Monday, 20 September 2010

FotoGrafia Festival Internazionale di Roma IX Edizione

24 september - 24 october 2010

This year’s International Photography Festival ("FotoGrafia") in Rome features important innovations: a new venue (the Testaccio branch of MACRO, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art), a new time of the year (September 23 to October 24), and a team of three curators working with Marco Delogu, the Festival’s artistic director: Marc Prust (for the photography and publishing section), Valentina Tanni (photography and new media) and Paul Wombell (photography and contemporary art).

The event is sponsored by the City of Rome’s Department of Cultural Policies and Communication – Cultural Heritage Superintendency with the support of Fondazione Roma and, starting this year, is produced by Zètema Progetto Cultura.

The theme of the ninth FotoGrafia Festival is Futurspectives, in other words, “Can photography interpret the future?”

This paradox is immediately evident in the work that Paul Wombell has done for “Bumpy Ride,” the show he’s curated for the Festival’s Photography and Contemporary Art section. We usually speak of photography in the past tense. Once a picture has been taken, it transports us backward in time, and in a way it becomes history. But some photographers are questioning this premise, creating images that look forward, not backward. These photographers work more like science-fiction writers, using the photographic process to imagine how the future might appear. “Bumpy Ride” brings together the works of contemporary photographers like Peter Bialobrzeski, Sonja Brass, Cedric Delsaux, Jill Greenberg, Ikka Halso, Mirko Martin and O Zhang, who use both digital and analog technology and are challenging our expectations about what we see in an image.

Another attempt to answer and interpret the same question is provided by Valentina Tanni’s research for the Photography and New Media section Photography and the new media meet in an eternal present; they’ve already met but are continuing to do so. That’s why the section of the Festival dedicated to this theme is making its debut with a show called “Maps and Legends,” a project whose goal is to map a territory that’s constantly evolving. A cartography in progress on the relations that photographic practice is establishing with the world of the Web: its culture, its language and its imagery. Alongside the maps are the legends – the set of signs – that the viewer needs to decipher them. And, most important, legends in the sense of myths and tales: everything that makes the Web a real place, endowed with history and culture. From animated gifs to photos shot in virtual worlds; from the images of Google Street Views to snapshots that change in real time, with the data flows, and on to the camera that captures time instead of space. Ten photographers – Marco Cadioli (Italy), Martijn Hendriks (Holland), Justin Kemp (U.S.A.), Jaime Martinez (Mexico), Filippo Minelli (Italy), Sascha Pohflepp (Germany), Jon Rafman (Canada), Phillip Toledano (U.S.A.), Harm Van den Dorpel (Holland) and Carlo Zanni (Italy) – for a show that tries to see into the future (or perhaps we should say into the continuous present) of photography.

Last but not least, the section on Photography and Publishing, curated by Marc Prust. As its title “Unpublished – Unknown” suggests, this show presents a selection of unpublished works. The question that underlies the curator’s investigation was: can one say that a photo exists if no one but the photographer has ever seen it? Can one speak of a second “decisive moment” after Henri Cartier Bresson’s, the moment when the photo is published? Rather than a show of unpublished works, this is a show of uncompleted works, because they still have to cross the hurdle of this second decisive moment: publication.

Rescheduled to open in September, the Festival becomes the first event in the international season. It will also host the debut of the European Photography Month’s new production, “Mutations 3 – Public Image, Private Views,” curated by Emiliano Paoletti. Among other things, this production will present Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruggen’s Sochi Project, a slowjournalism undertaking financed via the Web to document changes in the Russian region slated to host the Winter Olympics in 2014.

The Rome Commission, now in its eighth year, has been entrusted to Tod Papageorge, the great American photographer and originator of the Yale School, whose members include Gregory Crewdson and Philip Lorca di Corcia.

Starting this year, the Festival will benefit from the collaboration of MACRO, which confirms its mission as a multi-site image museum serving the Italian and international public. This squares with the choice to host the Festival at MACRO’s two pavilions at Testaccio, the branch devoted to large-scale events.

Besides the many changes, some important aspects of the Festival have been confirmed for this year too. A group of galleries will promote local artists and operators. The most important international academies and cultural institutes operating in Rome, including the American Academy, the French Academy at Villa Medici and the Royal Spanish Academy, will present projects created specifically for the Festival.
IILA FotoGrafia Prize for young South American photography will be awarded again this year, and “The Empire of the Sun,” a work on Rome by José Manuel Castrellón, who won the prize last year, will be presented. In addition, the Festival will host Giuliano Matteucci’s show “Ecclesia,” winner of the Baume & Mercier Prize.

MACRO Testaccio
Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4 – 00153 Rome
Open 4 p.m. to midnight every day except Mondays
info: tel.: +39 06 671070400