Mediterranea Youth Photo: An interview to three protagonists of the Festivals involved

@Valentina D’Accardi_Fiume

Fotografia Europea” is an international festival, launched in 2006 by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, that has developed a specific project dedicated to under 35 Italian photographers – Giovane Fotografia Italiana – in partnership with GAI, the italian network for young artists. Considering the necessity to tackle the issues of the Mediterranean area, Fotografia Europea and BJCEM have conceived “Mediterranea Youth Photo”, an international photography production project that will involve two international festivals: Circulation(s) in Paris (FRA) and Encontros Da Imagem in Braga (PR).

We have asked some questions to three protagonists of the Festivals involved: Ms. Ângela Ferreira, Artistic Director of Encontros da Imagem; Mr. Daniele De Luigi, Curator of “Giovane Fotografia Italiana” and Ms. Carine Dolek, co-founder and member of the artistic board of Circulation(s).

It is the first time that BJCEM collaborate with your three Festivals: Fotografia Europea, Circulation(s) and Encontros Da Imagem. We would like to know more about them, in particular:

  • According to your experience, what are the main tendencies and future developments at local and international level in the field of contemporary photography?
  • Could you give us some general information about the Festival you are curating: what are the main topic(s) tackled by 2016 edition? When&where it will be organized?

Ms. Ângela Ferreira, Artistic Director of Encontros da Imagem

Encontros da Imagem Festival is based in Portugal and over the twenty-six editions, during the month of September, Encontros da Imagem occupies many historic buildings, museums and galleries in the old city of Braga.
At a time of great euphoria in the creation of images, the festival’s intends to create and promote reflections on art and contemporary culture. The alchemy of every edition is based in a kaleidoscope-program, which seeks a combining game between the multiple exhibitions and activities, in a universe full of tension, challenges and a movement of great meetings with photography agents.
The Portuguese festival is based in the old and roman city of Braga, in the north of Portugal and is a annual event organized by the Cultural Association Encontros da Imagem since 1987. The last 3 editions the Festival built a trilogy thematic approach under the themes: Love & Family, Hope & Faith, Power & Illusion. Also in recent editions, the Festival has been taking back the concept of public art galleries, and every year organizes an intense period with actions as exhibitions, open calls, photography prize, photo-book market, call for books, book fair, portfolio review, projections nights and concerts. Its an intense opening week, full of emotions and meetings that represents the starting point of the festival with  a duration of one month and a half.

EI_2016Encontros da Imagem 2016 edition in already in preparation, and it will happens from 20 September until november 5th and the opening week will take place 20 to 25 september. This year, the Festival aims to analyze, through various angles, the dialogue of contemporary artists involved in a social environment of constant change and revelations. In this edition, artists, photographers and curators will be invited to explore the theme of Happiness (Memory, Changes and revelations) in its multiple readings, under the teaser “HAPPINESS, a Place in the sun”. Built on a set of representations involving the symbolic, cultural and social aspect of contemporary identities, this edition launches clues to some of the most relevant issues related to the pursuit of happiness in a hyper – troubled time, allowing to predict a structural dimension of a new world of constant change and transformation.

Mr. Daniele De Luigi, Curator of “Giovane Fotografia Italiana”

Photography in the field of contemporary visual arts is experiencing a very fertile time, characterized by widespread diffusion, large public attention and artists’ desire for experimentation. At the same time we detect a tendency to fragmentation: until a little time ago photography was something well-defined, with its own frame of reference, but nowadays processes are happening of hybridization between different types of images, exchanges between traditional and new media, contaminations of genres. I would say that this is actually the main trend: different ways of conceiving photography and different functions for it survive, but in the creative and artistic field, rather than a coexistence there is a great desire for a playful approach to discover new tools for understanding and communicating reality.

logo-senza-data-alto-200Fotografia Europea festival was founded 10 years ago in Reggio Emilia. This year’s edition, opening on 6th May and curated by Diane Dufour, Elio Grazioli and Walter Guadagnini, is titled “The Via Emilia. Roads, journeys, borders” and celebrates 30 years from the seminal exhibition “Esplorazioni sulla via Emilia”, a project that brought together photography, literature, music and film under the common theme of this historic road, interpreted through a plurality of approaches and readings. The festival takes its cue from the countless suggestions offered by that exhibit and the books associated with it, to start a reflection by images on both the Via Emilia itself and on the concepts and issues relating to roads, transit points and border areas.

Ms. Carine Dolek, Co-founder and member of the Artistic Board of Circulation(s)

We have the chance to live today a real revolution of not only photography, but also on the creation of signs and communication. And we experiment it from Europe, which is also living a lot of changes, struggling to stay united and also showing its limits. Today, photography is a communication tool, used not only to express art and ideas, but also for the everyday communication. Everybody has a camera in its hands. Everybody can make pictures, and express themselves through it. Photography is everywhere, more than ever. Today, photography is a field where you have to cooperate and adapt, create together, give impulse to dynamics. You can start in young or old age, you can study it in a school or not, show your works online or exhibit them half a world away, cooperate with journalists, artists, curators, artistic directors, editors. Photography is the ideal field for freedom, at a personal, local and international level.

festival-circulation-s-festival-de-la-je-p04rAfter the incredible success of the 2015 edition at the CENQUATRE-PARIS with more than 47000 visitors, the Circulation(s) festival lasts now three months as a central exhibition of the CENTQUATRE-PARIS, from March 26th till June 26th 2016. Dedicated to young European photography, the Circulation(s) festival offers for the sixth consecutive year a crossed perspective of Europe through photography. Its aim is to help the talents of young European photographs to become visible and to allow their contemporary and artistic creations to be discovered. The program is articulated around a selection from a jury out of an international call for applications, of guests (an art gallery and an art school) and a carte blanche of this edition’s sponsor, agnès b. The exhibition, having succeeded to assemble 51 European photographers, has decided to open this success once again to Little Circulation(s), a children’s exhibition, with a program and activities for a young audience.

Considering the necessity to tackle the issues of the Mediterranean area, Fotografia Europea and BJCEM have conceived “Mediterranea Youth Photo”, an international photography production project that will involve the three Festivals. Three selected artists (one from France, one from Italy and one from Portugal) will have the opportunity to participate to itinerant residencies in the three countries in the summer/autumn of 2016 and we would like to know:

  • What are your expectations about this project?
  • How is your vision on the issue tackled by the project, that is to say the Mediterranean Sea, a controversial zone that sometimes is felt as a cultural basin that connects people, and some other an impossible limit to overcome? What can be the contribution of photography in the actual context? How do you imagine that photography can help the audience to reflect and become more aware on the recent complex situation in the area?

Ms. Ângela Ferreira, Artistic Director of Encontros da Imagem

The Festival Encontros da Imagem always promoted an interchange with European partners, either artists or institutions. On that basis, the organization has been acquiring an international recognized merit. Artists, museum directors, galleries, festivals and various institutions have been actively participating in every edition and benefiting from a platform which has generated an enriched interchange of projects.

It means a lot for us, the creation of bridges with the world and to express the power of photography. Encontros da Imagem Festival highlight with a singular emphasis, the extended partnership with “European Photography” Festival, whose platform can add an extraordinary value to the Photography of emerging authors, and also the strong partnership with “Circulations, Festival de la Jeune Photographie Européenne”.

We face the Mediterranea Youth Photo, a great opportunity to express the power of the image and inspires us to portray this times of great turning to photography, by the desire of capturing the world and, at the same time to analyze urgent questions, questioning the representation of the controversial zone of Mediterranean Sea.

This interchange can contribute to express the boundaries of seeing, giving a focuses on the authors’ visual sensations and impressions to trace a fragmentary vision of this infinite theme. Mediterranea Youth Photo can express the multiple artists here reunited explore, itself representing a sign of the richness and the diversity that the different cultures engender, turn this selection into a revealing experience of the act of believing.

Through this project we expect to build a communication channel and a knowledge exchange between the 3 involved countries, through photography, sharing experiences and contributes to this social question. Considering this ambition, we believe to be contributing not only for the reflection of this complex question, but also participating on a consolidated basis for the promotion of artists, which represents a great opportunity to generate co-production strategies and the exhibitions roving. By this project, it will be possible to travel around the multiple visions from the different authors, through powerful and innovative ways.

Mr. Daniele De Luigi, Curator of “Giovane Fotografia Italiana”

Expectations mainly concern the chance of throwing seeds of intercultural dialogue, therefore aimed not only at the artists who will be selected but to everyone involved in the project – as well, addressed not only to the outcomes of the residencies, but to the processes that they will power up. Europe is experiencing a very dangerous situation, where every day stronger prejudices towards ethnic and cultural diversity appear to grow and people tend to withdraw into themselves. The Mediterranean should be a virtual agora that people and ideas can freely cross but some want it to be the moat of a medieval fortress. To create situations for exchange and dialogue becomes a moral duty. It would be naive to believe that photography and art can actually change things, but whatever grain of sand in the drawbridge, to go on with the metaphor, will assume considerable importance. We know how media images have a key role in the crystallization of preconceived ideas: there is no doubt that contemporary photography today has among its tasks to make people think about the world from different perspectives.

Ms. Carine Dolek, Co-founder and member of the Artistic Board of Circulation(s)

First, the project will show how strong and efficient can be the link between cultural structures, and will also of course strengthen those links. Showing that we can all act and cooperate is an important symbol of the very cultural idea of Europe we support through our three festivals. And of course, the second expectation is that it will allow artists to collaborate in that virtuous dynamic we spent years to build. As it is exactly one of the reason of the creation of Circulation(s), this expectation is already an accomplishment.

The Mediterranean space has always linked and separated, all in once, East and West, North and South, Old Continent Europe, Middle East and North Africa, the rich, the poor, the old countries, the young ones… but is also the nest of our civilization. Unfortunately (but also fortunately, because that is what built Europe) what is happening now, wars and migrations, has already happened hundreds of times. People, boundaries, civilizations, laws, it all happened and is still happening and will happen again. But today, with this kind of project, we can document it, think about it, transform it, help the collective conscience to get it, whatever the complexity of the whole picture, art and photography can go and express it, so that anyone can see and understand.

Francesca Serotti and Carlotta Zarattini_Unknown project

BJCEM is supported by:

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