Ludovic Balland, Paula Bulling/Anne König, Christiane Eisler/Silke Geister, Forensic Architecture, Nicolas Giraud/Bertrand Stofleth, Matthias Hoch, Jonathan Horowitz, Susanne Kriemann, Harald Kirschner, Alexander Kluge, Ferdinand Kriwet, Ute Mahler, Emanuel Mathias, Anastasia Potemkina, Andreas Rost, Miklós Klaus Rózsa, Erich Salomon, Christoph Schäfer, Andrzej Steinbach, Bertrand Stofleth, Steffen Zillig, a.o.
More and more often elections and referendums lead to a result that is little more than a stalemate: from the Brexit to the presidential election in the US to the slow and tedious formation of a coalition government in Germany. The positions held by the competing political groups are often so entrenched that mediation seems virtually impossible: Broken Bonds. New forms of digital communication and increasing social segregation lead to life in a kind of “personal bubble”. Algorithms serve to reinforce one’s own views, as they show and suggest items in tune with things one has already “liked”. Something essential to any modern society is lost: diversity—and the necessity of continual communicative exchange.
How can photography draw our attention to general societal dynamics that are not always easy to come to terms with? In what ways can it now be a medium of democracy and societal communication? How can mediation and communication processes be documented by means of photography? These are the questions that the 8th Festival for Photography f/stop addresses with a range of exhibitions at the Baumwollspinnerei and other venues in Leipzig. With a project that examines the year 1990 we show how photography can serve as a means to revisit and remember historical periods and to initiate and advance a process of societal dialogue. The festival places equal emphasis on the medium of drawing. As a counterpart and corrective to photography drawing is now again assuming increasing importance.
The main exhibition in Halle 12 shows works by international artists that examine long-term societal developments that affect everyday life. One example is the work “La Vallée” (2013 – 2018) by Nicolas Giraud and Bertrand Stofleth, a long-term photographic project that documents the decline of the oldest industrial region in France—the area between the cities of Lyon and Saint-Étienne. In a similar manner Susanne Kriemann explores the landscape of the Erzgebirge on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic after uranium mining operations there came to an end. William Faulkner’s adage “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” suggests that what we call history is in reality the radiological discharges of society. Many lines of past conflict thus appear to be especially active, radiating into the present, with enough energy to last far into the future.
In exploring the high frequency communication of ideas and the continual disruption of this communication now typical of the mass media, many works in the exhibition focus on the “afterlife” of momentary events and their long-term effects. For his work “American Readers at Home” the Swiss photographer, book designer, and photographer Ludovic Balland travelled through the United States leading up to the election in 2016 and asked citizens what they recall from the news items of the previous day.
Paula Bulling/Anne König, Christiane Eisler/Silke Geister, Forensic Architecture, Nicolas Giraud/Bertrand Stofleth, Matthias Hoch, Susanne Kriemann, Harald Kirschner, Alexander Kluge, Emanuel Mathias, Anastasia Potemkina, Andreas Rost, Miklós Klaus Rózsa, Erich Salomon, Christoph Schäfer, Andrzej Steinbach, Steffen Zillig a.o.
Ludovic Balland, Jonathan Horowitz, Ferdinand Kriwet
Ludwig Kuffer, Andreas Langfeld, Elisabeth Neudörfl, Timm Rautert