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Image credit Beauty and the Aging Body © Suzy Lake

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PublishedDecember 7, 2017 at 02:04pm
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Lianzhou Foto Festival

Your Selfie Stick (and you)Lianzhou Foto, Photography, Lianzhou, China
Saturday December 2, 2017 - Tuesday January 2, 2018 - Event ended.

We live in a digital culture that has completely transformed our visual habits. We witness and participate in the mass use of the “me” – previously reserved to but a few – because this staging is the only way to prevail in this world of visual competitiveness. However, when faced with this overexposure of images, we should ask ourselves where the creator of images is positioned.

Unknown - Image 10
© Bayeté Ross Smith (USA) 䯙 Taking AIM
Sailor, People's Heroes Monument, Beijing, 1979. © Albert Watson
Qilian Range-11, 2015. © Zhuang Hui
Nameless © Ao Guoxing
Beauty and the Aging Body © Suzy Lake
Coins (Girl in Deep Thought) © Chen Wei
Karcezeby © Adam Panczuk
Ancestral Hall © Wu Dengcai
高天厚土 © Jiang Zhenqing
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Previously, the photographer went out to capture reality in his surroundings; nowadays, many decide to dive into the network and, from therein, build their documentary fictions. This fertile and seemingly inexhaustible mesh, as well as being accessible to all, is another instrument that allows us to make visible certain situations. The difference resides in the degree of manipulation of those elements taken from Internet, in a different order than the established one. Small disruptions, slight signs and gaps, allow us to denounce certain positioning and encourage questions, although those same disruptions are warning signs that the lines have been completely erased, that there is no private and public anymore, no true or false; everything is part of the whole.

In this era of democratization of images, social networks and their power to communicate are playing an essential role. The presence of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram has not only transformed our method of communicating, but has also propelled the possibility of modifying the imaginary that we have as regards a whole continent or a whole country. These are tools available to any and everyone, with no distinctions as regards gender, race, social or cultural standing. And that allow us to open doors, give voices and, even more importantly, empower.
© Bayeté Ross Smith (USA) 䯙 Taking AIM

© Bayeté Ross Smith (USA) 䯙 Taking AIM.

By means of these artifacts, or in reference to them, contemporary creators manufacture their own, diverse stories, but with a common and shared tone of criticism. The analysis and calling into question of the author himself, of the time and world in which he lives, as well as questioning the photographic medium itself, are the fundamental premises to start any project. Therefore, we are not discovering new stories or situations, but rather looking at them from a different viewpoint as we reconstruct the re-appearance of the same.

The questions that arise do not do so in a propagandistic or rhetorical manner. To the contrary, current photographers – aware of their responsibility not to present a totalizing tale – opt for the use of multiple strategies. A fixed, isolated image is not enough; it needs to be accompanied, it always needs another layer.

The use of text is fundamental. Words do not replace images, they are images, visible shapes that contribute another required element to the ensemble. Design is another strategy that is used as another layer. The linear repetition of the same sign emphasizes the criticism towards the hyper-reality of the era in which we live, contaminating the landscapes in which we exist and which we no longer know how to look at. On other occasions, it helps us to perceive the control imposed on our societies and the obtainment of information without our consent. In this digital era, the human hand, with its nuances and originality, facing off against the machine and mathematical formulas, attempts to contribute fragility and evanescence with means such as drawing, painting or collage. Resorting to irony and satire – always from a standpoint of humility – can aid us to see the absolute need to laugh at ourselves. The staging of all these heterogeneous details is accompanied by a fierce desire: that of activating something in the spectator, and that the “click” be freeing.

By means of the photographic act, desacralized and heterogeneous, an ensemble of fragments of intense poetic fragility comes together. The use of images taken from or through screens, and the instant transmission of banal images accompanied by other elements, is a strategy used to outline the vulnerability of the world that surrounds us as well as the need to affirm one’s presence and inscribe oneself in the community. The goal being to transition from “me” to “us”.
Ancestral Hall © Wu Dengcai

Ancestral Hall © Wu Dengcai.

In this manner, the photographer joins the ranks of those wishing to share. Images are not just for oneself, they are not only in the hands of the photographer. The spectator is another vessel, because the message is circulating, it is propelled to make the system dynamic. And so everyone becomes the subject. It is not about lifting the stick to oneself, but rather about awakening the “and you”, with the desire to move towards the other.

Thematic Exhibition Carlos París (Venezuela), Heba Khalifa (Egypt), Óscar Monzón (Spain), Jacob Burge (UK), Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Mark Page (UK), Nación Rotonda (Spain), Yuki Naito (Japan), Bayeté Ross Smith (USA), Wendell White (USA), Amalia Ulman (Argentina), Ye Funa (China), Lei Benben (China), Huang Guaier + Wang Runzhong (China), #Everyday Africa (Africa)

Group exhibition (From Conceptualism to Documentation – Six Contemporary Latin American Artists) Fabio del Re (Brazil), Pablo Piovani (Argentina), René Pena (Cuba), Lisdertus aka Luis Delgado (Mexico/USA), Sebastián Szyd (Argentina), Eustaquio Neves (Brazil)

Special exhibition Issei Suda (Japan), Masato Seto (Japan), Enari Tsuneo (Japan)

Solo exhibition Reagan Louie (USA), Suzy Lake (Canada), Shinya Arimoto (Japan), Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger (Switzerland), Kurt Tong (Hongkong), Sara Angelucci (Canada), Daniel Traub (USA), Adam Panczuk (Poland), Masamich Kagaya (Japan), Akihito Yoshida (Japan), Yan Ming (China), Murong Tuoxie (China), Ao Guoxing (China), Xu Peiwu (China), Jiang Zhenqing (China), Yang Tiejun (China), Teng Fei, Li Lin (China), Li Ming (China), Wu Dengcai (China), Bo Shang (China), Cai Xiaochuan (China), Du Zi (China), Ni Weihua (China), Tang Haowu (China), Dragon Zheng (China), Liu Yujia (China), Chen Min (China), Zhou Mengting (China)


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