Bird in Flight 2020 – photohacks in Kyiv
One of the advantages of the corona lockdown is that exhibitions can take new forms that help us stay at home. KABK alumni Asya Zhetvina and Dmitry Kostyukov have been curating a photography exhibition which simultaneously takes place in the streets of Kyiv and online. The online version of the exhibition includes bonus features that the physical audience of Bird in Flight have to miss. Even more so, if passers-by have no eye for photography they are no more than extras within the presentation.
The Bird in Flight 2020 project is the result of a photography competition of the eponymous magazine, but the corona crisis forced the organizers to follow a different path than the traditional gallery exhibitions in which the nominees were usually presented. Consequently the 10 selected projects of international photographers are given a new meaning within the new context. The photo series are shown as temporary pamphlets on walls, fences and windows in the city center of the Ukrainian capitol. The pictures will stay visible for passers-by until they are removed or damaged. All passers-by, active or passive, are given a role within the project. Removing the images functions as a complementary intervention to hanging the photos by the organizers. Surveillance cameras register the degradation process, which can be followed 24/7 until December 6 through the project website.
The most eye-catching project is the fictional photo album of the Italian photographer Silvia Rossi in which color plays a leading role. With the help of props, poses and decorative backgrounds, Rossi returns to her own family history which started in Togo. With self-mockery and irony, the photographer takes on various roles in which both traditional cultural aspects and the history of her parents are being criticized, celebrated and commented.
Paola Jimenez Quispe from Peru shows a visual research on her father, who was murdered in his car in the streets of Lima. After seeing his death picture on the internet, she tried to create a relationship with the father figure she never knew. Quispe uses found images, documents, objects and conversations as a tool to reconstruct the past and to feel some sort of mourning. The photo series takes on a double meaning by posting the private material on the street. As pictures of an investigation, there is both distance and rapprochement. The passers-by become bystanders in the case with the surveillance camera as a silent witness. A standing street tile at the scene of the murder becomes a photographic gravestone on the wall.
Cut Me A Smile is a photo series by Karoline Schneider from Germany. Her poetic portraits, made with classical photographic techniques, acquire a literary quality with the addition of fragmentary texts and graphic images. Presented in the intimacy of an alley, the series works like a found album to be found by those who are not in a hurry.
Gloria Oyarzabal (Spain) uses historical and contemporary imagery to address the Western beauty ideal as it was imposed in Africa in colonial times. In the images we see how the image is exploited both culturally and commercially. At the same time, there is hope in the increasingly free manner young women nowadays deal with stereotypes. Woman Go No’gree, a reference to the woman who won’t listen, from a song by the famous Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.
Bird in Flight can be seen online until December 6, 2020. The visibility of the photography depends on the urge of the Ukrainian citizens to destroy or remove.