to the violent, ending in exhaustion. Men, women and children kiss goodbye and try to board on the buses that will take them into uncertain future of migrants. The piece was filmed in Priština in the beginning of 2015 when the waves of economic migrants from this impoverished and politically unstable state started flooding to the West.
1981 in Ljubovija, Bosnia-Hercegovina, lives and works in Priština, Kosovo
Note on Multitude, 2015 Film, 7:43 min
Martin Kollar Field Trip
1971 in Zilina, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), lives and works in Slovakia
to realize that I could not reject the idea that I was under surveillance. Governments explain away these acts as “security measures”, but they were difficult for me to accept 20 long years after the end of the Communist regime. Somehow I found myself back in my psychic past, assessing situations with a mild sense of paranoia. It is likely that the Israeli security police have a record of my movements under surveillance. I have been thinking that such a report would be the most fitting text for this book. But there are some things in life that we are destined to never fully comprehend, that we can’t prove are refute or avoid.
During a year spent in Israel, I experienced intense flashback memories from my childhood, quite unexpectedly, memories of growing up behind the Iron Curtain during the”normalisation” of Communist Czechoslovakia. Our partition wall prevented us from crossing over, protected us from outside influences, and also from ourselves. The familiarity of a strictly delineated territory, played out between a wall and sea, started to connect and overlap in my mind. Tension and sense of physical and psychological danger hung in the air - very human emotions that cannot be ignored. My movements in and out of Israel in a number of border checks and the inspection of my computer discs and hard drives by security agents at airports. After several brief police detentions in Israel, I began
Olivier Jobard, a French photographer, joined a short time ago refugees from Cameroon in their “long march” across Africa and the Mediterranean to France. When asked about his motives, his answer was unequivocal: to give a face, a figure, an identity to the migrants with whom he toured and shared the risk of a perilous migration “When we speak of immigration“, Jobard said, “we often associate immigrants with ghosts or shadows. In our minds, they are not real.” Instead of focusing on the group Jobard decided on a different strategy and concentrated on Kingsley, a young man of 22, and finally called his photographic series Kingsley, the first name of this young migrant. There is no confusion here: he is real. What is human migration and its tragedies? Shipwrecked groups, individuals waiting in front of gates guarded by police or the army, desperate people forced to live in isolated detention centres or on the margins of society ... Jobard is a “humanist“ but also a “concerned” photographer. Jobard knows very well what he is talking about. His photographic series “Exile, Exit” demonstrates that he knows nearly all the key sites of the current migration crisis in the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Ukraine and the English Channel. Lampedusa, Patras, Athens, Calais, Mukacheve. But he also knows about Paris and its insalubrious refugee camps; nothing escapes his photographic eye. In his shooting method he comes close to what might be called the “cinéma-vérité “ approach based on the “just take the picture” popular at the times of the Vertovs. The purpose of the photographic quest, in this case, is clear: so that no-one can say, confronted with one of the worst human tragedies of the early 21st century, “I didn’t know!”
The “migrant crisis” in recent years at the gates of Europe and even within the European Community has had this immediate effect: the increasing production of a flood of images of refugees. The big machinery of photojournalism started to move as soon as the crisis emerged. For reasons that remain of course conventional. Inform and show, of course, but also produce sensational events that will sell on paper and screens. It was understood that the message would very quickly overflow the medium, forcing it to take a stand. Because the images very quickly encountered a powerful reality: humanity. Seen from a distance, on an abstract level, migrants thrown in their hundreds of thousands on the roads flowing to Europe because of the war in Syria and Eritrea and poverty in the sub-Sahelian region are joined by the cohorts of the usual destitutes that come with wars, famines and other calamities of history. Like the Armenians in 1915 trying to flee their genocide by the Turks. Like the Spanish republicans crossing the Pyrenees in 1939. Like the European Jews squeezed on ships heading to Buenos Aires or Cyprus during and after World War II. Like the French during the exodus of 1940 and the Germans during the winter of 1944-1945, fleeing the advancing troops of the Red Army. Like the Boat People of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China between 1970 and 1980. Except that this time the coverage embraces everything. Photojournalism, this time, takes a number of roles, where the photographer is at the same time observer, fellow activist and supporter, the principle of solidarity informing even more pictures. With this consequence: incarnation.
What do we see? All kinds of images, even the most violent and most unbearable. Those terrifying pictures by the Spanish photographer Juan Medina which he took on a beach near Cadiz are engraved on our minds. Here, the dead bodies of Africans who have not survived the crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar. There, an individual of black origin still dressed, dragging himself up the beach on all fours; in the background of the image some tourists are talking casually as if nothing had happened. The image will go around the world, will inspire many quotes, many copies, a theatre play. The sharpness of the images, the almost constant use of colour, the frequent presence of the photographer “in the very middle” of the action, not so much at a fair distance but in a rather proxemic manner to the event add to the effect of truth. This time it is not about restaging the dramatic and ultimately compassionate and de-individualised stance of a Walker Evans (Let us now praise famous Men) or a Dorothea Lange (Migrant Mother) operating during the Great Depression. The reference is indeed the one offered by the Robert Capa at Omaha Beach, the maker of images who accompanies the soldiers in their assault, or by a James Nachtwey the war photographer so close to the action he risks being one of the possible victims. It would be grotesque, without question, to mention only “embedded” photographers, the images of photographers as eminent as Warren Richardson, winner of the 59th World Press Photo (2016) with the image of a man carrying a baby in front of barbed wire at night, on the border between Hungary and Serbia; those of Yannis Behrakis or Jörg Brüggemann present at Kos in the boats of Syrians who left Bodrum in
the direction of this resort island in the Aegean sea or among tourists confused by this unusual influx; those of Oliver Feldhaus who stands with the migrants in Berlin protesting about the bad welcoming conditions; those of Samuel Gratacap immersed in the desolate camp of Choucha in Tunisia where hundreds of Libyan refugees are impatiently waiting to leave. Other images, less direct, but just as pervasive are telling in their own and effective way – most of the time in a more contemplative mode - the tragedy mainly by forcing the viewer to take a distance without allowing him to distance himself from it. Francesco Zizola, off Lampedusa, dives nearly sixty meters and photographs the remains of a wreck which sank with five hundred migrants, almost four hundred of them having died in the shipwreck. Patrick Galbats in his Borders series shows the symptoms of the crisis but not the actors, as did Jacqueline Salmon, around 2000, when documenting the site of Sangatte, near Calais. Salmon showed the camp empty of its nearly two thousand migrants attempting to go to England using metonymy - the void that refers to the whole. Here a fence, there a monument on a border that has been fortified, here foot-prints on the grass which trace a path, a passage way towards the European garden of Eden. Justice must be done as well to the register of useful humanitarian testimony (we want to emphasize this utility criterion, we would like to consider it as not disgraceful - aiming to accelerate the insights and acts of solidarity), the more complex schemes (of photographers), choosing to confront the traumatic event in a cathartic way, according to the principle of “re-enactment”.
The late Leila Alaoui who died under the gunfire of Islamic fanatics in Burkina Faso, in early 2016, adopts in Crossings a sensitive yet accurate approach. Using both photography and video, single framing or triptych, Alaoui gets close to African migrants en route to Europe. She makes them speak not so much in order to voice a legitimate complaint but in order to explain the motives behind immigration, a reason to live in dignity, to expect a hand stretched out to them. Finally, a word about the installation by Francis Alÿs, grabbing all possible means available. Gibraltar Focus is dedicated to the Strait of Gibraltar, home to so many tragedies caused by attempts to cross from Africa to Europe. Alÿs, in his all-encompassing approach that gives precise explanations and avoids pathos, shows maps, newspaper clippings identifying tragedies recorded on this site, finally a video where the artist asks African children to re-enact the passage. These people, in a line in the water, each holding in their hands a ship advance toward the viewer, in procession. It is not the Shadow Procession, the Procession of the shadows in the form of an animation, done twenty years ago by the South African artist William Kentridge who shows anonymous refugees fleeing some unknown disaster, but here we have individuals identified, not lost in the geography of the worst but expecting from us a gesture of solidarity, attention, within a clearly defined framework.
Patrick Galbats Boundary
Returning regularly in Hungary the Luxembourg photographer Patrick Galbats continues his biographical quest on his Hungarian ancestors. His immersion in this part of his family, which never left Hungary, confronts him with history, the Nazi past and the revival of nationalism. By photographing the seemingly melancholic landscapes and the cute interiors he points out through the photographic lens the signs and symbols that destabilize the autobiographical narration. The visual survey in the past that began first with certain lightness confronts increasingly aÂ reality today. Furthermore his images, which appear neutral at first, evidence through aÂ series of suggestive details the rising nationalist and fascist nostalgia. Without focusing directly on the hot topics, by evoking some latent tension, he is able through this shifted photographic research to address the themes of identities, nationalities, immigration and refugees in aÂ very particular way.
Paul di Felice
1978 in Luxembourg, lives and works in Luxembourg
Anna Jermolaewa 120 m
have come here, deliberately does not capture: no matter the weather, even in snow and ice, refugees come traveling down the road, their bicycles packed front and back with children and luggage; some steer the vehicles with practiced ease, but many lurch toward the checkpoint, recognizably riding a bike for the first time in their lives. A lively business has sprung up on both sides of the border around their distress: Norwegian peddlers collect the abandoned bicycles and sell them to their colleagues on the Russian side, who in turn offer them to the refugees at extortionate prices. Jermolaewa’s sober-minded photographs tell a disturbing story about Europe’s “mercantile acumen” at a time of mass migration. They are also valuable documents of contemporary history—the northernmost route for refugees has been blocked since the end of 2015, when Norway closed its borders to refugees.
1970 in St. Petersburg, Russia, lives and works in Vienna, Austria
The four photographs Anna Jermolaewa shot in 2015 show nothing spectacular: merely a great mass of bicycles, new ones, old and decrepit ones, some parked in front of a house, some leaning against a dumpster or thrown into it. The pictures do not even contain any clues as to where and when they were taken. Conspicuously absent are the people who have ridden these bicycles in the past or may yet ride them in the future. We are in a no man’s land, 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, at the only border crossing between Russia and Norway. Since 2015, growing numbers of Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi refugees have passed through here. They prefer the “Arctic route” to the more hazardous journey via the Mediterranean Sea and the Balkans. According to Russian law, travelers must cover the last 400 feet to the border—the 120 meters of the title —on at least two wheels; in Norway, on the other hand, taxi and bus drivers who ferry refugees across the border without a Norwegian visa or other papers face punishment. The paradoxical legal situation produces absurd and yet touching scenes, which Jermolaewa, unlike the press photographers who
120 m, 2015-2016 Lamba prints, framed, 70 × 42 cm each, oil on canvas, 32 × 24 cm
The photographs of Matic Zorman showcase the brutal truth of war, repression and poverty that force people to flee their homes and seek refugee abroad. In his series of photographs such as Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death (2010-2015) and Balkan Nights (2015) he explores the causes of the recent refugee wave and follows people on their long and exhausting journey. The influx of people from the wartorn areas and places stricken by a climate change has been ongoing in the past couple of years but invisible to most Europeans. The first refugees who took the route across the Mediterranean Sea and ended up in deadly stampede of massive drowning were fleeing Gaza, the biggest among modern-day concentration camps. However, with the growing instability of the Middle East and bloody wars raging in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya the number of people seeking asylum abroad has rapidly increased. However, they are all part of the same historical moment. Zorman thus documented the exodus of thousands of people and told the story about fatigue, uncertainty and hope while making their way to supposed better (and safer) life. His pictures showcase a crisis of apocalyptic proportions that often resemble biblical exodus. More than a million of refugees fled their homes in 2015.
1986 in Kranj, Slovenia, lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Matic Zorman Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, Balkan Nights
top: Gevgelia, Macedonia, The Balkan Nights, August 2015 A young refugee is looking through a window of train station in Gevgelia, on Greece-Macedonia border, while waiting to board the train headed towards Serbia. down: Beit Hanoun, Gaza, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, September 2014 Mentally disturbed Sa’d Za’neen lies chained in front of a makeshift tent which serves as a temporary home for his family living near the Israeli militarised border with Gaza strip. Being chained is the only way ensuring he won’t wander off, as his family lost their home where they could keep him safe.
Khan Younis, Gaza, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, September 2014 “Fatima Asfour stands amidst the ruins of her apartment in Khan Younis, Gaza while holding photos of her two sons who immigrated from post-war Gaza in September 2014. Both are feared to be dead after the sinking of a ship of the coast off Malta. To date she still didn’t receive any official news regarding their fate.”
Andrej Bán World not wholly broken
Photojournalism is supposed to be specific. To be about this event at this time, in this place, for this reason, and much of it is, but let us not forget it is words that provide the photographs’ context. In one photograph a disembodied face looks out, or in? to an empty building. A warehouse? A factory? There are some half-arranged chairs. For what? A meeting? To learn? To pass judgement? A girder seems to pass through the face’s mouth, another through his eye. Where are we? What is this about? This is what Andrej Ban says about his photograph. “This is memorial complex in old factory in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Hercegovina, where there was in july 1995 a genocide of about 8.000 Muslim men and boys by Serbian forces, under General Ratko Mladic. This is photo from 2009, I was there three times in last ten Years. Photo shows documentary film projection in factory hall, an old man is speaking about war crimes against Muslims there. In this factory Muslims where collected and then separated.”
The photograph is a question. Now we know the answer, or at least we know more of the answer. All of these photographs are questions and Andrej Bán gives us quite specific answers, and in this capacity the photographs well serve the needs of magazine photojournalism where many of them have been seen in that role, which is an important role. However the best photographs outlive that photojournalistic function and take on a life of their own to ask questions of the larger themes of the human condition. In this collection of photographs there is a lexicon of scattered corners, shadows, grids, body parts, and angles that describe a place unrestricted by the specifics of time and place: a world of irregular geometry and a dark presentiment of life at the edges of sorrow and loss and suffering. A world splintered yet not devoid of hope, not wholly broken.
1964 in Bratislava, Slovakia lives and works in Bratislava
Chris Steele-Perkins: World not wholly broken (Magnum Photo) 2015
Sven Johne Griechenland-Zyklus (Greece Series) project—the places, the photos, and the texts—do not aim at anything essential: on site, there isn’t any truth to be discovered, or any crucial and exemplary representation to be wrested from any individual specific presence. Moreover, the lower part of the glazing of the prints shown in the exhibi- tion is covered by a silkscreen surface, where the visitors can read the associated diary entry. Hence, also the last possibility to identify an actual place on the basis of details of landscapes or buildings is made impossible and masked out by this text box. Extract: Sven Johne Where the sky is darkest, the stars are brightest, Edition Camera Austria, 2013.
1976 in Bergen/Rügen, Germany, lives and works in Berlin, Germany
For his most recent Griechenland-Zyklus, Sven Johne has travelled to different mainland places and islands in Greece since 2012 which can also be found in any tourist brochure (Syntagma Square in Athens, Mykonos, Delphi, Corinth, Corfu etc.). He took a photo of the starry night sky in all of these places—then he noted down date, time and place, and added a diary entry to each photo: “25 August 2012, 02:08 am, Chora, Mykonos Island: And here they are moored, the yachts of the tax fugitives, says the taxi driver, what affluence! Does Mykonos still belong to Greece? The two of us have fun. But the harbour is going to be privatised in the very near future. Downtown luxury shops, jewelry and expensive hotels. I can’t find a room. Finally, at two in the morning, I am ready to pay any price.” Separately, all elements of this
Griechenland-Zyklus (Greece Series), 2013 archival pigment prints, screenprints on glass, framed, 110 × 72 cm each
Griechenland-Zyklus (Greece Series), 2013 archival pigment prints, screenprints on glass, framed, 110 × 72 cm each
Giorgos Moutafis Europa, Europa
1977 in Athens, Greece, lives and works in Athens
Unaware of what comes next in a crisis ridden country with no functional reception system, most of them believe they have reached their Promised Land. Having just survived an enormously dangerous sea crossing, the refugees must immediately make one of the most difficult of choices: where to go next. The absence of a common European asylum system forces them to seek out those EU countries with the strongest asylum systems, where they also have a greater chance of integrating. Thus, after reaching Greece, most embark on a new journey to the north. Along the Greece-FYROM border, the situation is even more chaotic. Many refugees remain stranded in be-
tween the two countries, their passage subject to daily negotiation. It was here that, few months ago, police officers attacked refugees as they held their babies in their arms. I have documented violence, despair and helplessness with my lens more times than I can possibly remember. But I have honestly never seen anything like that before: terrified and beleaguered people trying to cross the borders, children screaming and crying and families being separated between the two countries. Hell by the border.
This is a historical moment for Europe. That is the thought that creeps into my mind every time I try to describe just what I have been documenting for the past few months. As a photographer who has dedicated more than nine years to document the lives of refugees across the continent and beyond, I never foresaw that we could reach a point of such cruelty, never imagined that EU member states would be building fences to protect their territories from helpless, desperate refugees. History is repeating itself as the Greek islands once again welcome refugees arriving via Turkey. I see them reaching Greek shores and kissing the ground.
Since 2009, aÂ large segment of the Greek people has been facing the consequences of aÂ serious capitalist-economic crisis. Successive austerity packages, following the agreement of the Greek government with the EU and the IMF, have eroded the social fabric. Twenty-three percent of the Greek population is living below the official poverty line. Youth unemployment (ages 15-24) is at 62 percent. The number of unemployed exceeds 1.5 million. The recession is deepening, resulting in conditions that society had not experienced since the Second World War. Drastic cuts in public expenditure have dismantled state welfare institutions and have led to the marginalisation of the most vulnerable social strata. Many people have no health insurance coverage. The homeless have increased by 25 percent. Thousands of people, from the long-term unemployed to the shopkeepers who have lost their shops, depend on soup kitchens to survive. The number of people who have committed suicide due to the impasse of the crisis is now over 4,000. The streets of Athens and other Greek cities fill up at times with thousands of protesters. Insecurity, fear, fatalism, individuation, passivity, rage and anger prevail against organisation, collectivity and solidarity.
1977 in Elefsina, Greece, lives and works in Athens, Greece
Dimitris Michalakis Burnout
Florian Rainer Fluchtwege (Escapes)
tableaus of people arriving in Europe or struggling to overcome border fences put up by nation states—they are dispassionately observed and quiet pictures of human beings reaching the first country that may offer them asylum after traveling across the Balkans. They exude a sense of tentative composure—individuals as well as society at large pause to reflect, lingering in the no man’s land between emergency and the return to a sort of normal life. If the book opens with distanced and analytical shots, the camera then cautiously approaches the asylum seekers, concluding with portraits taken outside their makeshift
accommodations in a refugee camp in which they introduce themselves as individuals. The essays collected in the volume—contributed by renowned Austrian writers and journalists, who generously waived their honoraria—are meant to cover the events of last fall from as many angles as possible. Intended as a document of contemporary history, “Fluchtwege” is also a fundraising tool; the net proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the organizations Flüchtlingsprojekt Ute Bock and Train of Hope.
1982 in Leoben, Austria, lives and works in Vienna, Austria
The autumn of 2015 was an interesting time. After Germany opened its borders, entrenched paradigms went overboard; human kindness suddenly came into view, though certain structures in society were also dragged out into the spotlight, and in a flash, half a country went to work for the good cause. The “Refugees Welcome” movement and its culture of receiving refugees with open hearts dominated the media—and the public discourse. The photographs in Fluchtwege were taken with the aspiration to show a certain aesthetic of the transcontinental migrant movement. Rather than mass scenes—dramatic
Fluchtwege (Escapes), 2015 book, 240 pages, consistently illustrated, colour photographs, pigment prints top right: On October 26, 2015, the Austrian National Day, refugees at the Spielfeld border crossing wait to be permitted to enter Austria. top left: Refugees passing through Breitenfurt find temporary shelter in the local rectory. down: A lone mattress at the Ferry Dusika multifunctional stadium, Vienna.
Fluchtwege (Escapes), 2015 book, 240 pages, consistently illustrated, colour photographs, pigment prints top left: Biscuits and rolls are the only food many refugees who have made it across the Balkans can keep down. bottom left: Mobile phones are the most important means of communication. A public debate has simmered over whether someone who has a cell phone can be a legitimate war refugeeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and whether refugees should be allowed to have cell phones. top right: Donated food in the Caritas storage hall at Westbahnhof railway station, Vienna. botton right: A young refugee outside his parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and his shelter, Ferry Dusika multifunctional stadium, Vienna.
We live and work very close to the agency where all the people arriving in Berlin have to register first. Thousands are waiting outside the building, to be called up by number. Some of them wait for more than 30days. Our studio is situated in a house where refugees can get clothes and food. The public parks nearby are full of tents and mattresses. Streets around my area have changed a great deal. When I first started to take pictures in front of the registration office, I had the opportunity to talk with refugees from various countries. Getting an increasingly genuine sense of their situation made mereflect on my own existence as an artist. Looking at my photos, I would like to see people who have arrived, but in fact I see people waiting in a dusty, trampled down no-man’s-land and I realise that their arrival is far from being accepted. The situation is precarious. Every day, new journalists and photographers come along. The refugees are totally exposed.
Some of them try to hide their faces behind scarves and hoods. I have often heard them say “This is not a good picture!” which is true when an inevitably undignified behaviour is captured under these extraordinary circumstances. Taking my photo-documentation as a starting point, I felt the need for a more affective picture of arrival, an imagery that is both respectful and strong enough to express disparate emotions. The conflict is about a natural habitat that has to be shared. This new place for refugees to live in has to be found now, but it is not yet in sight. This undefined space is abstract and causes unease on allsides. Looking for a concrete image for this space, I came across historical photos (ca. 1929) of a building near Bremen. Interior photos of a splendidly furnished house with one hundred rooms – totally devoid of people! After the original owner’s wool-company went bankrupt, the house was converted into a rest home for moth-
ers, then used as British officers’ mess, a hospital, a refugee hostel and finally a rehab-clinic. Today, the building is offered for sale on the internet. The metaphoric ambiguity of a house between being a refuge, a place to live, an intimate situation or even a cultural monument somehow seems apposite. In this house, arrival is both very close and far away. Seen from another perspective, the old things receive new meaning and our unaffected world loses its sense of protection. Initially, it isn’t important to know that these images show refugees. My point is the strange and quiet atmosphere surrounding these people who sat down in these interiors for a brief moment. Although this is a meeting of two extremes, I hope that I have managed to create a calm or passive mood which enables an unbiased contemplation of the images.
1968 in Tukuyu, Tanzania, lives and works in Germany since 2008
Jens Ulrich Refugees In A State Apartment
Choucha: a refugee camp located in Tunisia, 5 kilometers from the border post with Libya and about twenty kilometers from the city of Ben Guerdane. Founded in February 2011, several hundred thousand refugees were in transit there during the Libyan civil war and the NATO attacks. While Libyan refugees are welcomed into Tunisian families and settle temporarily in Tunis or in the camp of Remada, the refugees of Sub-Saharan origin go to Choucha. I first went there in January 2012, to accompany a reporter. Confronted with the rules of short-term reporting, I had to cope with the complex reality of the camp and with my own difficulties to render an image. I then decided to return in July 2012 so as to start a photography and video documentary project. Excerpt from a text of Samuel Gratacap in collaboration with Léa Bismuth. 1982 in Pessac, France, lives and works in Paris, France, and Tunis, Tunisia
Samuel Gratacap Empire
Empire, Coucha refugee camp, 2012-2014 prints on aluminum-dibond, various sizes Courtesy: Galerie les filles du Calvaire, Paris
â&#x20AC;&#x201D;169 Empire, Coucha refugee camp, 2012-2014 prints on aluminum-dibond, various sizes Courtesy: Galerie les filles du Calvaire, Paris
Tanja Boukal Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy)
of equality and friendship as well as the embrace of people whose beliefs seem different from our own, the poem attests to Europe’s grandiose self-image. In time-consuming delicate manual labor—a typical characteristic of her art—Boukal knitted the first and third stanzas into a blanket made of pure cashmere wool, trimmed with an edge of knitted barbed wire. In Melilla, she asked refugees on both sides of the border for permission to take their photographs as they wrapped themselves in the blanket. The resulting remarkable pictures of individuals, families, and friends show them interacting with the garment and stepping outside the passive role in which the media often cast refugees. The sitters emerge from the anonymous mass of migrants as unique human beings; cloaked in Europe’s ideals, they face us with confidence and dignity.
1976 in Vienna, Austria, lives and works in Vienna
For the past several years, Tanja Boukal has dedicated her art to an exploration of the situation of refugees in Europe and along its external borders. One important scene is the Spanish exclave Melilla on the Moroccan coast: the town with its 85.000 residents is completely surrounded by a seven-mile six-to-eight-meter-tall barbed-wire fence guarded by police and soldiers to prevent refugees from crossing the border. Around 30,000 people, the majority of them from Sub-Saharan Africa and Syria, are currently waiting outside the fence for an opportunity to enter the city en route to Europe. During two research stays, Boukal conducted numerous interviews with residents, migrants, and their helpers and held workshops in the refugee camp. Beethoven’s setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy” in the fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony is the basis of the European anthem. Limning the classical ideal of the free human being,
Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy), 2014 1 blanket, cashmere, 150 × 190 cm, 40 b/w photographs, 45 × 30 cm each
Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy), 2014 1 blanket, cashmere, 150 × 190 cm, 40 b/w photographs, 45 × 30 cm each
Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy), 2014 1 blanket, cashmere, 150 × 190 cm, 40 b/w photographs, 45 × 30 cm each
Leila Alaoui Crossings
1982 in Paris, France, lived and worked between Lebanon and Morocco, died January 18, 2016
Leila Alaoui was a French-Moroccan photographer and video artist whose experiences across different cultural and geographic environments inform her critical and creative practice. She, was injured during the Ouagadougou attacks while working on an assignment with Amnesty International. On January 18th 2016 she passed away from her injuries, she was 33. Crossings is a three-screen video installation exploring the experience of sub-Saharan migrants who embark on the perilous journey to reach the elusive European shores. The installation combines voiceovers and static portraits with reconstructed video landscapes filmed from the imaginary viewpoint of the migrants. It is an immersive experience into the collective memory of a forgotten minority.
ATHENS City of Athens Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports Benaki Museum Athens Photo Festival Hellenic Centre for Photography curators: Stavros Moresopoulos, Manolis Moresopoulos
HELLENIC CENTRE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
BERLIN City of Berlin EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography 2016 is a collaboration between Berlin photo institutions and Kulturprjoekte Brerlin EMOP Opening Days curated by C/O Berlin Stephan Erfurt CEO C/O Berlin Foundation Moritz van Dülmen EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography Tim Renner Permanent Sectretary for Cultural Affairs
BRATISLAVA City of Bratislava Central European House of Photography Vaclav Macek EMOP Bratislava – European Month of Photography Bohuka Koklesová co-curator of Looking for the Clouds
BUDAPEST Association of Hungarian Photographers Péter Baki president of Association of Hungarian Photographers Gabriella Uhl co-curator of Looking for the Clouds
LJUBLJANA Miha Colner and Dejan Sluga curators of Photon – Centre for Contemporary Photography and Month Photography, Ljubljana
LUXEMBOURG Café Crème asbl, Paul di Felice, Pierre Stiwer, Directors Luxembourg City: Lydie Polfer, City Mayor, Christiane Sietzen, Chief executive of Cultural Affairs, Danièle Wagner, Director of Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg, Gabriele D. Grawe, Curator of Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg, Anouk Wies, Coordinator of Cercle Cité Luxembourg: Guy Arendt, Secretary of State for Culture, Michel Polfer, Director of Musée national d’histoire et d’art, Gosia Nowara, Chief curator of Musée national d’histoire et d’art, Gilles Zeimet, Scientific assistant of Musée national d’histoire et d’art, Enrico Lunghi, Director of MUDAM, Christoph Gallois, Curator of MUDAM, Kevin Muhlen, Director of Casino Luxembourg, Forum d’art contemporain, Jo Kox, President of FOCUNA
PARIS City of Paris Jean-Luc Monterosso director of Maison Européenne de la Photographie Jean-Luc Soret co-curator of Looking for the Clouds
VIENNA Mr Michael Häupl Mayor and Governor of Vienna Andreas Mailath-Pokorny Executive City Councillor for Cultural Affairs, Science and Sports Anita Zemlyak Head of the Department for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna Eyes On – Month of Photography Vienna MUSA Museum Startgalerie Artothek Wien Kultur Embassy of Luxembourg in Vienna EYES ON – MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY VIENNA Thomas Licek – Managing Director Michaela Obermair – Co-Director Doris Bauer, Katharina Fröschl-Roßboth – Project Managers DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURAL AFFAIRS OF THE CITY OF VIENNA Gunda Achleitner & Berthold Ecker
PUBLISHED BY EMoP asbl www.europeanmonthofphotography.com MANAGING EDITORS Pierre Stiwer Gabriella Uhl LANGUAGE EDITING Donald Spatz GRAPHIC DESIGN Virág Bogyó & Zoltán Szmolka PRINTING AND BINDING Keskeny Printing House, Budapest (HU) www.nyomda-online.hu Photographs © The artists unless otherwise stated Texts © The authors Printed in Hungary, 2016 ISBN 978-99959-891-1-8 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. On the cover: Aida Silvestri, Even This Will Pass © Aida Silvestri