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Announcing the Theme of FotoFocus Biennial 2016

Posted on April 8, 2015

FotoFocus Announces Photography, the Undocument

FotoFocus Biennial 2016 Theme

FotoFocus, a month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art in Cincinnati, Ohio, is pleased to announce the theme for the third edition of its Biennial: Photography, the Undocument. The Undocument questions the documentary character of photography, exploring the boundaries between facts and fabrications.

About the Theme

Photography is identified with objectivity, documentation, and realism. Yet the medium essentially abstracts the visible world, reducing its surfaces to two dimensions, editing down to a narrowly chosen single frame, and often presenting the world in black and white. Digital technologies of recent decades, allowing for seamless manipulation of photographs, have further eroded photography’s documentary authority. Surrealism historically played on these contradictions, conjuring from within the photographic image the eerie, the uncanny, and the outright bizarre. “Beauty will be convulsive,” wrote André Breton in 1928, referring to art’s ability to break the surface of realism, of the everyday, to reveal sudden insights, even truths. The Undocument is an exploration of alternate understandings of the documentary photograph—its claims to objective realism and simultaneous potential for pure fantasy.

For the FotoFocus Biennial 2016, participating venues are invited to propose exhibitions that examine the wide sphere of activity between photography’s documentary tradition and such challenged notions as “objectivity,” or “authenticity;” to photography as a means of questioning “realism” and “reality;” to photography as a medium easily capable of fictions of fabrications. While any photograph may be examined through the lens of the subjective, the artificial—as an un-document—projects that emphasize and actively explore this idea in a given body (or bodies) of work are strongly encouraged.

Press Release as a PDF: FotoFocus Announces Theme of FotoFocus Biennial 2016: Photography, the Undocument