In the past few weeks I have been assisting the curators of the Brighton Photo Biennial 2012, preparing for the press launch that took place on Monday evening at The Photographers’ Gallery.
The culmination of our months of planning added to the buzz of anticipation at the press reception as advocates eagerly awaited to hear the programme line up, which the Photoworks team have had to keep under wraps until now…
Launched by Photoworks’ Director, Emma Morris, alongside the Curators, Celia Davies and Dr Benedict Burbridge, the Brighton Photo Biennial 2012 will be “taking the festival out to the people […] breaking down the traditional barriers of galleries and surprising audiences” – complimenting this year’s theme;Agents of Change: Photography and the Politics of Space. I find this transgression of space a particularly exciting element of the Biennial, which will feature many shows across a variety of complimentary spaces, expanding far beyond the limits of the gallery wall.
Someone Else’s Home (working title) will examine political squatting in Brighton, taking the form of a newspaper distributed across the city for free, drawing on and fostering debate. Its focus on Brighton is particularly poignant as the MP for Hove, Mike Weatherley, was the principal advocate for the recent criminalisation of squatting by the Coalition government.
Photoworks have commissioned a piece of work entitled, October, by Thomson & Craighead, which takes the form of a film installation – drawing on YouTube footage of the recent Occupy protests. A compass is projected on the floor and points to the locations where the videos were originally filmed. The piece examines the relationship between geographical space and the Internet: the role online organisation plays in shaping offline activism. Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, who was one of our guests at the press launch, will be writing an article on October in the next issue of Photoworks magazine.
Social media has been accredited as a force behind recent political uprisings, but such a digital dialogue has been matched by a strong sense of community and action on the streets. It was great to see Ronnie Close at the launch, whose work will be shown as part of the Alternative News Agency (working title) exhibition during the Biennial. Close has been living in Cairo and filming the Ultras – football fans involved in the revolution. His recent work has examined how the group is composed of individuals from a diverse variety of backgrounds, brought together through common interest and the recent events in Egypt.
As the programme demonstrates, the Biennial’s theme highlights the most pressing and topical contemporary events and issues. BPB12 situates Brighton internationally, forging connections between squatting in London Road and occupying Tahrir Square.
To find out more about the Brighton Photo Biennial, please visit our website at www.bpb.org.uk
Published on 20 July 2012
Submitted by Edwin Coomasaru
Edited by Photoworks