Пра фестываль 2020

The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK is a yearly festival dedicated to the analysis and interpretation of photographic medium from contemporary research perspective. Already for 7 years in a row, dozens of photographers, photocollectives and experts from Belarus and abroad have been taking part in various events held as a part of its program.

This year the team has decided to neither cancel nor postpone the festival sticking to the initial plan of making the exhibitions available to the public from 29 September to 27 November 2020 with the main one located at the front yard of Minsk Culture Center «Korpus». 8 projects of Belarusian and foreign photographers are going to be displayed there in open-air format.

Every year, the central exposition of The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK focuses on one topic. In 2019 it was the concept of history, in 2018 – the issue of jubilee, in 2017 and 2016 – collectivization and the opposition between center and periphery, respectively. This year the team proposes the festival’s guests to reflect on the problem of survival. We have decided not to abandon our original idea of approaching it through a set of projects that deal with the world ecological catastrophes, however, under the recent circumstances, the very act of addressing this problem seems to be opening new ways of interpretation. Yes, our survival is still closely connected with building a wise long-term strategy of interacting with the environment, but survival also turns out to result from responsible decisions and efforts made by each of us, our ability to care and support each other in difficult conditions, heading together towards the common goal of a better tomorrow.

«It feels like we are all now at some kind of new reality that is being formed right before our eyes. The feeling of security, the freedom of movement, freedom from fear – everything that we have got used to and for which we have just begun to fight, is disappearing. It’s time to reflect on this together,»Vera Fedotova, the curator of this year’s main exhibition, Master of Arts, comments on the choice of topic.

Each of The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK-2020 projects addresses the problem of survival in its own way approaching it from the perspective of anthropocentrism and its destructive consequences. The central exposition features three projects made by two Belarusian authors: «Aqua» by a young Belarusian photographer Rita Novikova and two projects by eco-activist Tatsiana Kuzniatsova – «Microplastic Everyday» and «CAMERA COVIDA, or a Virus that Doesn’t Exist».

Both Tatsiana’s series analyze the theme of the invisible at different levels: in the first one – on the material of collages of microscope images and products containing microplastics dangerous for both humans and the environment, in the second – through the parallels between the «invisibility» of danger and the unwillingness of the authorities to notice and solve the problems of vulnerable social groups. Rita Novikova’s project is made in the form of a series of self-portraits where she reflects on the theme of the relationship between a person and the environment that experiences the consequences of people’s aggressive intervention. Survival in «Aqua» is a complex, surreal layering of several realities – the declared and the real ones. Desired versus unattainable.

The French artist Marie Lukashewicz focuses on the problem of natural resources overconsumption, while the Polish researcher Alicja Wroblewska dwells on the future of coral reefs that are now in danger of getting destroyed and replaced by synthetic products. The project created by the tandem of Lena Dobrowolska and Teo Ormond-Skeaping also deals with the problem of globalization consequences – working with medium format film cameras they have approached the landscape of the Hindu Kush Himalaya, a region highly sensitive to climate change, to document phenomena associated with climate vulnerability, development and environmental degradation with the intention of  asking who the «Anthropos» is? Or who is the invisible agent in charge of the «Geohistory» that is the Anthropocene? What is the point of the Anthropocene?

Now it is clear that humanity, as a geological force, is responsible for the unprecedented heating of the planet and the sixth mass extinction. But are we all equally responsible?

Another aspect of environmental friendliness and dialogue between people and the environment is touched upon in Alina Frieske’s projects. The artist illustrates the role of photography in the formation of collective memory – she uses taxidermy images and a cabinet of curiosities to articulate questions about the objectivity of the «visible» and the mental ecology of the results of digital algorithms work.

Also, as a part of this year’s festival at the front yard of Minsk Culture Center «Korpus» «AEON», Marcel Rickli’s light installation is going to be mounted – a work that investigates «Hurd Deep I, II», an object located off the coast of Alderney Island, which in 1950-1963 served as a dumping ground for radioactive waste. Marcel reflects on the protection of future generations from highly radioactive waste continuously produced by nuclear power plants and poses dangers for many hundreds of thousands of years to come.

Another project shown during The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK-2020 has resulted from Françoise Huguier’s art residency in Minsk in 2020, the new series «Once upon a time there was a botanical garden» has been possible thanks to the support of the French Embassy.

Among other venues that have joined this year’s events there are «CONSERVA» Art-quarter (Brest) and «Pershy Krok by Mazyr» (Mozyr). At the Lyubki festival (Molodechno district) in the village of Krevo and in Count Tyshkevich’s estate The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK-2020 will present street exhibitions (photo-graffiti) made in collaboration with local residents.