What's Next?
Four different concepts, four different guest curators, four visionary presentations and one museum that offers all of them a stage.

Foam celebrates its tenth anniversary. But rather than look back and celebrate the achievements of the period that has passed, Foam prefers to look forward. It is the perfect moment to explore what the future of photography might be.

Four different concepts, four different guest curators, four visionary presentations and one museum that offers them a stage. Foam, celebrating its tenth anniversary, has invited four different experts from the international cultural field to realize a challenging proposal on how a photography exhibition can be presented in the future.

All four results are radical, provocative and presented within the same building at the same moment. By doing so Foam specifically addresses the issue of its own future and how a museum can do justice to a medium as versatile and varied as contemporary photography.

What’s Next? has been made possible with the support of: AgentschapNL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Beamsystems, Dienst Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling, Eizo high-end-monitors, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mondriaan Foundation, Oschatz Visuelle Medien, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Sony Ericsson, SNS Reaalfonds and VSBFonds.

Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Delta Lloyd, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.


Installation Jefferson Hack in Foam © Christian van der Kooy

Jefferson Hack (UK, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Dazed & Confused, London) focuses on a model that does justice to the overwhelming presence of photographical images of various sources and the ephemeral, immaterial nature of digital imagery.


Installation Alison Nordström in Foam © Marleen van Veen

Alison Nordström (US, Director of Photographs, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester) will focus on the importance of the classical, tangible print as a source for knowledge within an idea of the museum as place for study and contemplation.

Installation Erik Kessels in Foam © Dimer van Santen

Erik Kessels (NL, co-founder of KesselsKramer, curator, collector and specialist in vernacular photography) will focus on all the anonymous, vernacular material that can be found and gathered in the digital world.

Installation Lauren Cornell in Foam © Karin Bareman

Lauren Cornell (US, Curator of the New Museum, NY and Executive Director of the New Museums Rhizome programme) will focus on a new generation of artists that don’t consider themselves photographers, but that use photos in combination with various other media, like video, new media and installation.

Each presentation should be considered a radical statement offering an inspiring experience for both the professional expert and the ordinary visitor. At various locations in the museum visitors are invited to actively participate. All the presentations together question the nature of photography, the nature of a photography exhibition and the nature of an institution as a platform for presentations, study or sensory experience. With this unique exhibition and the publication that accompanies it, Foam concludes its jubilee year as inquisitive as ever about the future of photography.

Throughout 2011 the question ‘What’s Next?’ is addressed through a range of activities varying from debates, exhibitions and publications.  Foam is asking photographers, critics, writers, academics, researchers, curators and media specialists to formulate their own inspirational visions of the future of photography, based on their specific knowledge.

Together with the exhibition, which forms the final part of a year-long search which was dominated by the search into the future of photography, Foam presents a special edition of Foam Magazine. Exclusively dedicated to the overall ‘What Next?’ project, it contains numerous articles, essays, columns, interviews and, of course, photography considered important to the future of the medium.

> View Foam Magazine #29: What's Next?

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What's Next?