Human Habitat

Human Habitat

The UK’s largest photography festival, FORMAT, will explore the theme of Habitat in 2017. Running from 24 March to 23 April, the eighth edition of the biennial festival will be a prime opportunity to view fresh talent in the field, alongside the works of more established artists. Held at venues across Derby, the festival is set to showcase the work of 200 international artists and photographers across 30 exhibitions, alongside a photobook market, portfolio reviews and a series of events and performances.

Connecting the wide-ranging projects on display is 2017’s core theme: Habitat. Within this title, the concepts of landscape, environment, mobility, migration, digital worlds, home and displacement, conflict and regeneration will be explored. Rapid changes in the environment caused by industry, technology, conflict, migration and climate are accelerating at such unprecedented rates that the human impact on the Earth has pushed us into a new cultural geographical epoch or era known as the Anthropocene. With tangible impacts of these changes being recorded, FORMAT17 explores the effect, solutions and conditions of this state that we are in, on micro and macro levels worldwide.

Key parts of the 2017 programme include Ahead still lies our future at QUAD Gallery (24 March-11 June). This major FORMAT17 exhibition features the work of 10 international artists who encourage the viewer to speculate on imagined futures on a global scale. The artworks range from Ester Vonplon’s requiem for the melting glaciers in her native Switzerland, to a monumental video installation by Lida Abdul made in her homeland of Afghanistan. Curated by Louise Clements and Hester Keijser, it includes work by Lida Adbul, Lisa Barnard, Ursula Biemann, Kenta Cobayashi, Hannah Darabi, Sohrab Hura, Zhang Jungang, Wanuri Kahiu, Ester Vonplan and Sadie Wechsler.

Elsewhere FORMAT17 Open Call displays over 50 projects throughout Derby during the run of the festival. Entries were received from 68 countries, with over 50% coming from outside the UK and judges included Simon Bainbridge, Editor of the British Journal of Photography; Dewi Lewis, publisher; Fiona Rogers, Global Business Manager, Magnum Photos and Founder of Firecracker; Erik Kessels, curator and director of KesselsKramer, Wang Baoguo, editor Chinese Photographer Magazine and Sheyi Bankale, editor Next Level magazine. The successful entries range from a study of Basildon by CJ Clarke and Christopher Smith to the interior landscapes of the European Space Agency by Edgar Martins.

A selection of new works by Tom Hunter, Liz Hingley and collective Discipula will be on show for the first time as part of the finale of the Pan-European Flâneur: New Urban Narratives project. 26 new commissions have been completed over the past three years across 12 different countries – all of which challenge contemporary photographers to create artistic interventions within public spaces. Alongside the commissions, the exhibition includes work from the entire Flâneur project showcased in outdoor lightboxes. Head to Cathedral Green from 24 March until 23 April to experience the project in full.

Additional highlights include People, Places, and Faces: The W. W. Winter’s Archive at Derby Museum and Art Gallery from 24 March until 11 June; Here, There and Everywhere, a special presentation of photographers and multimedia artists from across India, supported by British Council and Arts Council England as part of the Re-Imagine India programme, and commissioned in partnership with New Art Exchange, Defina Foundation, Primary and MAC; and the annual FORMAT Photobook Market, running exclusively between 24-26 March.

FORMAT17, HABITAT, 24 March-23 April. Opening Weekend: 23-26 March, venues across Derby.

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1. Open Call. Hometown of Robert Frank, Wipkingen, Zurich from the series Hometowns © John MacLean.