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Foam ask the question: What´s Next?


In 2011 Foam Amsterdam celebrates their 10 year anniversary. Instead of looking back doing retrospectives they decided to dedicate the whole year to look forward and ask the question: What´s Next? Foam invites anyone to join this discussion in a search for the future of photography, or more broadly, for the future of a medium and a society in transition.

For the time being, photography is in transition, still in the beginning of digitalisation. To be a photographer today you don´t even need a camera to make images. You use your phone or you simply use your computer to appropriate someone else’s images. “We´re putting the question out there” says Marcel Feil, Deputy Director at Foam. “There are all these companies providing us with tools like smart phones with cameras, portable computers in all sizes and shapes, search functions, social networks etc. And we just accept this and start using them without reflecting on it.” Feil continues. “And this without thinking about what happens if we use them.”

The What´s Next? project started already in the beginning of the year in Foam in Amsterdam where an “expert meeting” took place in March: 15 experts with different experiences of photography where invited to make a 10 minute speech on the subject. Among the invited where Thomas Ruff (photographer/artist), Tony Chambers (Editor-in-Chief Wallpaper Magazine), Lidewij Edelkoort (trendwatcher). Foam also produced special leaflets distributed with their Foam Magazine where other artists, photographers, bloggers, teachers and curators could make a statement on the theme.

The Foam questioning is continuing in Arles where they have turned La Bourse du Travail into a workshop and laboratory. They have invited students from L’École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie Arles and Gerrit Rietveld Academie to work on a daily fanzine, Red Light Radio is broadcasting every day between 17.00 and 19.00 and Marcel Feil is moderating Q&A sessions with special guests from the photography world like Kathy Ryan of the New York Times Magazine, the artist Willem Popelier and Sam Stourdzé of Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne. On the walls you´ll find works of Daniëlle van Ark, Constant Dullaart, Joris Jansen, Katja Mater, Jaap Scheeren & Hans Gremmen, Anne de Vries and Vincent Zedelius and in the area of La Roquette Foam has asked cafes and shops to display work of photographers from Foam Magazine’s Talent issues.

The grand finale of the celebration will be a special issue of Foam Magazine – a sort of What´s Next? collection and an exhibition in Amsterdam in November.

For daily updates and more info have a look at the What Next? Website where you also can contribute with your own vision on What´s Next?!

Magnus Naddermier

Rencontres d’Arles
July 4th to September 4th 2011

What’s Next?
Foamin La Bourse du Travail
3, rue Parmentier

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