Opportunity / 1 Jul 2019

Open Call - Backlight Festival 2020

Backlight Photo Festival is one of the oldest and largest international photography festivals in Northern Europe. Organised once every three years by the Photographic Centre Nykyaika in the city of Tampere, Finland, Backlight exhibits contemporary photography of social and global importance.

Now in its 16th edition, the triennial stays true to its pioneering spirit in the theme for the upcoming 2020 festival: Related Realities. The 16th Backlight Photo Festival triennial establishes a presentation space for works by creators of fine photographic art and explorers of the scientific world.

Open Call

Backlight Photo Festival welcomes submissions for exhibiting work in the form of an open call. We invite artists of all ages and nationalities to submit photography and art projects related to the theme from June 1 – October 31, 2019. Submission is open to individuals and collectives worldwide and is free of charge.

Those interested in submitting are asked to read the outline of the Related Realities theme and to submit online. Artists will need to write as part of the application an explanation for how their work fits with the theme. The “Project description” field and its “summary” are intended for this purpose.

Backlight 2020: When and where?

Backlight opens from September – October 2020 (exact dates to be announced) in and around the city of Tampere. The main venues of the triennial are Tampere Art Museum, Gallery Himmelblau and Culture House Laikku. Supporting venues (to be confirmed) include Photographic Centre Nykyaika and other galleries, as well as public spaces e.g. the Ratina shopping centre and Tampere University campus.

Works that will be shipped to the festival must be ready for shipment by June 2020 at the latest, and works that will be printed on location must be provided to the organizer also by this deadline.

Theme Related Realities

Earlier this year, artists and scientists revealed the first visual illustrations and evidence of a black hole in the M87 galaxy. Meanwhile, experiments in quantum physics showed that there is no such thing as one objective shared reality, but rather, multiple co-existing realities. Inspired by these revelations, Backlight Photo Festival announces the theme for its 2020 edition: Related Realities.

How do different realities relate – or not – to each other? And what could their impact be in our daily lives or in politics, if we saw the connections between them? If there are different realities, can we trust reality-as-truth? Backlight invites artists and photographers to submit photographic works, installations, augmented reality, virtual reality and multimedia projects that investigate and discover the connections between a multiplicity of our world’s realities, using science, technology and art. We hope to see inspiring works that will attract not only curators and specialists but also new audiences, who would see art as a critical intervention and a catalyst of change.

From challenges such as the unsustainability of economic growth, the immigrant versus expatriate, the coming extinction of fossil fuels, the Trolley Problem and self-driving cars, to new technology that lets us see a supernova exploding in a galaxy about 930 million light-years away, gravitational waves below the level of the nucleus, and to the politics of the spectacular images of outer space, we ask you to look at the micro and the macro, and to share with us the connections you see in our realities, in imaginative, surprising and evocative ways.

The approach you take in doing so is open. You are free to use computer-assisted photography, virtual technologies, added and mixed realities, and sound and exhibition design. Or you might go for a more straightforward approach. The choice is yours. We encourage collaboration with researchers but do not require it. Research and science can be perceived and analysed from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including the humanities, social sciences, media studies, philosophy, history, environmental studies, psychology, medicine, and technology.

We hope that your work may lead to new ways of seeing current global and local problems—as well as our own sense of being in the world.