Unseen Festival
2015 marks the first year Unseen introduces Unseen Festival – an extended festival programme in the city of Amsterdam that celebrates photography in all its forms.

Unseen Festival is a 10-day celebration of photography in Amsterdam. From the 18th to the 27th of September 2015, Unseen collaborates with many of the city’s institutions, academies, artists, and initiatives using photography in innovative and unconventional ways to create a programme that is sure to challenge, excite and inspire.

Over the past three years, Unseen has established an acclaimed photography fair, as well as an on-site festival programme at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. 

The heart of Unseen Festival remains on-site at the Westergasfabriek and will include the Unseen Living Room, the Unseen Book Market, the Unseen Collection, an exhibition of the Foam Talents 2015, Artist Recipes, and the immersive installation, Panorama Carland by Jan Hoek. The on-site activities will take place during Unseen Photo Fair from Friday the 18th to Sunday the 20th of September.

The Unseen Living Room – an informal meeting place for the exchange of dialogue and ideas – promises yet again to dive into pressing current issues within photography. This year, visitors can attend talks by talented artists, discussions on what’s next regarding photographic institutions, scouting talent and on photography online and in print. Speakers include James Reid (Wallpaper Magazine), Duncan Forbes (Museum Winterthur), American based collectors Sondra Gilman & Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Brad Feuerhelm (American Suburb X), and many more.
On Friday the 18th of September, the winner of the Unseen Dummy Award 2015 will be announced at the Unseen Book Market. On Saturday, Unseen visitors can witness the making of a photo book with Self Publish, Be Happy. For the duration of 24 hours, ten artists will respond to each other’s work across three continents with the goal of producing one collective publication. Keep an eye on the Unseen website for a detailed programme on public signings and book launches.

Newly introduced this year are the Artist Recipes, an on-site dining experience on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th, where various chosen artists will determine the menu for the evening. The dinners will be organised at Westergasterras, where the recipes and the link to the artist’s body of work will be the main topic of the evening.

The extended Unseen Festival will be taking place at more than 38 locations throughout the city of Amsterdam from the 18th to the 27th of September. In addition to the Festival Heart, the programme consists of four different themes: Hidden Treasures, Open Doors, Cultural Institutions, and the Neighbourhood Project.

The Hidden Treasures are a number of exclusive commissions and projects housed in a range of secret spots and unconventional spaces across the city, which will be opened exclusively for the visitors of Unseen. These include an exhibition at the newly renovated exhibition space of Amsterdam’s stock exchange, a film by Alexander Basile at the Stenen Hoofd, various installations at the Prinsengracht’s 19th Century former hospital, exhibitions by Ola Lanko and Heikki Kaski at the former Citroën Garage, and the Korean exhibition Lies of Lies at the Huis met de Hoofden.

A range of corporate and private collections, artist studios, hotels and other organisations are joining in on the festivities by opening their doors to the public. Collections include, an exhibition at the Herengracht office of the ING Bank, World Press Photo at the World Press Photo office, and many others. Additionally, a selection of artists will open their studios for the public.

Teaming up with the best of Amsterdam’s art establishments, the Cultural Institutions programme draws together an eclectic range of exhibitions programmed around photography on the occasion of Unseen Festival. These include the Stedelijk Museum, Huis Marseille, Eye Filmmuseum, Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, and Huize Frankendael. The Prins Claus Fund Gallery will bring together artists from the Arab region in Return of the Soul during Unseen Festival.

In addition, emerging talents from this year’s Foam Talent Issue inhabit the Staatsliedenbuurt – a residential area adjacent to the Westergasfabriek – and collaborate with locals to bring photography into community hubs across the area.

explore connections

Unseen Festival