KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2019 Winner – Maxime Matthys

On September 6, 2019, during the inauguration days of the 16th KAUNAS PHOTO festival, five parts of the exhibition “KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2019 Finalists” were opened one after another in Kaunas old town. The exhibition openings were attended by the authors who presented their exhibited works and talked about their ideas and creative processes. At the end of the itinerary, the Winner of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award was disclosed – Belgian visual artist and photographer Maxime Matthys. His series  “2091: The Ministry of Privacy” is exploring the mechanism of facial recognition technologies used by the Chinese government to monitor and oppress the inhabitants of the Xinjiang region. This series reveals the intrusiveness and the danger of this invisible technology, while documenting and paying tribute to what remains of these communities’ vibrant culture, before its planned disappearance. The resulting photographs blur the borders between reality and virtuality, but also embody, in the same picture, a glimpse of the future and the ruins of the past. The Winner of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR competition received a solo exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery and a 2500 EUR monetary prize.

Maxime Matthys. © Karolina Krinickaite

During the opening of the exhibition, Maxime Matthys expressed gratitude to the festival for the opportunity to present this little-discussed topic, shared his ideas behind the project “2091: The Ministry of Privacy” and related some of his experiences while developing it. While traveling and photographing in China, the author said that he was constantly tracked, arrested a total of 7 times, and his photographs were being inspected.

According to the author, for the past 2 years, China has been conducting a massive crackdown against Muslim-minority communities in its vast western Xinjiang region. Some of the most advanced surveillance technologies, such as facial recognition and DNA collection are being massively deployed in the region so as to monitor every aspect of the inhabitant’s life.

M. Matthys travelled to Kashgar, one of the last bastions of the Uyghur culture in Xinjiang, and probably the most monitored city of the region, to try to document the way the government turned technologies into tools of repression.

Prior to his departure, he developed a facial recognition software in collaboration with William Attache, a French IT engineer. The software they developed is similar to that used by the Chinese government, particularly in the Xinjiang region to track its inhabitants. They programmed the software to recognize the people in a photograph and to directly draw the biometric information about the faces of the people that appear in the photographs, exactly as it is happening inside the surveillance cameras. Depending on the technology, some are displayed using red dots — called facial landmarks — others using Delaunay diagrams, an efficient alternative for mapping faces.

M. Matthys then began to photograph the daily lives of the Uyghurs and the other minorities under threat, without having to focus on the surveillance system itself. Back in his hotel room, he uploaded the pictures into the facial recognition software, which automatically recognized and drew the respective biometric facial information of the citizens in the photographs.

Thanks to the sponsor Hikvision.lt, the exhibition “2091: The Ministry of Privacy” in Kaunas Photography Gallery features an installation similar to the surveillance system used by the Chinese government, and live footage can be seen on a big screen set up right among the photographs.

Maxime Matthys (Belgium) – the Winner of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2019 Award. © Karolina Krinickaite

Maxime Matthys was born in 1995 in Brussels, Belgium. He studied photography at the Toulouse school of photography and design in 2015 and photojournalism in Paris in 2017. After working for the press industry, he realized he was more interested in including the viewer into a thinking process and allowing him to recreate his own story. His work focuses on the way technologies are affecting our daily life and are shifting our perception of reality. While exploring new forms of narrative in photography, he keeps documenting the important issues that are shaping our future. Winner of international awards, his work has notably been showcased at the European House of Photography (Paris), Camando Design school (Paris), at international festivals in Canada, Indonesia and France and published in Le Monde, Médiapart, Libération, Fisheye Magazine, amongst others.

The finalists of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2019 competition (from left to right): Paulo Simão, John Angerson, Samuel W. J. Fordham, Maxime Matthys (the Winner), Mindaugas Kavaliauskas (the founder and the director of the festival), Agata Wieczorek, Kai Löffelbein, Gintarė Krasuckaitė (the curator of Kaunas Photography Gallery). © Karolina Krinickaite

KAUNAS PHOTO STAR tradition started in 2010, awarding the best participant of portfolio reviews with a solo exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery and paying respect to a potential future star of photography. In 2018 KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award gained a new tradition of staging an exhibition of all Finalists, after selecting them by the votes of an international Jury panel. The works of the highest-ranked finalists are exhibited in a joint exhibition, and the winner – at Kaunas Photography Gallery. The winner also receives a cash prize.

Following the votes of an international Jury panel, 8 Finalists have been selected in KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2019 competition. Although KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award competition is open to a variety of themes, styles, genres and approaches to photography, most of the entries featured this year’s festival theme “Digital-Virtual-Real”. The prevailing documentary photography genre invites to focus on processes, consequences of digitized lifestyle, data flow, communication, cyber-crime and -security, machine learning, surveillance, automation, dangers and fragile borders.

The works of the 8 finalists can be visited until October 6 in the exhibition “KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2019 Finalists” distributed across five venues in Kaunas old town:

  • Kaunas Photography Gallery (Vilniaus St. 2) – Maxime Matthys (Belgium) “2091 : The Ministry of Privacy”;
  • Gallery „Meno Parkas“ (Rotušės Sq. 27) – Kai Löffelbein (Germany) “Ctrl-X, a topography of e-waste”, Agata Wieczorek (Poland) “Simulation Centers” and Samuel W. J. Fordham (UK) “C-R92/BY”;
  • Kaunas City Museum Folk Music Branch (L. Zamenhofo St. 12) – John Angerson (UK) “On this Day” and Paulo Simão (Portugal) “Goodbye Pyongyang”;
  • Kaunas Public Library of Vincas Kudirka – Department of Youth, Art and Music (A. Mapu St. 18) – Marko Zink (Austria) “Mauthausen – The Eradication of Memories”;
  • Kaunas Cultural Centre of Various Nations (Šv. Gertrūdos St. 58) – Christopher Sims (USA) “Theater of War: The Pretend Villages of Iraq and Afghanistan”.

KAUNAS PHOTO festival is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture and Kaunas city municipality.

KAUNAS PHOTO is the longest-running annual photographic festival in Lithuania and the Baltic States. Maintaining its strong international character, KAUNAS PHOTO is a platform of priemieres of emerging talents. Since its first edition in 2004, it’s been organized by the NGO „Šviesos raštas“ and is regarded to be one of the most important continuous art events in the country. KAUNAS PHOTO is a member of „Festivals of Light“ organization. The founder and the director of the festival is Mindaugas Kavaliauskas.




Kaunas Photo 2018 | Emanuela Colombo (Italy) “Brazilka”

EXHIBITION Emanuela Colombo “Brazilka”

Opening of the exhibition on September 10th 5 PM.
Multi-functional Study and Science center of Vytautas Magnus University (V. Putvinskio str. 23).

Recently, the district of Brazika has changed very rapidly: old, new or modern apartments are changing old buildings and apartments. Together with changing urbanism, residents, younger generation, the sensation of Brazilka’s myth began to disappear in the old district of Kaunas. Thus, the Italian artist Emanuela Colombo’s residence documented exactly this part of Žaliakalnis: Jonava, Varniai, Žemaičių streets and Savanorių avenue, a part of the district. In creating pictures of romantic images, portraiture of the people, or unexpected contrasts on everyday streets, the artist, in collaboration with the locals, created remarkable shots and returned to memory and memorized the remaining fragments of Brazilka, reminding of the history of the city and our continuous changes.

Emanuela Colombo after graduating in Communication Sciences at IULM in Milan, worked for almost 10 years in purchasing department of several companies in the area. Finally, she realized that it was not for her and decided to dedicate herself to her passion, photography. In 2007 Emanuela attended a Master in “Photography and Visual Design” at NABA in Milan. Since the beginning of 2007 she works with several NGOs to produce reportages, stories about their activities in Italy and abroad. Photographfer published her work on Italian and foreign magazines.

Exhibition on display till October 31.
Working hours: Mon-Fri 8 am – 6 pm

More information: www.kaunasphoto.com
All the events of KAUNAS PHOTO 2018:
http://festival.kaunasphoto.com/events-2018/
Kaunas Photo 2018 | Renginiai – Events




Exhibition opening / “Silver Garden” by Emilija Petrauskienė

On July 13th at 5:30 PM the exhibition „Silver Garden” by Emilija Petrauskienė will take place in the VDU Botanical garden. The author of exhibition will attend and answer the questions of audience during the opening.

Please read more >>




Exhibition opening. Nemunas Journey by Vitus Saloshanka

On 7th of November, Thuesday, at 6pm, at Prienai Cultural Centre (Vytautas str. 35, Prienai) NGO “Šviesos raštas” invites for the exhibition opening “Nemunas Journey” by Vitus Saloshanka (Belarus/Germany).

Exhibition on display till 8th of December 2017.

 




Vitus Saloshanka (Baltarusija/Vokeitija) “Kelionė Nemunu”

Sorry, this entry is only available in Lithuanian.

Kelionė Nemunu

Vitus Saloshanka Baltarusija / Vokietija

Tai trijų metų fotografo darbo rezultatas, įgyvendintas trijose šalyse: Baltarusijoje, Lietuvoje ir Rusijoje. Sekdamas Nemuno vingiais, darbų autorius fotografavo besikeičiantį kraštovaizdį, minėtų šalių istorinės ir politinės realybės kontekste.

© Vitus Saloshanka “Kelionė Nemunu”

Vitus Saloshankos fotografinė kelionė Lietuvoje prasidėjo dar 2015 m. fotomeno festivalio KAUNAS PHOTO kontekste kaip maža kūrybinė rezidencija. Dabar užsienio menininkų rezidencijos Lietuvos regionuose peraugo į savarankišką festivalio organizatorių VšĮ „Šviesos raštas“ projektą, o ši paroda Prienuose – vieno ilgalaikio kūrinio kulminacija ir sugrįžimas prie projekto ištakų. Prienų krašte žengti pirmieji serijos kūrimo žingsniai – sukurti pirmieji kadrai, patekę į galutinę serijos atranką.

© Vitus Saloshanka “Kelionė Nemunu”

Nemuno šalį Lietuvą fotografas pristato kaip krepšiniu religingą šalį, kur lentos ir lankai, įrengti pačiose netikėčiausiose vietose: prie pašiūrės ar garažo kaime, prie šventoriaus ar tuščiame lauke. Ir vis tik, dekoras neužstoja esmės – gyvensenos, kurią nori pabrėžti fotografas. „Kelionė Nemunu“ – vienas pirmųjų dokumentinės fotografijos kūrinių, vaizduojančių Lietuvą kaip taikaus gyvenimo, modernią, šalį, kurioje naujos statybos gyvenamųjų namų kiemuose auga.

© Vitus Saloshanka “Kelionė Nemunu”

Nemuno ištakų apylinkės Baltarusijoje – retai apgyvendinta, žmonių pamiršta dalis, kur žemės ūkio veikla ir padargai primena praėjusį šimtmetį. Kai čia pat laukuose auginamos grūdų kultūros, duoną vietos gyventojai perka iš sunkvežimio-parduotuvės, vos kartkartėmis pravažiuojančios pro gyvenvietes. Vis dėlto gamtinė Baltarusijos dalis, o ypač Nemuno ištakos, pelkės, miškai kaip teritorijos forma šiandieninėje Europoje – retenybė.

© Vitus Saloshanka “Kelionė Nemunu”

Kaliningrado srityje jaunuoliai stebi saulėlydį virš aptrupėjusių betono blokų ar žaidžia nublukusių betoninių džiunglių kiemuose. Militaristinės nuotaikos dominuoja ne vien peizaže, bet taip pat jaučiamos ir gyvenimo ritme. Kaliningradas kaip šalis atribota nuo žemyninės Rusijos, atrodo, kad nuo Europos taip pat bando atsiriboi betoninėmis sienomis.

© Vitus Saloshanka “Kelionė Nemunu”

Trys skirtingos šalys, kerinti gamta, upės tėkmė, naujoji karta – visos šios, sudedamosios dalys pasakoja apie viltį, ateitį, atgimimą. Tačiau karinės detalės, užfiksuotos Vitus Saloshankos fotografijose suteikia aliuziją į sudėtingas problemas, kartu kalba apie šalių praeitį, o taip pat ir ryškėjančius gyvensenos skirtumus.

Vitus Saloshanka gimė 1974 m., Minske, Baltarusijoje. Nuo 2001 m. gyvena ir dirba Vokietijoje. Po teisės studijų baigimo spontaniškai pasinėrė į fotografiją ir 2004 m. pradėjo jos studijas taikomųjų mokslų universitete Dortmunde, Vokietijoje. Vitus Saloshankos fotografijos buvo plačiai eksponuotos įvairiuose pasaulio kraštuose, tarp kurių Müllheim/Ruhr muziejuje ir Photokina Cologne galerijoje. 2011 m. fotografo projektui „didelės viltys“ buvo suteikta Kulturwek VG Bild-Kunst fondo stipendija, o po metų foto knygų festivalyje, Kaselyje Vitus Saloshanka nominuotas „Dummy“ apdovanojimui. 2014 m. jo pirmosios knygos projektas „didelės viltys“ buvo nominuotos „Autoriaus knygos apdovanojimui“, Arlyje, Prancūzijoje, o 2012 – 2014 m. laikotarpiu ji buvo eksponuota įvairiose knygų parodose: Amsterdame, Braitone, Dortmunde, Dubline, Helsinkyje, Malmėje, Paryžiuje ir Tokijuje.

Viešosios įstaigos „Šviesos raštas“ projekto „Užsienio fotomenininkų rezidencijos Lietuvos regionuose“ tikslas – pritraukti menininkus ne vien į Lietuvos miestus, bet ir regionus, kelti jų susidomėjimą tapatybėmis, kultūros, peizažo išskirtinumu, socialiniais klausimais, kasdienybe, džiaugsmais, sunkumais ir kurti naują šiuolaikinės Lietuvos regionų fotografinę ikonografiją. Fotografų Lietuvoje sukurti darbai ne vien leis sutelkti vietos bendruomenes ar jaunimą kūrinio vystymo procese, tačiau taip pat garsins vietovės vardą pasauliniame fotografijos meno kontekste.

Projektas „Užsienio fotomenininkų rezidencijos Lietuvos regionuose“ 2017 m. taip pat įgyvendinamas Veisiejuose ir Druskininkuose.

Projekto rėmėjai ir partneriai:

Lietuvos Respublikos kultūros ministerija
Lietuvos kultūros taryba
Druskininkų savivaldybė
Prienų kultūros ir laisvalaikio centras
Lazdijų rajono savivaldybės Veisiejų seniūnija ir Veisiejų kultūros namai.




KAUNAS PHOTO festival 09-19 “Polish Waters” exhibition opening

On 19 of September, at 5pm, at “POST” gallery KAUNAS PHOTO festival in collaboration with the Polish Institute in Vilnius and Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw opened the exhibition “Polish Waters”. The artists presented are: Tymon Markowski (Bydgoscz) “Flow”, Filip Ćwik (Warsaw) “Sinking Industry”, Krzysztof Racoń (Kraków) “Disappearing lakes”, Dorota Dawidowicz (Warsaw) “Relax”, Adam Wilkoszarski (Poznań) “Sobering Chamber”, Kuba Kamiński (Varšuva) “Sobering Chamber”, Kacper Kowalski (Gdynia) “Beach 1102”. Exhibition on display till 8 of October,




KAUNAS PHOTO festival 09-07 exhibition openings

On 7 of September, at Presidential library – museum of Valdas Adamkus (S. Daukanto str. 25) KAUNAS PHOTO festival opened an exhibition by Olegas Truchanas – legend of Lithuania and Australia and at Kaunas Artists’ House (V. Putvinskio str. 56) another exhibition “Sauna Folk” by Jussi Puikkonen (Finland).




Exhibition opening at Vytautas Magnum university

3pm Exhibition opening. Vytautas Magnus university Faculty of Humanities (V. Putvinskio str. 23). Alex Boyd (UK) “The Land of Maybe”,Christine Osinski (USA) “New York City’s Archipelago”.




The opening of the exhibition “VASK” by Eugenijus Barzdžius

2.30 pm Exhibition opening. Žaliakalnis funicular “F gallery” (Aušros str. 6). Eugenijus Barzdžius (Lithuania) “Vask”




Exhibition opening at Lithuanian educational museum

1pm Exhibition opening. Lithuanian educational museum (Vytauto av. 52). Matjaz Krivic (Slovenia) “Lithium, the driving force of 21st Century”, Christian Åslund (Sweden) “Glacier comparison – Svalbard” , Gideon Mendel (UK) „Drowning World“. Partners of the exhibition “EMP Recycling“.