Article by Alena Sokhan // Oct. 17, 2014
“Upheavals and Utopias: The Other Europe” is the theme for this year’s European Month of Photography Berlin, which makes its 6th appearance in the city. From Oct. 16 to Nov. 16 2014, participating establishments in the city will be showing exhibitions that concern themselves with tracing fractures and boundaries, exploring the Europe that is revealed, constructed, and challenged with the photographic apparatus.
The festival uses photography to ask whether and how we can see a coherent reality and how we shape our dreams of the future after a exhaustingly heterogenous century of experiences, illusions, spectacles, war, depression, peace, utopias, and achievements. Five sub-themes outline the various ways in which participating exhibitions approach the multifaceted question.
Historical Encounters is a series of exhibitions that considers images of the past to create a relation to the present, bridging and materializing historical ruptures and continuities. Looking at everything from propaganda to surveillance recordings, to portraits of important figures, the exhibitions in this category reveal how Europe has historically used photography as a tool for constructing itself and what that image looks like.
Social Changes looks at photography as a mass medium that is paradoxically conducive to both fashion and revolution, looking at how images affect change in culture and how content is affected in the process of popularization. Social Changes looks at images that resonate through cultures and why they do so, problematizing notions of repetition and change.
Using the photograph as an irrevocable trace of a body in a singular moment, Social Portraits explores the power dynamics and post-colonial implications of the photograph. The exhibitions included in this group make visible the political forces that construct the photographed subject and shape his/her performance as such.
Vision and Existence uses photographic technology to extend reality into fantasy, functioning as a prosthesis to the imagination. Looking at the sacred and the profane, strangers, masquerades, visions, and traces, exhibitions of the Vision and Existence theme explore the phantom-fantasy world of the photograph.
The last theme, International Experiences looks into the cracks of Europe: the strange and the remote, the marginal and the unseen. As an indexical trace, photography is able to construct meaningful international communication of difference, without abstracting unique beings into the incomprehensible “other”.
EUROPEAN MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY BERLIN
“Upheavals and Utopias: The Other Europe” – PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL
Exhibition: Oct. 16 – Nov. 16, 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, Oct. 16; 7pm