THE FUTURE IS EXPERIMENTAL
An interview with Laura and Pablo, directors of the EXP.21 International Festival on Experimental Photography
EXP was born a year ago from a combination of two previous projects: BADEM which sought to bring together doing double exposure in Barcelona and #FSWW which revolved around film swaps around the world. During these events, Laura and Pablo realised there was no Experimental Photography festival in the world and wanted to pioneer into this new territory. The festival has been received with love and affection from the people of Barcelona and we are excited for EXP.21.
"Tell us about EXP.21 International Festival on Experimental Photography, what do you hope to achieve?"
The EXP.21 aims to create, promote and spread experimental photography in all its forms. We consider it essential to create an international community of artists that can support each other, recognise each other from equality, and create shared projects. Our intention is to strengthen and spread our own story by offering the experimental artistic community a space to expose their works, thoughts and share their techniques, their searches and concerns.
The festival is a global meeting point. Once a year we have a long weekend where we can meet, share what we have learned and connect with our friends who live far away. We do it in winter but we try to make the experience as close as possible to a summer camp where everyone opens their hearts to others.
"How important is experimental photography in Barcelona?"
We think that there's no big community in any city of the world because experimentation is making sense in the peripheries of Photography which is not mainstream. We were born on the internet because we realise that in every city of the world there are a couple of experimental photographers but no real community.
The EXP.21 team is made up of 12 people who live in Barcelona but that come from six different countries. The city has that effervescence, that ability to unite to create with a common goal. Now we are working hard to create this community with all those people around the world that have the feeling that they want to share, hug and learned with others. Barcelona is for us just the perfect city in the middle of the maps where all experimental artists can feel at home once a year.
"The call for artists will be open on the 1st of June for everyone interested in participating in the festival doing workshops and talks and, at the same time, we will start the registrations. We will accept all levels of photographers and also we are not closed to other experimental disciplines."
"What are you looking for in your open call?"
Every year, more than 300 international artists and photography lovers meet with the aim of generating a common space to share, learn and debate about experimental photography in its many facets: from the creation of cameras, optics and films to processes of printing, intervention, and production of copies, exhibitions, and photobooks. The call for artists will be open on the 1st of June for everyone interested in participating in the festival doing workshops and talks and, at the same time, we will start the registrations. We will accept all levels of photographers and also we are not closed to other experimental disciplines.
We are in a permanent search for different expressions from a trans-disciplinary perspective since we understand that photography is nourished by cinema, video, painting, architecture, music, sculpture, dance, and other artistic and social expressions. So the more diverse and innovative the proposals are the better chance they have to be taken into account to participate in the festival as an invited artist.
"What advice do you have for starting out artists and photographers?"
We encourage everyone to question what Photography, or any art form is. It will help you to experience new visual experiences and to go against the limits of the arts. As we expressed in our Manifesto, living outside the limits of Photography is what has allowed us to make sense again and to create new meanings from the limits.
The unexpected is born of suspicion, of pushing the known until ignoring it, of experiencing the adventure of the unusual in a visual journey that changes our lives.
"We believe that the future is experimental and nonconformist and is in dialogue with other arts"
"What is the future of Photography?"
The time has come to put the experimental as an attitude in the center of Photography. This artistic practice exists, resists and insists since the very creation of Photography and its fertile land has been the peripheries, where the canons of the established and the absolute truths do not reach. We believe that the future is experimental and nonconformist and is in dialogue with other arts, in the mixture of languages and projects. Experimenting is an experience rather than a result.