Since its establishment in 2011 by the Fetart organisation, Circulation(s) has been dedicated to discovering and promoting Europe’s young photographic talent. This year, Audrey Hoareau and François Cheval – together forming a creative collective called The Red Eye – are the guest artistic directors, holding a strong vision of what makes the festival unique. “Demonstrating the ability to imagine, to reject competitiveness and domination … Circulation(s) is what any cultural organisation should be: a democratic entity.” The event supports and encourages the initiatives of all who participate through a horizontal and self-organising structure which stands in contrast to more hierarchical or institutional approaches. The vision for 2019 involved creating a dialogue between different media – a committed vision for a troubled Europe.
As such, the festival’s ethos is to be both open to all, yet rigorous in its search for quality and originality, professionalism and passion. The programme is based upon a jury selection from around 1,000 responses to the international call for applications. This year, as part of the Institut Français’ European exchange programme, the curation has a focus on Romania. Following a careful process of decision-making, the ninth edition of Circulation(s) features young Romanian photographers, Iona Cîrlig, Mihai and Horatiu Șovăială, and Felicia Simion. They join a line-up of young creatives from across the continent, producing work that responds directly to the fears and concerns of our current moment in history.
Cîrlig, for example, addresses present-day life in the former mono-industrial communities which were created under communism in Romania in Post-Industrial Stories, a long-term documentary project. These are locales that once thrived and whose inhabitants were celebrated as heroic embodiments of the Soviet-era working class, but with the arrival of market forces erasing their previous identity, their people now find themselves unemployed and adrift. Similarly, in the jury selection, Ed Alcock considers the notion of identity in the light of his home country, the UK, voting to exit the European Union. The piece discusses the country with mixed feelings of tenderness, irony and disillusionment. It ends with a sense of farewell, as, feeling excluded from an increasingly inward-looking Britain, the photographer obtained French citizenship. In the Guest Artists section are a number of exciting new names including Luka Khabelashvili. Just 19 years old, the artist assembles his snapshots based on memories and interpretations of texts by archaeologists. The featured image (below) reflects on the gap between reality and representation.
Expanding the festival’s strive for wider accessibility, Little Circulation(s) runs alongside the main programme – an exhibition aimed at children aged 5-12. The strand features the same series, but displays them on adapted boards, with interactive games that transform the experience of photography.
Centquatre-Paris, 20 April – 30 June. Find out more here.
Lead image: Luka Khabelashvili, from the series Feelings. Courtesy of the artist.