International photography festival KAUNAS PHOTO, now counting it’s 14th edition, continues the tradition of outdoor exhibitions started in 2014. Kaunas city residents and city visitors will be treated to a number of photography shows dotted around the city.
The open air exhibitions of KAUNAS PHOTO 2017 will take place in the following locations:
Chechnya Square (P. Lukšio str.). Exhibition “Out of the water” by Berta Tilmantaitė (Lithuania).
The foot of Žaliakalnis hill funicular railway (V. Putvinskio str.). Exhibition “Fossils” by Todd Johnson (Australia).
The base of Kaunas Castle (Pilies str.). Exhibition “Mapping Europe” by Katerina Mistal (Sweden).
Courtyard at the 57 Juozapavičius prospect. Exhibition “The Heavens” by Paolo Woods (Haiti) and Gabriele Galimberti (Italy).
“Merkurijus” fence on (Laisvės av. and S, Daukanto str.). Exhibition “Kaunas Waters” by Andreas Müller‑Pohle (Germany), Dorota Dawidowicz (Poland), Jari Silomäki (Finland). The opening will be on 16 of September.
Outdoor exhibitions on display till 31 of October.
© Berta Tilmantaitė "People of the Ocean"
Humans originated in water. They are born out of water. Our bodies are made up of water. Most of the surface of the Earth is covered in water. Big part of humanity lives near water, from water and even on the water.
However oceans of the world are suffering decreasing levels of oxygen and increasing acidity, they are covered in plastic and other rubbish. Harmful substances leak into rivers and oceans poisoning living creatures, whilst climate change causes storms, floods and droughts.
Coral reefs of the Red Sea and Coral Triangle are changing and disappearing. Numerous colourful fish are gone. The waters are becoming murky, corals are turning pale, plastic bags and discarded bottles outnumber the fish. On the shore locals are struggling to make a living. Having lived in close coexistence with nature for centuries, they now find it hard to source drinking water or catch fish for food.
Shark and whale hunting, melting ice caps, Great Barrier Reef declared dead: these may seem like distant events. Far from Lithuania, they might seem not related to us, not about us and have no impact on local life here. However in nature everything is connected in unpredictable ways, therefore environmental crisis is our crisis too.
These photographs from three different continents document the close relationship in between humanity and water, and concerns for our planet's future. Pictures from Peru show locals collecting cochayuyo seaweed, rich in minerals, vitamins and amino acids and considered to be one of the most nutritious foods in the world. The coastal areas of Peru are not suitable for agriculture, therefore collecting seaweed and fishing are the only ways to make a living.
The series made in China explores Yongding river in Beijing. The river is made up of 6 lakes, connected by channels through which water can flow. After reaching the southernmost point of the river, some of the water will be pumped north to circulate again. Yongding river water is trapped behind the Sanija dam, in Beijing's Mentougou district. In the past, water from the dam would flow south from here, but the amount of water flowing into the dam decreased so much that the flow dried up due to pollution and dry climate.
Reportage from Malaysia features sea nomads. Bajau tribe spend their whole lives in boats in the sea. Fishing is their only way of making a living, often involving women and children selling the catch to locals, tourists and hotels. However factors like commercial fishing, rising sea levels and unpredictable weather conditions make this way of life increasingly difficult, forcing Bajau people to move onshore.
The series „Guano“ features locals in Chille collecting seabird excrements for sale as a valued fertiliser. This is not only a challenge in the 40 degree heat, but also highly illegal. The island in the Pacific ocean is the breeding place for many species of birds, including penguins, therefore any human activity including the collecting of guano, is forbidden.
Photographs made in Africa document life around the lake Victoria. Victoria is the biggest lake in Africa and the world's second largest fresh water lake by surface area. It is divided in between 3 countries: 51% belongs to Tanzania, 43% to Uganda and only 6% to Kenya. Even this small part is vital in Kenya's regional economy providing natural resources, minerals and food. Lake Victoria is suffering from irresponsible fishing, pollution, and from invasive species of animals and plants. It is predicted that there will be no more fish in the lake in 5 years time, and the locals will lose a vital source of income.
Berta Tilmantaitė is a freelance multimedia journalist, working on documentaries internationally. Her work explores the themes of human rights, culture and environment and relationship in between humans and nature. Berta has a BA in journalistic studies from Vilnius University, Lithuania. She also studied at the Danish School of Media and Journalism and received her Masters from Bolton and Beijing Foreign Studies University. She is a lecturer at the Vilnius University and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and a cofounder of Nanook, the only documentary multimedia platform in Lithuania. Berta's works have been published in National Geographic, GEO, Al Jazeera and other international publications. She has received numerous awards including Sony World Photography Awards, LUMIX young photojournalist award, Lithuanian Press Photography competition. Berta has diving and freediving licenses, which she uses when making work underwater. She travels constantly to find new stories.
© Todd Johnson (Australia) “Fossils” Film buried for 6 months, 3 weeks and 2 days
„Fossils“ is presented in the context of this year’s festival theme „Water“. This series is a result of a collaboration in between the artist and nature. The displayed photographs are prints from photographic slides, that were submerged in water for a prolonged period of time. Affected by moisture, minerals and contamination the slides displayed transformations in colour and texture. This direct link in between photography and water speaks of beauty and chaos found in nature.
Normally the captions of photographic works provide the details about the type of film or camera used, technical parameters like shutter speed, aperture, film speed or the type of lens.
Todd Johnson chooses the unconventional way of making marks on photographic material and provides us with the detailed description of his method. The duration for which the light sensitive surface is exposed to light determines the image. One hundredth or even a one thousandth of a second is enough to capture the moment photographically.
However the captions for “Fossils” series give us the information on exposure lasting as long as weeks, months and years, during which the soil, water and moisture slowly carve the image into a film. Time in photography is comparable to running water, sharing the beauty and effects of erosion. The cracked image surface resembles paintings and the materiality of the medium.
Todd Johnson is an Australian artist and educator who lectures in photography at Deakin University, MIBT and Australian Catholic University. His research interests include photographic authorship, indexicality and materialism in the digital age. Todd Johnson has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. He has published his work in numerous international journals and magazines such as „Sneaky Magazine“, „Art Ascent: International Art Journal“, „Blame Magazine“ and „Aint Bad Magazine“.
© Paolo Woods (Haiti) & Gabriele Galimberti (Italy)
In 2012, when I was living in Haiti, Gabriele came to visit. He had just received his tax bill and realized that the Italian state was about to take almost 50% of his income. We were looking at a map of the Caribbean and, on seeing that the Cayman Islands were just one hour away, he jokingly said, “Well, I should just go and hide my money there!”
It dawned on us that we knew next to nothing about what tax havens are and how they work. We started doing some research and, a couple of months later, we caught a flight to George Town on Grand Cayman.
There is a lot of literature on tax havens, but there are very few images. The articles and reports on this poorly understood subject are usually all illustrated with the same photos of palm-fringed tropical beaches. This makes sense, since so much of what goes on in tax havens is virtual. It cannot be seen and, often, it is not even happening there at all. It is happening “elsewhere”, which effectively becomes “nowhere”. We spent over two years travelling to the offshore centres that embody tax avoidance, secrecy, offshore banking and extreme wealth, driven by our relentless obsession with trying to translate this rather immaterial subject into images. Our hope is that we have produced a body of work that shows what these places look like and, even more importantly, what they mean.
It has been estimated that as much as $32 trillion are sheltered in tax havens worldwide, largely out of sight. That is 13 times the GDP of the United Kingdom. Much of this money is stashed offshore by very wealthy individuals. But a growing share is owned by companies that use tax havens, often legally, to escape financial regulations or to reduce their taxes, draining the resources countries can spend on education, health care and security. Tax havens are not an exotic tropical eccentricity, but have become a structural instrument of the globalized economy. They confront us with fundamental moral issues, involving the relationships between public and private; between companies and states; and between the haves and the have-nots.
We have conceived “The Heavens” as the slick annual report of a successful company, borrowing the photographic tropes and language of the world we have investigated. “The Heavens”, actually exists, we have created it in Delaware, where for a small fee – with no documents required or questions asked – an LLC can be formed in less then 20 minutes. “The Heavens” is now based in the same Delaware office as Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Google, Wal-Mart and 285,000 other businesses.
Paolo Woods was born of Canadian and Dutch parentage. He grew up in Italy, lived in Paris, and is now based in Haiti. He ran a laboratory and a photo gallery in Florence, Italy, before dedicating himself to documentary photography. He focuses on long-term projects that blend photography with investigative journalism. In 2003, with the award-winning writer Serge Michel, he published the book Un monde de Brut (A Crude World). Tackling the subject of the oil industry, this story involved working in twelve countries, including Angola, Russia, Kazakhstan, Texas and Iraq. In 2004, Woods published the book American Chaos, a detailed reportage on western involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both books have been published in France and Italy, and as magazine pieces in over ten different countries. In 2007 and 2008, Woods documented the rise of Chinese influence in Africa. The book Chinafrica, again co-authored with Serge Michel, was published in France and translated into eleven languages. The work has been acclaimed as the most thorough investigation of the phenomenon, and as an exemplary encounter between fine art and documentary photography. In 2010, Woods completed the project Walk on my Eyes, an intimate portrait of the Iranian society. The resulting book was published in France and has been translated into German, Spanish and Persian. The associated exhibition premiered at the Festival of Arles in France, and is currently touring worldwide.
Woods’ work is regularly featured in international publications, and he has had solo exhibitions in, amongst others, France, the US, Italy, China, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as numerous group shows around the world. His pictures are in the French National Library, the FNAC collection, and the collection of the Sheik Saud Al-Thani in Qatar. He has received various prizes including two World Press Photo Awards, the Alstom prize for Journalism, the GRIN prize in Italy, the Open Society’s Moving Walls, and a grant from the Magnum Emergency Fund.
Gabriele Galimberti, born in 1977, is an Italian photographer who frequently lives on airplanes, and occasionally in Val di Chiana (Tuscany), where he was born and raised. He has spent the last few years working on long-term documentary photography projects around the world, some of which have become books, such as Toy Stories, In Her Kitchen, My Couch Is Your Couch and The Heavens.
Gabriele’s job consists mainly of telling the stories, through portraits and short stories, of people around the world, recounting their peculiarities and differences, the things they are proud of and the belongings with which they surround themselves; social media, in all its forms, is a fundamental part of the research needed to get in touch, discover and produce those stories. Gabriele committed to documentary photography after starting out as a commercial photographer, and after joining the artistic collective Riverboom, best known for its work entitled Switzerland Versus The World, successfully exhibited in festivals, magazines and art shows around the world.
Gabriele is currently traveling around the globe, working on both solo and shared projects, as well as on assignments for international magazines and newspapers such as National Geographic, The Sunday Times, Stern, Geo, Le Monde, La Repubblica and Marie Claire.
His pictures have been exhibited in shows worldwide, such as the well known Festival Images in Vevey, Switzerland, Le Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles) and the renowned V&A museum in London.
© Katerina Mistal (Sweden)
During the past several decades, most European coastlines and borders have been celebrated as symbolic lines of seamless passages. Meanwhile, the islands of Southern Europe were constantly struggling with a attempts of people from Africa and middle East to reach the safe European dreamland. Since the refugee crisis that broke out in 2015, new threats and fears, along with inner geopolitical turbulence of the teens of the 21st century, have put ordinary Europeans, politicians, economists, social scientists, doctors, artists (especially photographers) and border patrols back in the permanent mode of alert.
Katerina Mistal’s “Mapping Europe” does not answer about particular choices for the specific geographical spots, where settings of landscapes with school children or young people lining along the waterlines, former or contemporary borderlines, are being turned the into majestic images. Alingning along a borderline today is not merely a childish gesture. Of course, it can be a sign of welcome and solidarity, whether consciously or not, adopting the Baltic people’s way join hands in the name of values of the free world, as they were seen in the late 1980s! A closer look at Katerina Mistal's photographs reaveal no group of people actually standing with their hands joined. Very few images show entusiastic look at the camera, with hands up, radiating the welcoming mood. Numerous living sculptures have hands in hidden warm from outside elements, some, especially in the cold countries, have their hands in pockets.
Symbolically, today their postures of olympic tranquility oppose the moods of turmoil of our days. Russia’s annexations of Crimea and war on Ukraine, Islamic terrorist attacks on Paris, Brussels, New Years Eve in Cologne and the jewel on the European crown, BREXIT, suggest, though, that lining a border can stand for separating countries, preserving cultures from invasion of new foreign ingredients, decisions, movement of unknown elements, possibly importing terrorism, weapons, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, or simply, different language or religion. It can as well stand for endorsing the best and worst of what's owned, learned, developed, inherited, including xenophobia, indifference, egoism and morphing the face of democracy into idiocracy.
“Mapping Europe” is a suggestive project, provoking reflections about "us and them”, “ours and theirs”, sign of welcome or that of refusal. These human landscapes stimulate the cold-headed and, possibly, heart-warming analytical thinking of some and unleash emotional arbitrary radical positions to others. The variety of reasons for borderlines to exist provides a number of new hints for the next images Katerina Mistal might create and prompts to wonder what her next borderland destinations could be...
Katerina Mistal lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She trained in arts in Stockholm, Prague and New York and has exhibited her work at several locations in Europe. Among other places, she is represented at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, Eskilstuna Art Museum and at the Åland Art Museum.
Mistal's work has been shown at Fotografins Hus in Stockholm, Nordic house in Reykjavik, Eskilstuna Art Museum and in Hippolyte gallery in Helsinki. Her work has also been shown in international group shows such as Photography Festival Belo Horizonte in Brazil, Backlight Photo Festival in Tampere, PhotoBiennale in Poznan, Fotonoviembre in Tenerife, Photoireland in Dublin and in PhotoBiennale in Thessaloniki.
In 2014 Katerina Mistal was awarded the Hasselblad Foundation’s artist-in-residency stipend at Axel Munthe’s Villa San Michele on Capri. In the same year she received a monograph prize in the folio PORT on-line portfolio reviews in 2014, organised by KAUNAS PHOTO festival, Lithuania.
How to find ?