IF there’s one thing that’s on the mind of Europeans at the moment, it’s the question of immigration.
Whether in the northern European countries (destination points) or the southern nations (arrival points), you’re bound to encounter real division on the matter.
Naturally, as an issue that is gripping society, immigration is also proving to be an endless source of inspiration and work for photographers – particularly those unafraid of trying to tackle social issues.
The third edition of the Bitume photo festival focuses the theme of Identity Flows, often as occurs in the urban context. As a result, immigration is a theme that recurs pretty frequently in the selections for this year’s festival in Lecce [September 3 – 10].
This year, Bitume went international: after two years of exhibits in the south of Puglia, the project was awarded and expanded, and, as a result, the team hosted festivals in Malaga and Thessaloniki – in Spain and Greece – not coincidentally, the other two southern EU countries feeling the brunt of the humanitarian crisis.
Bitume’s growing stature as a photo festival [which incorporates large scale outdoor exhibits, workshops and a week-long residency for selected participants in addition to collateral indoor exhibits and other events] means that the program is brimming with both up-and-coming and established photographers.
There’s some interesting work on offer, and, because the urban experience is about more than just the question of immigration, there are some interesting and quirky projects that are part of the line-up that don’t seek to address the immigration issue.
I‘ll post about the immigration projects in another post, but in the meantime, I’ve scanned through and noted what I think are going to be some of the highlights of the program.
I’m looking forward to getting up close and personal with Giorgio Di Noto’s The Valley: its black and white city-scapes seem to be silver plated, as well as Jan Stradtmann’s mysterious Subversive Eclipse project which has a golden glow to it and was a result of his stay here at last year's festival. Stradtmann’s location scout deserves an award, but credit as usual to Jan for the classy shots he’s able to pull off in challenging light.
Elsewhere, while most of Europe starts to pack its bags and head home from their vacations, Jorge Fuembuena’s Holidays reminds us of the relationship between people and nature and the immense and illusory pull of vacation spots. It does so while Fuembuena somehow elevates ordinary scenes to the extraordinary.
Another highlight I'm going to seek out is Angélica Dass’ Humanae in which the Pantone colour series is recreated through the tones of people’s skin. It’s already proved to be a huge hit on social media, so I’m looking forward to seeing it in person.
Finally, of the non-migration projects, Gloria Casto’s In Attesa has really piqued my interest and made me chuckle which is a good starting point. Her collection features some fun, well framed photos of inanimate objects which have ended up in accidental or unexpected places due to unintended uses. They were the result of the 2014's residency/workshop, and photographed in the quarter in which I now live.
Bitume returns to its spiritual home of Lecce and kicks off with a guided walk through the historical centre, in which artists will be present to talk about their work on September 3.
More information on the website, alternatively give the crew some love on Facebook or Twitter.
Is it just me or did Rudy Giuliani have a lobotomy at some undisclosed time in the past?
I remember back in the nineties (?) when he was the mayor of New York and kind of like the international template for what a mayor could be. No? Well I tried.
But thank God for the Fox channels so that he can magically appear on it and remind us of how important he is and make sweeping statements.
Hello! How dare you even put yourself in the same sentence of BEYONCE!
Her transformation from prom haired poppet to reigning queen of the world was made complete this weekend when she toppled Madge's record at the VMA awards. They're more important than the Nobel prizes people. And now she's got two more than Veronica.
While I'm at it, I also want to thank God for the Youtube pastors seeing as Beyonce forgot to do so.
They're like the street prophets of the new age but like, so digital.
This one is one of my favourites and not a closet case at all! How dare you!
His credentials for guiding us through his clearly long and complicated life of experiences are unquestionable. And he doesn't even need a cross on his walls. He has Alaskan malamutes instead! I wonder if he has one of those full moon wolf t-shirts too. Forget his incorrect citations of song titles and poor contextual references to the glory that is Beyonce. The facts are not what he's about. He's about getting Sasha fierce with everybody that is blocking the truth and the light.
So in addition to saying thanks to Fox news, I want to thank God for Youtube, because without it, we wouldn't be reminded that Beyonce is not only the newly crowned VMA queen, but she has also eclipsed Madge as the illuminati's queen and of course, Satan's favourite Messiah.
Thank you Vigilant Christian!
You've proved to me that the world just keeps getting better and that information is power even if I have the urge to watch a Joanne the Scammer video after seeing you.
Got to get back into the swing of thinking again after a month's break.
Some of you out there might also need a bit of mental exercise, so try and stay with me.
We're going to do a socio-geographical exercise together. If that's not a real term then I already get a bonus point for thinking up a new term that will doubtlessly end up being one of 2016's new additions to the English language.
Now you need to carefully study the two pictures that accompany this post. They're both picturesque stock photos of landmarks and probably recent enough to be indicative of the the cities they represent.
Okay, first stumbling block. One is a city state and the other is widely considered a great big country town with a harbour. But for simplicity let's just call them representative.
One of these cities is chock full of disgruntled queens. The other, Sydney, also has its fair share of unhappy queens, but for differing reasons.
One has a history that traces back hundreds and hundreds of years- replete with its own banking, postal and diplomatic systems. The other only dreams of having that kind of cred.
One has its tentacles firmly entrenched in the business of the larger state that land locks it- a place home to at least 65 million- and whose modern history has often had to be curbed in deference to the undeniable influence that radiates from its walls. A place that has defied and mocked the modern world's emphasis on democracy and church/state, which continues to remain omnipresent even today.
The other is a seemingly unpretentious place, built as much on the idea of modernism as it is on conventions like freedom and equality. Yes there's some nasty nepotism to be found, some unruly groups who are tired of the cultural melting pot and of minorities, but for the most part, a place that doesn't appreciate the meddling of institutions like the church in the affairs of its citizens.
So, back to our quiz.
Today, in 2016, despite the concerted efforts of the church, the passive aggressive meddling of the Vatican and its leader, the conservative media and an endless assortment of private lobby groups, same sex couples can now marry (sorry, have a civil union) in this country.
Yet, to appease a handful of conservatives in a political party, bank rolled and supported as they are by an assortment of private lobby groups, a comparatively minuscule church - which, does not represent the public position of other Christian entities, LGBT couples are still being denied not only the right to be legally recognised, but the bare minimum of respect to have their plight debated in parliament. Parliament, a place which by definition exists to discuss the issues faced by the people and not by political groups who seek to simply retain and renew their grip over power.
Never thought I would live to see the day that Italy offered a set of rights to a segment of its people- despite considerable opposition from a church that still spiritually steers it (and profits from it)- that Australia- a declared secular country thought to be at the forefront of modernity, civility and community spirit won't.
You can spin it all you want Aussies but it's a sad, sad day when a handful of career politicians can undermine democracy just because they can.
HEARTBREAKING week here in Italy with a looming sense of de ja vu to it for many Italians.
As we know, the central Italian earthquake that struck last week at 3.36am August 24 decimated towns across the central Italian belt, its impact most felt in the town of Amatrice - birthplace of the famous Amatriciana pasta recipe] and killed hundreds of locals and tourists.
Italians have been generous in the wake of events, opening their wallets and donating all kinds of objects. Italian restauranteurs have also jumped aboard the fund raising wagon, and many are now donating 2 euro for every plate of Amatriciana ordered.
The earthquake was felt across central Italy - as far as Rome - and since the main event there have been almost 1,000 aftershocks that have made themselves felt.
Some Italians have an eerie sense of de ja vu: once again, the earthquake struck in the middle of the night around 3am [just as it did in the devastating 2009 earthquake in nearby L'Aquila] and once again, buildings that were commissioned [and publicly funded] to be earthquake proof collapsed in last week's events.
The devastating feeling that many mourning in Italy have is that Italy will be incapable of rebuilding the towns and hamlets given its past performances in similar circumstances.
Many Italians are worried that Amatrice and the other towns affected by the seismic events will languish, just as L'Aquila continues to do seven years on, a reminder of the shameful ineffectiveness and perceived corruption thought to be rife across some parts of the Italian authorities.
A longer look at Amatrice here.
JUST Loved this one this morning.
It's easy to write off what is happening in some parts of Europe as people having lost their minds.
It doesn't take a psychology degree to understand there are broad swathes of French society that are clearly dealing with PTS after the recent horror period they've experienced.
Not to be trite, but you also don't need a degree in sociology or history to understand that France in particular has work to do with its relationships with its former North African colonies. The fact that there are so many ghettos in modern day France is not going to improve things.
But this nonsense about the Burkini is out of control. I have never really looked to Wall Street for any guidance at any time in my life, but I have to say, the Wall Street Journal has a great article about how farsical the whole Burkini issue is.
You can read it here.
I refuse to admit it, but I probably should accept that Summer is coming to an end.
All kinds of things have been keeping me busy this year: sun, sand, friends... it's been a peachy beachy summer this year.
Spare a thought for these guys and gals in Polignano a Mare, in Puglia, but about an hour and a half's drive from here. One of my favourite places to visit, even if this style of visiting is crazy!
Short video here.
Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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