Fotograf Magazine

Fotograf Festival Opening Ceremony / Fotograf magazine #28 cultura / natura issue launch


7 pm Autumn opening at Small Hall of Veletržní Palace

8 pm Fotograf magazine #28 launch at the festival´s Reading room (NG Bookstore – Koenig Books)

We shall attempt to define the theme of the upcoming issue from its middle point, at the borderline between culture and nature, and in relation to how that borderline is rewritten, to the points of overlap sought between them, and to the strange constellations in which artificial things become natural and natural artificial. It is no accident that it is these constellations, these ‘blue flowers’ (the image Walter Benjamin uses in reference to the presence of immediate reality in the world of film), that become such rewarding photographic objects. The camera brings us closer to nature but at the same time distances us from it. The attempt to capture nature in the lens of the camera can then be likened to the desire to understand a wild animal by placing it in a zoo or to learn about rare trees by planting them in a park or an exotic flower by visiting a greenhouse in a botanical garden. The naturalness of nature only comes to the forefront once we have experience its opposite; as Derrida points out, the awareness of nakedness is essentially human – animals are naked without knowing it.

The urge to return to nature is indelibly linked to the pervasiveness of technology in our lives. All around us irreversible processes are going on that are driven by momentary needs instead of long-term considerations. What do contemporary art and photography have to say about this and how do they say it?

8:30 pm performance, premiere Doomdoom / Adam Vačkář

The performance takes a critical look at the concept of physicality as the ideal embodiment of globalized corporate production, which aims to promote the smooth and proper performance of the body – whose idealized images are the leitmotif of advertising for tennis shoes as well as soft drinks. This conflict between nature and consumer society determines the dancers’ movements and imbues them with a sense of ambivalence. Their bodies, “deadened” beneath a plastic sheet, resemble mutated Hollywood monsters. The audience finds itself in a post-human landscape in which the dancers move among the twisted remains of “plastotrees.” The mix of classical and noise music – references to the past and the future – amplifies the choreography’s metaphysical nature.

During the evening performance Stand Up Against Rockism / Sláva Sobotovičová

Sláva Sobotovičová’s musical collages possess a sophisticated sense of spontaneity and accentuate the critical potential of historical compositions as well as their relevance for the present day. Where collages in general are based on the contrast and juxtaposition of incongruous and inherently contradictory fragments, Sobotovičová’s audio performances surprise us with how harmoniously the live vocals cannibalize originally unrelated pop hits. By relativizing time and place, she emphasizes music’s social function. For Sobotovičová, one important quality of “low” culture is its easy availability, and through her appropriation she questions the autonomy of a product of the entertainment industry as well as the inviolability of “innocent” old songs.