Best of 2018: Lars Willumeit, independent curator, author, and art educator

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Jules Spinatsch’s Semiautomatic Photography (2003 – 2020) at Centre de la photographie Genève
Jules Spinatsch is an exceptional figure, not only in contemporary Swiss photography but also internationally. Few artists of his generation working with the medium of photography have been as prescient in terms of exploring and interrogating the technologically-ingrained programmes and biases of the medium, especially in the context of the digital turn. The exhibition Semiautomatic Photography (2003 – 2020) at Centre de la photographie Genève, curated by Jörg Bader, brings together works from the past 17 years, reflecting his long-term commitment to the specific sets of social practices and human-machine interfaces that we have commonly chosen to sum up under the term photography.

The Lucy Art Residency
Application to the Lucy Art Residency program is open to all visual artists working with the medium of photography, irrespective of age or educational background. Nikolas Ventourakis its artistic director and co-founder, along with Maria Mitzali. And, if Kavala is maybe not the most exciting town in Greece, what it lacks in size and nightlife it makes up with the great team and the changing international jury, which runs the residency programme with full commitment, enabling both engaging and relaxed encounters between artists and other professionals in the field.

The VOID workshop in progress at the Lucy Art Residency, image courtesy the Lucy Art Residency

Why exhibit? Positions on Exhibiting Photographies, edited by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Iris Sikking, published by Fw:Books
This volume, published by Fw:Books and masterminded by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Iris Sikking as editors, offers a timely compendium of writings on a somewhat discursive blind-spot of our field. By bringing together texts by (or interviews with) 28 curators, scholars, photographers, and artists based in the field of contemporary photography, this volume aims to “provide a foundation for a wider discourse about exhibiting photographies in the twenty-first century”.

Why exhibit? Positions on Exhibiting Photographies, edited by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Iris Sikking, published by Fw:Books
Why exhibit? Positions on Exhibiting Photographies, edited by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Iris Sikking, published by Fw:Books

Data & Matter, the Spectrum – Photography in Switzerland weekend in Soglio
Spectrum – Photography in Switzerland was established in 2017 as an association of Swiss photographic institutions and individual members, who are active in collecting, mediating, processing, and discussing photography. The association promotes communication, and networking, and supports contact with politics and cultural policy. The website provides visitors with map of the Swiss scene and a periodic online specials. The annual Spectrum Weekend provides a social hub; for this edition the location was Swiss photographer Raymond Meier’s studio complex in Soglio. The focus Data & Matter included workshops on platinum-palladium printing with Raymond Meier and Regula Müdesbacher, and lectures and discussions with the Israeli artist Ilit Azoulay and the German artist Florian Freier, plus a keynote lecture by Bernd Stiegler, The Digital Turn–Revisited.

Transbordeur – Photography, History, Society journal 
In terms of publications, Transbordeur – Photography, History, Society, an annual journal published in Geneva in both English and French, was a revelation. The transporter bridge in Marseille, from which the journal takes its name, serves as the metaphor to convey their agenda of “transition between disciplines and between intellectual traditions”. As Transbordeur’s editorial states: “It is some thirty years since we outgrew the ideology of the image as the expression of an individual consciousness; this is why we must now focus on the collective technical constructs that determine their social existence. This is the goal of our journal”.

Transbordeur issues 1 and 2
Spread from Transbordeur 2