The name «Versus» was chosen in relation to its etymological sense and its multiple, contradictory meanings: on one hand opposition, contrast, on the other hand a movement, a going towards. Interpreted as a clash, a conflict, versus recalls the binary oppositions of mind/body, culture/nature, man/animal that laid the foundations for the cesura between humanity and its environment defining modernity. Humans are rational separate beings, at the same time cause and remedy of the current situation of emergency thanks to their exceptional position of superiority and their ability to impact on ecosystems. It’s the age of the Anthropocene. Everything else, the living physical world surrounding and sustaining us, becomes the other. Nature is approached as a repository of information and supplier of resources, represented as idyllic or beastly, turned into a space for different projections and desires of savagery, purity, escape.
Thought instead in its original latin sense, as an adverb indicating motion, versus evokes a change of direction, a possible overcoming of this seemingly irreparable fracture. If the relationship with our environment has often been approached as appropriation, occupation or exploitation, bringing us to the current ecological crisis, maybe we can also try to envision forms of respectful cohabitation with the incredible variety of everything non-human, more than human, irrevocably enmeshed with the human. Thinking about ecology, then, really begins with the realization that we are all part of a complex and tangled plurality, that being always implicates a being-with and to exists always means to coexist.
Coexistence is the question at heart of the works presented in Versus, all engaged in interconnected reflections about ecology, the fragility of ecosystems, human presence in the natural landscape – increasingly spreading and at the same time increasingly imbued with elements of complexity and criticality. They present, through a vast and heterogeneous photographic language, investigations and hypotheses on the essential theme of our relation with nature. Within the context of the current climate crisis, photography has been often employed as a powerful instrument of information and denunciation, to show the tragic effects of our reckless intervention on the structure of this planet. On the strenght of their priviledged relationship with reality, these images can be shocking, alarming, sometimes moving. For the artists invited in this project, however, the focus in not necessarily on photography’s function as document, as straight representation.
To photograph also means spending time to, observe closely what surrounds us, to discover and meditate upon the stories we chose to tell; when taking images, we connect and respond to the world we are photographing, we become implicated with it. In Versus photography is thought and used as a practice of attention, a creative way of attending to, of caring for the organisms, creatures, lands, people, stories we encounter. A way of entering in relation with and becoming responsible for them, as a photographers and spectators. The photographers create visual tales full of powerful imagery and poetic evocations, presented in a continuous narration with musical scores immersing the spectator even more in these words made of bodies, stories, nature and culture. Images and ideas resonate, respond to each other, take new paths, inviting us to rethink our ways of perceiving, representing and being-with our environament. To re/imagine ecological relations and coexistence.
(Text by Rachele Ceccarelli)
Versus is a collective curatorship project to address the theme of ecology and coexistence through the creation of an engaging projection of projects by sixteen international photographers. Born from an idea of Valerie from the L’aberrante gallery (Chevenne), it involves the curatorial teams of Corpo Opaco (Montpellier), L’image a Venir (Brussels) and Fonderia 20.9 in Verona.
The project foresees a widespread projection in the three different countries in April, a meeting in the national park of Chevenne (France). The Artists involved are:
Arianna Senesi, Céline Clanet, Mélanie Paris, Helene David, Coline Jourdan, Léa Habourdin, Marina Caneve, Sofia Lopez Manan, Jan Stradtmann, Louis Perreault, Massimo Mastrorillo, Elena Aya Bundurakis, Marine Lanier, Yvette Monahan, Sebastian Lopez Brach, Marc Wendelski.
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Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
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