Projects

Fotobokfestival Oslo 2019

12. - 22. SEPTEMBER

Official opening, Thursday September 12th, from 6PM 

Fotobokfestival Oslo 2019 is a week-long event which aims to explore the photobook as an artistic medium and phenomenon. The festival was established by Forbundet Frie Fotografer (FFF - The Norwegian Association of Fine Art Photographers) and continues to feature widely recognized art photographers and young, new participants in photography, the photo book genre, and publishing activity nationally and internationally. It takes place in Oslo every September and is free and open to all. 

(Banner and thumbnail: Fotobokfestival Oslo 2019, Istvan Virag.) 

MAIN EXHIBITION: FIXED ON REALITY 

RONA YEFMAN / AARON SCHUMAN /  RAFAŁ MILACH

Fixed on Reality is the main exhibition at Fotobokfestival Oslo 2019. The exhibition presents artists whom all have published a significant photobook project in recent years with a clear political, cultural and personal connection to their projects. 

The artists for 2019 are Rona Yefman, Rafał Milach and Aaron Schuman. In each of their designated containers, they present a commissioned showcase based on their artistic practice, which is also highly present in their photobooks.

Altering the viewpoint on an established reality, shows that society and its politics are not fixed, but can seemingly be changed or influenced. Hence there is not one unassailable view of the world we live in. What the selected artist books show us is that reality is not fixed; it is co-created.

SEMINAR: FIXED ON REALITY - HISTORY SHAPED IN THE PRESENT

RONA YEFMAN / BETTINA CAMILLA H. VESTERGAARD / KATHARINA SIEVERDING / MARIA PASENAU / HEIDI BALE AMUNDSEN / BJØRN SCHIERMER ANDERSEN 

Alongside the exhibition, a seminar will be held with the title Fixed on Reality – History Shaped in the Present. The seminar will take place across two afternoons at Kulturhuset and will feature photographers and practitioners from other academic fields who have been invited to comment on the general photobook and on specific photobooks presented.

PART I
MANDAG, September 16th, 5-7pm
Boksen, Kulturhuset, Oslo

In the first part of the seminar Rona Yefman, also showing at the main exhibition, and Bettina Camilla H. Vestergaard will present their latest book and talk about vital subjects in their practice. The seminar will be moderated and led by Zofia Cielatkowska

17:00 RONA YEFMAN /Presentation /Conversation /Q&A. Yefman will talk about her latest photobook Let it Bleed (2016). Rebelling against conventional gender roles as well as familial ones, this artist book, chronicling an experience of growing up and intense relationships through a curve of fantasies, hopes, and desires; disappointments, confusion, conflicts, and flirtation with familial taboos.

18:00 BETTINA CAMILLA H. VESTERGAARD /Presentation /Conversation /Q&A. Vestergaards photobook As I Wander Thru The Park (2016) revisits the forgotten story of the Decenter artists’ colony, free-spirited space for artistic and cultural exploration, and its founder, Danish author and social commentator Elsa Gress. The book interrelates the playful nature of Decenter with Elsa Gress' underlying thoughts rooted in her personal experience of the Nazis in Europe and McCarthyism in the United States, which were essential for her lifelong fight for humanism and democracy.

PART II

WEDNESDAY, September 18th, 6-8pm
Boksen, Kulturhuset, Oslo

The second part of the seminar will start with the lecture of Katharina Sieverding: Photobook as a Social Sculpture. Afterwards Maria Pasenau will present her book: with king regrets Pasenau, followed by a discussion Beyond the Photographic Image with invited guests: Heidi Bale Amundsen and Bjørn Schiermer Andersen. The discussion will touch inter alia such issues as responsibility beyond the visual image, critical analysis of photography in contemporary contexts, redundancy of visual material and its impact on identity and society.

18:00 KATHARINA SIEVERDING /Lecture / THE PHOTOBOOK AS SOCIAL SCULPTURE. Katharina Sieverding has worked with photography and movies since the 1960's. She is known for her large scale self-portraits and reproductions from a time when photography, in a classical sense, was becoming prominent. Sieverding says in an interview: ´I love this whole new digital century. I trained a lot to work with fake news, and how you’re able to alter images. In a way, I also make fake news. I’m completely free. My work has been a process of emancipation from the boundaries imposed by histories and media.´

18:30 MARIA PASENAU /Presentation. Pasenau will talk about her photobook Whit Kind Regrets Pasenau (2018): `My very first book; captured in diary photographs over 3 years of me and my friends living young days in Oslo´. Pasenau is displaying a nerve in the current youth milieu, the vulnerability, intensity and intimacy within. Exploring complex relations between image and reality, body and environment, photography and art.

19:00 DISCUSSION / Beyond the Photographic Image m/ Heidi Bale Amundsen, Bjørn Schiermer Andersen. 

Beyond the Photographic Image by Zofia Cielatkowska

“Something was disquieting about visual images. They appeared to show everything, and yet, like the physical body, remained annoyingly mute. The visual world was like the husk you removed to get at the conceptual and verbal worlds inside, but having done so you couldn't in good conscience throw it away.”  (David MacDougall, The Visual in Anthropology, 1997)

When photography appeared in the first half of the nineteenth century, together with other technological and social changes, it had an enormous impact on the way people communicated, experienced things, and perceived reality. However, critical reflection on photography appeared much later. The above-mentioned concern expressed by the American anthropologist connected with disquieting visual images returns nowadays in a different narrative marked by the redundancy of the visual material occurring at all possible levels of everyday experience (Hito Steyerl). Very often images in the media and social networks are shocking, provoking, attracting attention, yet they remain silent; they lack sources and context, thus making them extremely vulnerable to various manipulations.     

The photographic image has never been innocent, but it currently seems that, more than before, its harmful power can be used on a greater scale, either purposefully or unconsciously. The way the content is created and shared, even if it seems a part of freedom of speech, is in fact not free. We live in timesof platform imperialism; digital platforms have significantly influenced capital accumulation and digital culture (Dal Yong Jin). Of particular interest is how the digital influences democratic society:how it transforms the public sphere, or put differently, how the public sphere is shaped by debates surrounding crisis, conflict, migration, culture and our identity. Devices and platforms have remade the world and our understanding of ourselves within it (Nathan Jurgenson). Nor does posthumanism's reflection on agency and technology (Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour) leave much space for optimism.

Understanding contemporary photography requires grasping a broader context of how the image is transferred through global media channels and used locally, and how it functions within rising inequalities, misinterpretations, or misuses. It also requires a reflection on the different responsibilities we have as participants in a democratic society with our different roles as artists, photographers, media journalists, media editors, politicians, scientists, and individuals who choose to share particular content on our social networks.

In such constructed reality, what is the place of photographers? Is their voice heard in the debates surrounding vital contemporary issues? And if almost everything is digital, what is the place of the photographic book? Is it an aesthetic object just for a small group of people? Or does it have the potential to be part of the discussion for a larger public? One of the earliest photography books, British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843) by Anna Atkins, was not at that time considered a photobook. Perhaps, then, the photobook has changed over time and manifests a different form.

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Heidi Bale Amundsen holds a PhD in art history from the University of Oslo. Her thesis relies on a network perspective and examines how readers perceive structural unity in photobooks. Heidi is currently the Chair of the Norwegian Critics' Association (Norsk Kritikerlag) and she is a writer for the art journal Kunstkritikk. As a researcher and art critic, her special areas of interest include contemporary art, photography and aesthetics.

Bjørn Schiermer Andersen is a professor at the University of Oslo (Department of Sociology and Human Geography), where he teaches Sociological Theory and Cultural Sociology. He is ardently fond of photography, visual culture and cultural theory. In the centreof his research interests are such questions as; What is creativity in the first place? How does contemporary Western culture differ from earlier times? How to approach phenomena such as authenticity, humour and irony in a sociological perspective 

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EVENTS & SATELLITE EVENTS


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th

Tronsmo Books and Comics: TRIPLE BOOK LAUNCHES
4:30pm
Terje Abusdal: Hope Blinds Reason 
Märta Thisner: Drunk in Love 
Espen Tveit: Oh Mysen, my little town 
TRIPLE ARTIST TALKS led by publisher Gösta Flemming of Journal Photobooks.

STAFETT II: Launch
5pm, Atelier Felix, Kunstnernes Hus
The launch of STAFETT II featuring Camilla Reyman (DK), Ingrid Eggen (NO), Mårten Lange (SE), Tomas Lagermand Lundme (DK), Hannah Modigh (SE), Nina Strand (NO), and André Tehrani (NO). Three of the artists will be present.


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th

Oslo KunstforeningPERFORMANCE NIGHT: TANJA SCHLANDER
6pm

Produced in collaboration with Rona Yefman and Ultima - Oslo Contemporary Music Festival. Part of Oslo Kulturnatt

Fotografiens hus: HOW IS ARCHITECTURE PORTRAYED IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
6pm

A conversation between architect and Associate Professor at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design Halvor Wider Ellefsen and writer Hans Petter Blad. In concurrence with Adrian Bugges exhibition "Den nye byen". Part of Oslo Kulturnatt. 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th

Oslo Kunstforening: EXHIBITION WALK-THROUGH with Rona Yefman
2pm

Oslo KunstforeningRONA YEFMAN: 'THE STRONGEST GIRL IN THE WORLD' 
Until October 6th
'The Strongest Girl in the World' is the first Scandinavian solo exhibition of artist Rona Yefman. She works in photography, video and performance exploring identity through a range of human encounters and experiences. The exhibition at OK juxtaposes work from two of Yefman's iconic series from the last decades. The exhibition presents two extensive bodies of work; "Let it Bleed" (1996-2010) with artist Gil Yefman and "Pippi L. - The Strongest Girl in the World!" (2006-2009) with sound artist Tanja Schlander. Both bodies of work have resulted from ongoing close dialogues and collaborations between the artists over many years.For more information, visit Oslo Kunstforening.  

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th

Cyan studio: PHOTOzine MARATHON
5pm
Official start of Cyan Studio's photozine marathon

Cyan studioOPENING PARTY of Photobokcafé 
7-10pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st

14:00-16:00 Vega Scene PANEL DEBATE. Freedom of artistic expression in the digital age. In connection to Maria Pasenau's exhibition "Pasenaus and the Devil". The event is part of a collaboration between  Fotogalleriet and Vega Scene. 

SUNDAY, September 22nd

Cyan studio: FINNISAGE - PHOTOzine and photobookcafé
7-10pm
PHOTOzine end sale and audience jury-party

NEW BOOK RELEASES AND LAUNCHES
5-7pm, Kulturhuset, Oslo

During Fotobokfestival Oslo, we want to give our FFF members the opportunity to launch and present newly released photo books. Last year we had great presentations and are therefore pleased to announce a new round of hot-of-the-press publications in 2019. The event is open to all audience. Perhaps you might pick up a brand new book? 

OPENING HOURS

Main venue and exhibition: Arbeidersamfunnets plass
Thursday September 12th: from 6pm
Friday September 13th: 12-5pm, then Oslo Kulturnatt 2019 6-10pm
Saturday September 21st: 12-5pm
Sunday September 22nd: 12-5pm

Satellittes:
There are different opening hours for each and every satellite. Look at the individual websites for correct opening hours.

FOTOBOKFESTIVAL OSLO 2019 ER STØTTET AV

Arts Council Norway
Norwegian Photographic Fund
Oslo municipality
Fritt Ord Foundation

AN EXTRA THANK YOU TO: 

Christina Leithe Hansen
Zofia Cielatkowska
All the extra staff at Fotobokfestival Oslo 2019 
Atlas Spedisjon
Nilz & Otto Trykkeri
Propell PA

Fotobokfestival Oslo is produced by  Forbundet Frie Fotografer

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