21st Noorderlicht International Photofestival: An Ocean of Possibilities, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

Saluting the work of Frisian author and poet Jan Slauerhoff, the 21st Noorderlicht International Photofestival highlights those who, dissatisfied with the status quo, think ‘outside the box,’ seek alternatives or create their own. An Ocean of Possibilities is dedicated to ventures which underwrite our freedom to start something new and to do the unexpected in a world where it can feel as if the fundamentals cannot change.

This exhibition asks the questions: how can people proceed when they agree that the system they live in is unjust, or even poses a danger to humanity or other species? How do we transform the possibilities we can imagine into sustainable actualities?

The photographers exhibiting within An Ocean of Possibilities hone in on grass-root movements in self-government, on long-term social activists who inspire anti-globalist movements and on individual soldiers. The work looks at science as a place for mutations, interventions and engineered forms of life; it finds unique places where new lifestyles are being developed; it looks at ground-breaking technologies which have the power to change our world. What emerges from the selected work is a portrait of progress – but painted in small gestures rather than grand sweeping ones, emerging as the unspectacular, the mundane, the non-heroic.

In addition to the main exhibition within the Fries Museum will be a number of small, external shows, work in public spaces, and a separate presentation which will cover the back-to-nature movement. Here, photographers cover the good, the bad and the ugly of civil uprising and life off the beaten path.

An Ocean of Possibilities is produced alongside Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF), and will travel from the newly inaugurated Fries Museum to ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, in October.

21st Noorderlicht International Photofestival: An Ocean of Possibilities, until 26 October, Fries Museum, Wilhelminaplein 92, 8911 BS Leeuwarden, Netherlands. For more information visit www.noorderlicht.com.

1. Loulou d’Aki, Make a Wish, 2010-2013). Courtesy of the artist.

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