Just like its partner projects – the Fotograf Gallery and Fotograf Magazine – the Fotograf Festival explores intersections in photography and contemporary art. This sixth year of the Festival focuses on the reciprocal effects of the concepts ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ and, over the course of October, it will present solo as well as group exhibitions prepared in cooperation with various Prague galleries. The Festival covers a wide range of events that go beyond the medium of photography, including community projects, performances, discussions, walks, and get-togethers outside of the established exhibition spaces.
Set against the background of increasingly greater global threats, interdisciplinary discussions that try to define the pressing topics of the Anthropocene and possible scenarios for the future become even more critically associated with our daily actions, including those in our personal lives. Artists have a tendency to accept this challenge even in those contexts where scientists, politicians, environmentalists, and other specialists tend to maintain a certain distance.
The Anthropocene is defined as the geological epoch of our present, arising from the consequences of those human activities that alter the Earth’s surface. After the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in Paris last year, which defined a common goal of gradually decreasing worldwide emission levels over the next five years, and based on the available bits of information regarding the contents of the Transatlantic Agreement, which supports the reverse of local and ecological farming, it is impossible not to feel helpless. With all of these burdens placed on our consciousness, we are interested in exploring how culture uses photography and the creative arts to relate to the surrounding environment.
The sixth year of the Fotograf Festival does not place primary focus on fulfilling the committed requirements for environmental art that have been gradually established since the last quarter of the 20th century, but rather on reviewing them and seeking new definitions through dialogue and sharing. Our aim is to introduce new perspectives regarding this dynamically developing discourse, and to map out the shifts in thinking that have been introduced at the start of the new millennium into the strongly politicised relationship between humankind and nature, not only in the fields of ecology and the natural sciences, but also and primarily in the arts and humanities, particularly anthropology and philosophy. One of the strongest programme themes of the festival is humankind’s relationship and approach to the planet Earth and the need to survive within a system that is driven by the political and economic interests of corporations and individuals. We will examine this framework through photographs and the visual arts. We do not wish to organise a festival that will fulfil expectations, but rather a programme which, in the way it is conceived, will make it possible to legitimise emotions that are full of contradictions – perhaps even annoyance and a feeling of doom, possibly even hope and the awareness that there needs to be a change.