2020 Projections for the 16th Angkor Photo Festival
even though the whole world is burning
Guest Curators: Dennese Victoria (Philippines) and Swastik Pal (India)
We were not able to bring him here, but someone from among the many we had met through this open call sent us photographs of his brother’s long-awaited wedding. I don’t know why, but I had never forgotten this. Nor had I forgotten that he had never seen snow in his life.
Perhaps, or because he wrote that it was the most beautiful wedding he had witnessed in his life, something in me wanted to remember the sincere conviction of a young man believing his brother’s happiness must be seen by many, that his own happiness must become part of a festival.
We began the work of forming this selection by asking what has brought us here - why we’re still here, and why we take others along. We didn’t know what we were looking for but when the pieces came together, the picture that was looking back at us could not help but direct us to presence and to contact.
We were drawn to and missed people. We needed our faith in contact restored. We needed to regain trust in meeting, trust in our effects on each other, and in what we still have and can still bring.
We favoured work where we felt the photographer as human, as someone really engaging with people; less interested in projects maybe, but favour for feeling, fragility and tenderness, in attempts to come close and repair.
We could not look away from all that was burning, we could not deny fear, but we needed to know that there are places where it is still safe. We needed to know where to bring each other after the fires.
We connected to work, connected to artists whom we felt were still listening to the unfolding of the stories they were telling, or were at least open to being asked again. The feeling of a certain belonging, to one’s own body, within one’s home, within one’s community, and the innocence of the craft, which very often might not be so trendy, drew us.
In a way these works introspect the world they reside in, the world of the things they can still touch; works which try to establish empathetic conversations around their relations, and tend to look after each other as some sort of utopian community.
Be it tender personal work, or a poetic visual introspection into rapid urbanisation and loss of ethnic communities, loss of what was once held as true, the common thread has been the will to pause, reflect and converse. To be present long enough to feel, to come back, or to grieve the inability to do so.
Atikah Zata, Indonesia
Times Like These
Bindi Sheth, India
Sandra Hoyn, Germany
Aurelia´s Last 26 Days
There are some things from which this begins. First i wanted to talk, I wanted to say, tell me where you’ve been.
I wanted to set a table. I wanted to draw a circle. I want to know who will appear.
When we gather to look at photographs and call it a festival, when we say some things must be witnessed and given space, I want to know who we’re still talking to, who is still listening, and if the whole world is burning, why we’re still here.
Why do we keep coming back? If to photograph is built on taking things, what do we still have? What are we still carrying with us?
The call is open, there is no theme. It is an invitation for anyone, anywhere in the world who is working, wrestling, with photographs, with pictures, with images, with this impulse of leaving, seeking, finding, weaving and returning only to set off again. It is open to anyone who suspects that there must still be something here that is pulsing, that is alive, or at least refusing to die.
What have you been looking at? What have you seen? Rephrasing James Baldwin, who are you? And then he continues, or by which he asks, who do you suspect we all are?
Nilargha Chatterjee, India
Metamorphosis of an Ancient Identity