Wednesday 3 August 2011

Noorderlicht International Photography Festival 2011

© Michael Wolf

The press release for the 18th Noorderlicht International Photo Festival in Groningen (18 September-9 October 2011) has just landed on our desks here at 1000 Words and looks very promising.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than half of the world's population live in urban areas. In two successive exhibitions Noorderlicht is examining the consequences of this development for both the countryside and the city. After Land – Country Life in the Urban Age in 2010, from 11 September through 9 October 2011 the photo festival Metropolis – City Life in the Urban Age will be seen in Groningen. This multifaceted and innovative exhibition will provide insight into a process that touches everyone, directly or indirectly.

“The” city doesn't exist. Although cities are at the heart of modern society – certainly now that 3.3 billion people are packed onto 3 percent of the earth's surface – they are not all exactly the same in nature. The city is an feverish economic, cultural and social nerve centre; it is the place where the dreams of architects and urban planners come to life or collide with recalcitrant reality. Cities grow wildly, sometimes anarchically, and swallow up everything in the vicinity. They suck in people who – successfully, or in vain – are in search of a better life. In the midst of an oppressive massiveness, people are still able to carve out a small space for themselves and find their own fulfilment. The city is a place that offers opportunities and dashes hopes, where you can be seen everywhere and at all times but where you can equally well be completely alone.

From Michael Wolf's traumatised faces in the Tokyo subway to Michael Najjar's sterile futuristic urban landscapes, on the basis of work by more than eighty photographers from The Netherlands and other countries, in Metropolis Noorderlicht exposes the many sides of the city. To do this, Noorderlicht breaks new ground, both in terms of content and design. The six 'chapters' and the unusual arrangement in the main locations offer space to the city, and bring across Noorderlicht's view of the city in an insightful and perceptive manner.

Metropolis is a city of images, an exhibition about the soul of urban society.

Click on the links for more information on the participating photographers, the Metropolis - City Life in the Urban Age exhibition and to read an interview with the curator Wim Mellis.