FLUCHT IN DIE ÖFFENTLICHKEIT
The 10th edition of f/stop—Festival for Photography Leipzig opens up a space for actions on the threshold between individual care and political effectiveness and uses photography and cinematography as media for looking into the relationship of visibility and oppositionality from a historical as well as a contemporary perspective. The festival’s jubilee edition points out possible ways of visualizing activist practices without limiting their agency and highlights the political dimension of image production against the backdrop of current societal debates and global crises.
The festival title “Flucht in die Öffentlichkeit” refers to a controlled outward movement as a possible strategy of artistic, political and activist work. The German household expression is used e. g. when talking about whistle blowers who seek protection through publication, bringing their incriminating material to a broad public which can act as a safe space in confrontations with institutions or companies. Visibility is used as a control mechanism which calls on the public opinion for support for critical actions.
In the GDR, “Flucht in die Öffentlichkeit” meant demonstrating steadfastness and unity, as opposed to subliminal disruptive government strategies. Visibly announcing cultural event, e. g., would provoke a public reaction by law enforcement in cases when they tried to stop these events.
“Flucht in die Öffentlichkeit” remains an efficient strategy in today’s activist struggles—be it Iran’s feminist movement or the fight against climate change—when they conceptualize individual worries as a collective desire and provoke a reaction from a seemingly overpowering opponent. The festival transposes the ongoing debate about care as an alternative form of collective solidarity onto the areas of image production, public space(s) and activism, thus highlighting the potentials and the scope of practices of care. A special focus will be placed on archival approaches and how they take on responsibility for the past.
A program of exhibitions, art residencies, workshops, a symposium and a catalog will allow artists working in Leipzig and the region into a dialogue with international artists and establish relations between historical artistic positions from the 1970s and onward and contemporary photographic practices.
The festival itself will move out into the open in an attempt to challenge the city, its fragmented publics and its institutions through photographic and cinematographic practice and confront them with today’s pressing issues. Consequently, the festival’s key questions is, how can radical care be brought to the audience as a political attitude, and how can it help us re-think our social coexistence?