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9th international photography festival Organ Vida – New Citizens

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb , Croatia

OPENING WEEK 6. — 20.9.2017
EXHIBITIONS 6. — 20.9.2017

Organ Vida affirms its position as the leading photography festival in South Eastern Europe – the programme of the 9th edition “New Citizens” announced

On June 12, 2017, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, the organizers of the 9th international photography festival Organ Vida held a press conference at which they presented the programme and announced the novelties and guests of this year’s festival. Organ Vida will take place from September 6 to September 20 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb – the festival’s main partner – and at several other locations in Zagreb. The festival will include exhibition, educational, discursive, film, and entertainment programme, just like in previous editions.

The programme was presented by Marina Paulenka, director and founder of the festival, Leila Topić, curator of the finalists’ exhibition of New Citizens, Lea Vene, coordinator of the conference Beyond the Documentary, and Paola Orlić, festival producer. On behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the director Snježana Pintarić welcomed this new collaboration: “We are honoured that this year’s festival will be organized in partnership with the Museum and we are proud to host not only the central exhibition New Citizens, but many other events of this year’s International Photography Festival Organ Vida, which has become the most significant festival of this kind in South Eastern Europe. It is our mutual desire to promote a greater affirmation and position of contemporary photography in Croatia through this partnership and collaboration.”

Organ Vida TEAM

11 locations ‡ 13 exhibitions ‡ conference ‡ workshops ‡ extensive educational and entertainment programme

“We are pleased to announce that the main programme of this year’s festival will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb – a logical and natural partner with which we hope to achieve successful long-term collaboration given the lack of solid support to contemporary photography in Croatia. As in previous years, the festival will feature a variety of interesting authors and themes from all around the world, but also local artistic production and novelties will which will surely have a positive impact on the long-term growth of the Croatian photography scene. The 9th edition of the festival, entitled New Citizens, will take place from Sep 6 to Sep 20, 2017 in different locations in Zagreb. We invite the public to attend the Opening week (Sep 6 – Sep 10), when all our guests, world-renowned artists, theorists, curators and other experts in the field of photography, will visit Zagreb,” said Marina Paulenka, festival director.

Tourists are swimming in the Antique Pool of the ancient Greco-Roman city Hierapolis, near the famous Pamukkale hot springs in southwestern Turkey. In Roman times, thousands of people used to come to the baths, of which there were more than 15. Today’s Antique Pool was shaped by an earthquake in the 7th century CE. Tourism is and has been a major industry here. Most of the visitors are Russians. Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From the series ‘Mediterranean. The Continuity of Man’ ©Nick Hannes

Novelties by Organ Vida

Paulenka particularly reflected on the extensive Opening week, from Sep 6 to Sep 10, when exhibition openings, film screenings, social gatherings, and workshops as an important part of this year’s educational programme will take place every day. “We are excited about the great programme and we believe the audience will embrace it and visit the events during the Opening week. We are proud because our organization managed to introduce several novelties that will form a part of our continuous annual programme. Firstly, we should mention the Marina Viculin Award for Contemporary Croatian Photography, which will be awarded to an artist in September who will develop their work under mentorship over the period of one year and exhibit their work next year, at the festival’s 10th anniversary. Secondly, we should mention the fact that the association Organ Vida will start publishing photography books and the first contemporary photography magazine OVmag, whose first issue will be available at the end of this year in Croatian and English. The printed version of the magazine will be accompanied by the existing, but redesigned website OVmag.org – which is the third novelty that we will be presenting at the 9th edition of the festival.”


Finalists’ works problematize the festival’s main theme – New Citizens

Among 250 submissions of photographic projects from all seven continents, we have chosen 10 finalists who will present their work at the main exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb. The finalists of the 9th Organ Vida are: Miia Autio (Finland), John Feely (Australia), Daniel Castro Garcia (UK), Nick Hannes (Belgium), Ingvar Kenne (Australia), Annalisa Natali Murri (Italy), Drew Nikonowicz (US), Sarah Pabst (Argentina), Alexandra Polina (Germany) and Hannes Wiedemann (Germany).

In addition to the 10 finalists, Organ Vida will present another 10, especially commended, projects. The commended authors are: Alana Holmberg (Australia), Tanya Houghton (UK), Maria Kapajeva (Estonia), Amélie Landry (Belgium), Camille Lévêque (France), Raffaele Petralla (Italy), Pablo Ernesto Piovano (Argentina), Christopher Sims (US), Bronia Stewart (UK) and Pavel Volkov (Russia).

“Contemporary art strives to return to society and everyday life, aiming to become an active participant of positive social changes. Thus artists and art collectives choose and problematize current issues and urgent situations related to both individuals and society as a whole. Sustainable development, climate change, dissolution of traditional values, relationship to Other and otherness… All of these topics are part of the concept of the active citizen who participates in open society, which consequently means that in order to understand contemporary artistic production it is necessary to accept the concept of the active citizen – inquisitive and eager for change. We will find out what the desire to disrupt the current, disturbing world order looks like through the camera lens precisely thanks to this year’s theme of Organ Vida which presents a plurality of understandings of the definition of the “new” and active citizen,” said Leila Topić, exhibition curator and jury member. The grand opening of the finalists’ exhibition will take place on Wednesday, Sep 6, 2017 at the Museum of Contemporary Art from 7 to 9 PM. The opening will be preceded by an artist talk by the renowned photographer Pieter Hugo, whose works will also be displayed at the Museum. After 9 PM, on the roof of the Museum, we will present the especially commended works that had been submitted to the open call, and we invite you to the opening party.”

Ingvar Kenne, CITIZEN

Side exhibitions of photography greats Pieter Hugo, Christine de Middel and Katrin Koenning

Among the remaining exhibitions, we would like to highlight the following: Highway by Davor Konjikušić in Gallery Šira; Jeliba, muette by Danko Stjepanović in Gallery ORIS; White Bears by Šeng Wen Lo, winner of last year’s portfolio review in Gallery Greta; and YU: The Lost Country by Dragana Jurišić in the new gallery of the Archeological Museum. Fotobookfestival Kassel: Photobook Exhibition will once again present the annual selection of the best photobooks from around the world. There will also be representative exhibitions of some of the world’s most interesting photographers. One of them is Pieter Hugo, whose exhibition at the Museum will present several of his projects, and the other is Christine de Middle, whose Shakification tells the story of favelas and the Brasilian government’s strategy to control them during the World Cup in 2014. Australian-German artist Katrin Koenning’s solo exhibition at Gallery Kranjčar will present her latest work Indefinitely, which reveals her particular interest in our physical and emotional relationship with the environment.

Dana Lixenberg – winner of the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2017

Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg will present her ongoing project Imperial Courts in which she documented the daily life in the eponymous suburb in Los Angeles. For 22 years (1993 – 2015) Lixenberg documented the everyday life and poverty in this notorious, troubled community, and her work depicts the marginal position in this lavish city and the state of social housing in the US, which is a very dangerous place controlled by gangs, and she emphasizes the racial aspects of segregation since the population of Imperial Courts is predominantly of colour and consequently also socially excluded. For her work Lixenberg was awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, one of the most prestigious photography prizes in the world awarded by The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

Beyond the Documentary Conference

This year, the discursive programme is largely encompassed by the one-day international conference Beyond the Documentary which leans on the main open call theme New Citizens. The conference is scheduled for Saturday, Sep 9, 2017 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and it will feature 12 speakers and a guest lecture by David Bate, professor of photography at the University of Westminster in London, who will talk about the contribution of Jacques Ranciere to the study of new documentary photography practices. The conference programme will also feature interesting lectures by numerous artists.

Lea Vene, conference coordinator, explains: “In the framework of the topic Beyond the Documentary we are interested in viewpoints that recognize the causes and consequences of the creation and (re)presenting images and that focus on the impossibility of representation. We are also concerned with the documentary, which today disintegrates into the stratified post-documentary which, among others things, may include a new form of ethical representation, a dialogue between the political and artistic/aesthetic, a transformation into the discursive, multidisciplinary, engaged and layered. New forms of visual communication refute the authenticity of the documentary, challenge representation as an act of one-way production of the visual and embrace the reciprocated gaze.”

In conclusion to the press conference, Paola Orlić, festival producer, pointed out: “Through its satellite programme, this year’s festival affirmed its collaboration with its long-term partners, but also achieved new partnerships, for example, with the Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Archeological Museum in Zagreb. With continuous work and quality and visible programme, the association Organ Vida strives for institutional stabilisation, which will be our goal in the following period, when we plan to participate in several European-level projects.”

More about Organ Vida Festival
Organ Vida Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, City Office for Education, Culture and Sport of the City of Zagreb, Zagreb Tourist Board, Mondriaan Fonds, Goethe-Institut Kroatien, and the Embassies of Australia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Main partner: MSU Zagreb
Partners: SC Culture of Change, Museum of Arts and Crafts (MUO), ORIS — House of Architecture, Academy of Dramatic Art, Galeries Šira, Kranjčar and Greta, Archeological Museum
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