Space of Flows: Framing an Unseen Reality (Krakow Photomonth 2018)

Featuring an international selection of artists, the 16th edition of Krakow Photomonth focuses on movements and flows of people, information, and substances within and across physical and virtual spaces. Bringing together issues about migration to and within contemporary Europe, the invisibility and intangibility of digital data, and urgent environmental issues, the exhibited works address these multiple topics.

Today we live in a society based on networks, where openness, visibility and connecting are key. On a daily basis, we are provoked by and confronted with events that exceed traditional boundaries, or take place in a virtual reality. This year’s programme derives its thematic approach from the concept of “space of flows”, as set forth by the Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells in his seminal 1996 volume The Rise of the Network Society, and takes as its starting point our contemporary society in which geographically distant elements are brought together, quite often, continuously and in real time. Just because of the networked society, more than ever before we have become aware that what we undertake and decide here can have severe consequences for a faraway locales. The apparent inability of those in power to regulate complex matters like migration policies, securing our private data in a virtual space, or preventing pollutants from slipping freely into the environment, is a threat not only to our way of life but also to the earth’s eco-system.

In the heavily charged image culture of our contemporary societies, photographers and video artists are able to provide a frame through which to see this sometimes unsettling reality. Their perspective might give us a fresh view on an “unseen reality”, but they might also push us out of our comfort zones. The shared method is a deep investigation of their subject, a commitment for years with the people involved, and also collaborations with scientists, journalists, and essential technical specialists. Where traditional forms of documentary photography failed to serve their artistic purposes, they have sought to explore new formats.

Envisioned as one overarching group show, the festival blends stories and images in an attempt to grapple the “space of flows”, and investigate its implications. The projects are scattered around 10 different locations in the city’s galleries and museums.

The Krakow Photomonth Festival is performed with the financial support of Krakow Municipality and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.