From Saturday 08 December 2007 to Saturday 22 December 2007
Authors : Jan Adriaans - Phil Brook - Catherine Cameron - Eduardo Cervera - Chan-Hyo Bae - Yang Chengde - Revi Deepre - Elaine Duigenan - Ernst Fischer - Nicolai Howalt - Nigel Jackson - Wang Jun - Max Kandhola - Ayoung Kim - Astrid Krusel - All authors.
The ancient Chinese character for ‘shadow’ contains the ideogram for ‘day’ and within its graphic transformation of the light of day into dark shadows one can see a miniature illustration of the birth of and interconnectedness between the ancient Chinese philosophical concepts of substance and vacuity, being and nothingness. In Western languages, the term ‘shadow’ often refers to the unreal, the supernatural, gloom and other negative things. The term alchemy, the medieval school of philosophical and experimental inquiry into the nature of things and forerunner of modern chemistry, is commonly used today in reference to a process through which thing are turned beyond the ordinary. The Alchemy of Shadows will take us back to the 1830s, to the birth of photography when photographers first used
chemicals to develop and preserve images for the renewed amazement of the viewer. In an image-saturated era such as ours, the sense of pure bewilderment before an image, an entire world produced out of the flash convergence of space and time, has been lost.
The Alchemy of Shadows will also evoke the genius and talent required by art photography: the mastery of time and atmosphere, the ability to turn the ordinary into the miraculous, a gift for transcending time and space in the blink of an eye, and the expertise to sculpt the likeliness of a world. In the lens of the contemporary photographer, this talent takes the form of an impulse to create ever more possible worlds out of the nuances of light and shadow.
Photography is an event in the continuity of the world, not a meaningless moment of nothing. It is not the solidification of decisive moments because it does not intend to present to us a segment of linear time. Nor is its meaning limited to being a connector between consecutive moments along the time axis. Photography is a container of time. What it contains and conceals is a lost moment of life. Photography seals moments of time, and fixes them in images in order to make them permanent – from a moment to permanence.
Because of this dramatic transformation, people ignore the continuity of time in the course ofrecording, exposing and presenting images. This is a delay between the parallel worlds of image and reality, in which the passage of time is forgotten.
Photography takes place within the duration of time, and occurs in the mysterious realms of our time-based world as well. As an attempt to live up literally to its name, i.e. ‘writing with light’, and with the help of photographic memory, photography strives to stage a ‘play of shadows’, a spectacle of silhouettes begot of light, in the theater of time, revealing the shape of time for all to see. That is the magic of The Alchemy of Shadows.
1. Academic. The 2007 edition will explore photography beyond the esthetic, focusing on the
concept of photography as an experience and exploring existentialism in photography and
its anthropological implications. The academic lecture panel will be the stage of a crossdisciplinary
reflection on photography and the photographic experience and will include
audio-visual presentations of in-depth and rigorous cultural studies research.
2. Thematic. Enhancing the festival’s cultural mission, this year’s central theme The Alchemy of Shadows will head a host of well-planned thematic exhibitions that will explore contemporary photography in terms of its nature as an event taking place in world, its temporality and narrative capacity through the academic theme exhibition The Theater of Time.
3. Experimental. This year LIPF will take the relationship between photography and contemporary art experimentation one step further by hosting a show of the most recent works of experimental art photography.
4. Interactive. Three events promoting public participation will to enhance LIPF’s mission as an interactive and inclusive festival. Designed to draw media attention, these special events will widen the festival’s impact by opening up the media space and turning it into a prime festival location.