The project “Countercurrents” showcases a collection of works by a dynamic group of image makers prompted by the dangerous effects that are connected to the presence of underwater munitions in our oceans. From this starting point each artist found their own topic. The featured artists challenge the status quo and (re)present alternatives on the negligence of the past, trauma, the hidden, the interconnections between us, others, as well as our planet.
On view at a corridor and a former bunker the three day event (24-26th June 2022) “Countercurrents” features a range of photographic and video installations, sculptures and performances by twelve international image-makers from seven countries. On different levels, it highlights the relationship we have with the past, and explores the intersections of the photographic medium. Their work challenges what photography can still do in current times and enlist themes of current reality, collective and individual memories, fictional narrative and metaphor.
“Naturally I wondered how the students would bring to life this abstract idea. The topic triggered them to go on journeys of self-discovery and research.” said Newsha Tavakolian, visual tutor of the studio and member of Magnum Photos. “The metaphors and interpretations they used have made the projects powerful and deep, all in their own unique way. It found the process to be very beautiful and inspiring.”
As part of the programme, organised tours will guide visitors through the collective works in and around the bunker, which is the location of the offline exhibition. In this former part of the Atlantikwall, a series of talks and performances will be hosted and presented on our online exhibition (www.countercurrents.co) the next day.
Dunkirk, France 2022 – Arianna Cavalensi
10 images on the wall, Video / headphone
“Departing from the idea of the sea as an entangled process of laws and jurisdictions to practice state border control, my research moves from the sea to its shores. The shore of Dunkirk, is now known for being an embarkation point where an increasing number of people attempt to cross the English Channel, hoping to reach the UK. Since the dismantlement of the refugee camp called Jungle in October 2016, other migrant camps have been formed and thousands of people are camping along the coast between Calais and Dunkirk hiding in the woods and fields.
Working as a volunteer I am investigating and documenting this overlooked reality with the intention to open up a dialogue on the current European politics of migration.”
Artists whose works are featured in “Countercurrents”:
Sumi Anjuman (BD), Arianna Cavalensi (IT) , Beatrice Cera (IT), Daniel Chatard (GER), Pascal Giese (GER), He Bo (CN), Charmaine de Heij (NL)Lea Novi (GER), Diego Reindel (GER), Jonathan Tang (NL), Ben Yau (UK), Alexey Yurenev (RU/US).
“Countercurrents” is a group exhibition by students of the two-year master programme Photography & Society of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague in collaboration with Creative Court, a non-profit organisation that develops art projects reflecting on peace and global justice. Creative Court believes it is quite impossible to achieve world peace through rules and regulations. Because before reshaping the world, we first need to r-imagine it.
Rainbow Between Scylla and Charybdis – He Bo He
9 rice papers on a table / on the floor (+- 1 m wide each), Video installation, monitors)
“Rainbow, parabola, trajectory of cannonball in flight.
Male desire, conquest, control, burial.
The search for and disposal of buried or abandoned weapons is, in effect,
another state of ‘control’. These actions are the same in nature as when people drop bombs during war and bury them afterwards. By dropping bombs, the aim of destroying and then controlling the object of war is achieved by means of precision and disorderly results. Burying the bomb, on the other hand, implies a temporary evasion and subjective forgetting of its function, a form of irresponsible control. These ‘controls’ of the past and present are reincarnated from generation to generation. Wars will not stop, nor will the mutual attrition among civilisations and human beings. Any attempt to solve the problem by war would be caught between Scylla and Charybdis. The entropy that runs through the anti-war novel Gravity’s Rainbow written by Thomas Pynchon is perhaps the inevitable end of reality.
This project contains photography, archival images, short videos, performances and small installations in an attempt to present a more diverse approach.”
About Master Photography & Society (MAPS), Royal Academy of Art The Hague
Photography & Society is a two-year master programme offered at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) since September 2018. The Master’s programme Photography & Society at the KABK educates socially-engaged photographers of the 21st century, who possess an active interest in the technological, political, environmental and social role of the photograph. As a collective, we research and foster encounters beyond the photographic medium with the aim of formulating new ways of how photography can be positioned and contextualised within society.
About the location
The exhibition will be held on the territory of Bunker V192, which was built as part of a line of defense by the Nazis during WW2 in 1943. This ‘machine bunker’ has a unique design, and the only one of its kind to be found in The Netherlands. Since 2002, the bunker has been used as an exhibition space. Bunker V192 is located on the site of Waterkant.
Resurfacing – Daniel Chatard
6 – 8 framed screens (moving images), Video installation (1 screen, headphones)
“Eighty years after World War II, its traces and consequences still surround us. While some memories of war are still accessible to us today, most of them — like the ammunition buried in the sea — remain hidden.
Dwelling on the analogy of the subaquatic and the subconscious, I connect my grandfather’s personal account of the wartime with the collective memories embodied through memorial sites and traces of the war. Starting from these insights into the past I want to understand how the war trauma continues to affect society. In my work I combine recounts from familymembers and speculation to create an archive of reconstructed memory. In doing so, my gaze turns outwards and inwards at the same time, using my own and my family’s dealing with memory to make sense of how it’s kept, left forgotten and passed on to the next generation.”
“Countercurrents” is organised by the first year students of the Master programme Photography & Society of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in collaboration with Creative Court. Generous support is provided by Jana Romanova, Daniël Siegersma, Rabiaâ Benlahbib, Newsha Tavakolian, Thana Faroq, Shadman Shahid, Waterkant, Denis Oudendijk (Refunc), Brouwerij Frontaal.
The graphic design is done by Sonya Umanskaya. The coding of the Countercurrencts website is done by Max Lehmann.
Exhibition “Countercurrents” 24th-26th June 2022
24th June – 19 pm – 11 pm
25th June – 10 am – 11 pm
26th June – 10 am – 11 pm
Free Entrance fee
www.countercurrents.co (to be launched due the opening on June 24th)