The first Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie (9 September – 5 November 2017) bids farewell to photography as we know it. Farewell Photography illuminates the radical changes in our dealings with images in the digital era and presents an alternative vision of the history of photography. Since its invention, photography has been a medium of social exchange. With digitization not only has the number of photographic images exploded but their capacity to be reproduced and distributed has multiplied.
Sharing is the photographic usage of the moment. The individual, isolated image has had its day; instead, photographs appear as part of chains of communication and relationship networks. On social media and in messenger services a photo often says more than a thousand words, or 140 characters — it calls for a response, it gets liked, hated, and re-shared.
As memes, images spread across the Internet like a virus, are modified by users, and released back into orbit. Their natural state is one of circulation. Every photo on Facebook or Instagram is organized in an online biography and linked with a hashtag to a host of other images.
Featuring the work of almost 100 artists and photographers including: F & D Cartier, Jochen Lempert, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rosa Barba, Dirk Braeckman, Barbara Kasten, Oscar Muñoz, Ed Ruscha, Hans-Peter Feldmann, John Smith, Willem de Rooij, Harun Farocki, Candida Höfer, Arwed Messmer, and Armin Linke.
This biennial is created by a team of six curators and is comprised of eight themed exhibitions at Wilhelm-Hack-Museum I & II (Ludwigshafen am Rhein); Port 25 (Mannheim); Sammlung Prinzhorn (Heidelberg); Heidelberger Kunstverein; Kunstverein Ludwigshafen; ZEPHYR (Mannheim); and Kunsthalle Mannheim.