International Photography Festival

In October 2012 the international opened for the fifth time. All over Funen, there was a wealth of exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, dialogue meetings, lectures, a film programme, the Meeting Place Portfolio Review and much more.

In 2012 the photo triennial came together under the heading The Good Life. As the financial crisis rolls through Europe, this is becoming an ever more topical subject. What is the good life at a time when the conditions of life are changing before our eyes? The values and norms with which we have been born and have grown up are no longer enough to deal with the radical paradigm shift that the crisis seems to be causing, but which is actually due to the effects of the globalization process that was launched during the boom times of the 1990s.

The Good Life is a constant challenge. Presumably everyone wants a good life, but there can be huge differences in what people think or believe a good life is. For some people it is a healthy life, for others a safe and secure life. If you ask the politicians from Scandinavia they will emphasize health, education and a stable private economy. If you ask the man in the street the answers will probably be much more varied and marked by dreams, expectations and hopes.

Professor Bente Klarlund Pedersen, dr. med., winner of the Rosenkjær Prize in 2011, is one of the voices that speak warmly for the idea that the healthy life is the same as the good life. She thinks that a life with healthy eating habits and exercise means a long life with many illness-free years in its last phase. And that is presumably a good life. But this medical point of view, she thinks, can come into conflict with the good moment “with cake and good wine in over-ample amounts”. The comforting aspect, though, is “that the good moment with something unhealthy doesn’t topple the whole pyramid, as long as it doesn’t become one long round of whipped cream, thick gravy and alcohol”. But this is the thing about The Good Moment – you can become dependent on it: the fix, the quick rush, the immediate gratification.

The ‘leisure society’ never came about. What was left was the dream of making time for yourself, time for the family, time to realize your dreams, time to realize yourself. But there is much to indicate that it will become even more difficult in the future to find time for anything but work. If you can get work, that is – if not, having time is no longer quite as attractive if you are still ready and able to work. If we add to this the zap culture we have developed over the past few decades, we are hard pressed for time. In that context time for reflection is not an issue.

Is The Good Life also the happy life? If you believe the world of advertising, that’s the way it is. The more consumption, the greater the happiness. Behind all that ‘happiness’, however, the waste piles up in insurmountable volumes, and shopaholism has become a widespread mental condition that the modern age has developed.

The theme of The Good Life brings out many points of view and issues. At 12 exhibition venues and in the city space of Odense, more than 30 artists from Denmark and abroad offered their proposals for or comments on The Good Life.

The following artists participated:
Andreas Meichsner, Bill Owens, Cao Fei, Elif Çelebi, Esra Ersen, Frank Dabba Smith, Fredrik Marsh, Jeannette Pardorf, Julie Edel Hardenberg, Larry Clark, Lucia Ganieva, Martin Parr, Mary Coble, Mette Juul, Nigel Dickinson, Per Bak Jensen, Pieter van den Boogert, Pieter Hugo, Robert Harding Pittman, Søren Martinsen and Urs Lüthi.

In addition 11 students from Funen Academy of Art and 10 artists from Fyns Grafiske Værksted participated.

-Ingrid Fischer Jonge, festival director