Beyond the Wall: North East South West  

Curated by Francesco Finotto
October, 8th 2023
Click on image to open interactive panoramas
Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea | Spazio Mostre "I.Battistella"

Beyond the Wall: North East South West

Smartphone and social media have changed photography, haven’t they? We can say, Yes a little - if we think about the technical way of recording or photographic styles; whereas we can say, Yes a lot - if we think of the way of consumption and sharing. The change from analogue to digital system was more significant, not only for the way of recording with light, using sensor instead of a film, but also for the way of taking photographs, shooting, post-producing and sharing. This change has made it possible to see the shot immediately, to use very high sensitivities for snapshots taken in the dark without using a flash, and above all, it has made it possible to use dedicated software and specific styles, to apply algorithms capable of detecting the scene automatically and suggesting the best point for shooting. Social media came later, although the connection between social media and digital photography is very strong, digital development has provided image producers and advertisers with a global and seemingly limitless market. In addition, access to unlimited databases allows the synthetic generation of digital images from texts, using machine learning and multiplying creative possibilities. Synthography method resembles photographs which resemble paintings which resemble reality. This is a fantastic circuit for the production of stories that look like true stories.
Something similar also happened with music. Until the mid-1960s, entering a studio to record a piece of music meant using technology to record a musical performance that could be played live. The recording studio could be more or less state-of-art, could allow recording on two, four or eight tracks, could have had sophisticated editing and mixing systems, but, like a photographic snapshot it was about documenting something that had actually happened and that could have been reproduced by the musicians themselves live. The musical fact was unique, it could have been written on a score, performed live, recorded and distributed all over the world, but it remained the documentation of a moment. Then one day, the Beatles, tired of playing around the world in concerts where their music was overwhelmed by the screams of their fans, entered the Abbey Road studios, and according to the memoirs of Geoff Emerick the Apple sound engineer who accompanied them, began to produce songs that they would have never played live, inserting unreproducible, curious and surprising sounds, recording noises, short loops, inserting backwards-edited tracks, experimenting with sounds never heard before. With Revolver first and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band soon after, the musical recording freed itself from the servitude of documentation and opened the doors to creativity and post-production, and finally, to synthetic music, allowing concerts to be flooded with pre-recorded sequences and backing tracks soon after.
To this extent, music and photography recording have had parallel paths. Music and images have invaded our lives. Nowadays, everyone listens to music on any musical device and no one sings along anymore. Music has disappeared from workplaces and collective rituals. No one sings in the street or whistles on a bicycle any more. People go on holiday to take pictures of familiar sights, go to the Louvre to take a selfie in front of the Mona Lisa and then move on.  And yet, in this world which is so attentive by the consumption of images, the space for reflection, discussion and photographic confrontation has not diminished; indeed, the possibilities of growth and comparison have grown enormously. If the internet has given everyone the opportunity to post their own food on the net, it has also made it possible to access the archives of the world's major photographic institutions, to track down photographic books that are now out of print, but above all to learn about the research of artists and authors from all over the world.
More than Photographic Fairs, which are primarily turned to the market, there have been exhibitions and photographic shows that let it possible to make an analysis, to study cultural traditions, ways of representing and telling through images. Following this logical thread, for the second consecutive year with the project N.E.S.W. over the hedge culturaincorso in collaboration with the Musei Civici Sandonatesi brings together in the same exhibition hall four different perspectives on the world, four masters of international photography, choosing four different ways of declining dream and intimacy, hope and vulnerability, coexistence and silence.

Md. Enamul Kabir, a freelance photographer from Dhaka, documents the pervasiveness of animals in many urban environments, a wild route to ecological coexistence in large cities, highlighting the beauty, resilience and adaptability of wildlife, emphasizing the value of conservation and restoration of habitats within our urban spaces, to build cities that embrace nature.

Markus Lehr presents urban nightscapes, mainly of Berlin, that uncover an alternative side of the city, devoid of traffic and tourists, of clubs and culture, and instead represent the beauty, peace and quiet of the night, when the show is over and the light is still directed at the stage, when no one is looking at it anymore. Still photographs that restore tranquillity and refreshing elegance, allowing us to savour the intimate details and cinematic atmosphere.

Lee-Ann Olwage is a South African visual storyteller who uses collaborative storytelling to explore themes related to gender and identity; with the girls of Kakenya's Dream school, who escaped female genital mutilation and child marriage, she tells how the world changes when girls are given the opportunity to study in an environment that supports them and feeds their dreams.

Bulgarian-born Valery Poshtarov started taking portraits of fathers and sons holding hands for the first time in years, sometimes decades, after the pandemic. Holding hands became a way to unite something that had been unintentionally separated, revealing many important aspects of the father-son relationship, their vulnerability, and their different levels of interaction and acceptance.

Francesco Finotto

© Toni Garbasso