Open Call for the Exhibition Still in Motion: Photographic Journeys

Travelling encompasses a variety of nuances. One can move physically from one place to another as a tourist or traveller, but people also migrate for personal reasons or are forced to flee due to catastrophes. Yet, journeys can also happen on a metaphorical plane. Thoughts and imaginations are on a voyage through places, spaces and times, while daydreaming, reading a book, listening to music, watching a film etc. And mind and body are wandering and getting transformed into another state of being, when sleeping, dreaming or dying. Also objects travel. A pen, forgotten on a table, can finally end up in another person´s bag, while banknotes and coins are constantly moving from one hand to another. Letters and postcards are still physically sent from one continent to another and e-mails are travelling through the virtual space.

For all that, each travel inherits the potential to create a visionary outcome, as Ibn Battuta wrote “Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Photographs are silent on an audible layer and void of movement, but at the same time possess the ability to narrate and depict tales of voyages. Cameras are popular travel-companions, and also photographs themselves are, due to their minimal weight and reproductive character, they travel with ease. Roland Barthes even described photography as a “weightless, transparent envelope.”

These aspects turn photographs into nomadic storytellers. The photograph as an object can move without difficulty from one place to another, while its still surface is showing “lasting traces” of voyages of the past. Engaging with these traces might let the viewers’ mind start to move and initiate another imaginative mental journey, or bring back unconscious memories.

The group-show Still in Motion: Photographic Journeys will be curated by Agnes Rameder (Vienna), Houtan Nourian (Bologna), Saeedeh Setayesh (Shiraz/Zurich) and Sahar Samadian (Tehran). The exhibition will be travelling from Vienna to Bologna in November to Shiraz in December 2021 and to Tehran in January in autumn/winter 2021-2022. Thereby the show turns into an embodiment of the topic.

For this exhibition, we are looking for various stories of different kinds of journeys from artists, who are based in Vienna, Bologna, Shiraz and Tehran. We welcome a variety of photographic approaches and visual strategies. All exhibited artworks should be in a travel-friendly size and format and should engage with one of the following questions:

  • How do photography and traveling relate and interact with each other? How do artists visualize physical, imaginative and mental journeys in photo-related art-practices?
  • How can the story of travel be told via photography? How can a journey, which naturally involves movement, be depicted motionless?
  • How do artists reflect upon the reproductive character of photographs in connection to the medium´s ability to travel easily?
  • How can a photograph that depicts a journey be the starting point for another journey?

We warmly welcome applications (proposed artwork, short statement how the artwork matches with the topic of the exhibition, portfolio, CV) until July 10 2020 to and are looking forward to your submissions.

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