Foam Dialogue:

Photography & Conflict

Regarding the pain of others

What can photography do about the pressing challenges of our time? On Saturday 10 February 2024, Foam hosts a one-day symposium. We will delve into the role of photography within the public and political sphere amidst conflict, extremism, and polarisation. 

Horrific images depicting ongoing atrocities in Palestine and Israel have flooded the news, media, and our social media timelines over the past weeks. Meanwhile, other violent events are taking place in Ukraine, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and various other regions in the world. Foam, as part of the global photography community, is deeply concerned about the loss of human lives and the violation of human rights.

What can photography do? As a museum and magazine, Foam is committed to photography as an artistic medium, and above all to its function to start conversations and facilitate understanding. Its power lies in the ability to offer different perspectives through which we can learn about the viewpoints of others, whilst sometimes also directly mirroring our own assumptions and biases.

On 10 February 2024, Foam organises a symposium on photography and conflict in our museum. We aim to address the complexity of the current media landscape, ranging from topics such as the role of social media and citizen journalism, to the difficulty in tracing sources and the role of both image editors and algorithms in fostering opinion and polarization. Above all, we aim to facilitate space for dialogue and create understanding of the different perceptions of reality, not just by researching what we see, but also by providing a platform for voices and subjects that are often overlooked or excluded from the narrative. 

Day programme:

What can photography do in times of conflict?

13.00 - 13.45 hrs: Show War - keynote lecture by visual artist and teacher at the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po), Emeric Lhuisset.

14.00 - 14.45 hrs: Film screening by multidisciplinary forensic research agency Forensic Architecture.

15.00 - 15.45 hrs: The Camera as a Weapon, artist talk by documentary photographer and film director Sakir Khader, who will be zooming in live from Palestine.

15.45 - 17.00 hrs: Join us for a drink in Foam Café.

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From far away, I hear the Cossacks’ reply, 2023 © Emeric Lhuisset

Evening programme:

Us vs. Them: framing and polarization in visual culture

17.00 - 17.45 hrs: How to Capture the Smoldering Remains of an Urgent Story, artist talk by screenwriter and director Beri Shalmashi.

18.00 - 19.30 hrs: Film screening in collaboration with Movies That Matter.

18.00 - 19.30 hrs: The Appropiate Image, workshop by upcoming Foam 3h artists Jakob Ganslmeier and Ana Zibelnik .

19.45 - 20.15 hrs: Creating Conflict: Examining Othering in Today’s Popular Culture - talk on creating conflict, with Jakob Ganslmeier and Beri Shalmashi.

20.15 - 21.00 hrs: Drinks and conversations in Foam Café.

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Redpilled video still, 2023 © Jakob Ganslmeier & Ana Zibelnik

Discover the exhibition

The Camera as a Weapon

A Night in the Mountains, Salah ad Din (Iraq), 2019 © Sakir Khader

As part of Foam Dialogue: Photography & Conflict the museum organizes a pop-up exhibition The Camera as a Weapon, taking the instrumental book Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag as a starting point for a reflective and critical exploration of the role of photography in depicting and shaping public understanding of war, violence, and human suffering

The Photography & Conflict programme serves as a pivotal guide for a research initiative that Foam is committed to over the next few years, focusing on the theme of photography and conflict. This commitment will extend beyond the dialogues of the symposium, influencing upcoming exhibitions and various artistic expressions within the overarching theme. Through this sustained engagement, Foam seeks to not only address the intersection between visual storytelling, media dynamics, and the impact of technologies, but also commits to an ongoing search for authentic perspectives. 

Between Death and Destruction, Mosul (Iraq), 2019 ,

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Foam Dialogue:

Photography & Conflict

Regarding the pain of others