LAZNIA 1 2007 - II Festival of Transphotography: Léo Fabrizio, Manuel Litran, Olivier Mirguet, Michael Ackerman

Curator: Krzysztof Miękus
Coordinator: Małgorzata Taraszkiewicz-Zwolicka

The International Transphotography Festival organized in August and September in Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia offers the exploration of a siginificant and a relevant subject of borders and their crossing. Four exhibitions presented at Laznia CCA attempt to answer the following questions: what the contemporary borders are, how we define existing divisions, where are the demarcation lines between communities?

Michael Ackerman, Half Life
Half Life - a project initiated in 2004, still developing, changing and progressing. In this original slideshow music plays a role as important as pictures. The title alludes to a chemical notion of semi-disintegration period (also known as half life), but its ambiguity lets us search for other, entirely different interpretations. Half Life consists of photographs dating back to 1996 and later that were part of many different series from New York, Cracow, Warsaw, Katowice, Paris, Naples and Havana. What we are confronted with as a result of such combination is an oneiric, tangled journey into a naked world inhabited by eccentrics and lunatics, evocative landscape full of apprehension, sweat, sex and smoke. However, this apparently gloomy world also seems to be filled with joy and vitality.
A new, updated version of the project, created in June 2007, will be presented at the festival.
Music: Godspeed You Black Emperor, Cat Power, and more.
Michael Ackerman (born 1967), American photographer, a member of Agence VU from Paris. The author of "End Time City" (1999), awarded the Nadar prize (the most prestigious French award for a photo album) ; also published "Fiction" (2001). He was also awarded the The International Center of Photography Infinity Award in 1998.

Léo Fabrizio, Bunkers
The Swiss paradox - the most peaceful nation of Europe that has practically never taken part in any wars, seems to be getting ready for a worldwide conflict. Switzerland is most probably the only country in the world which theoretically provides every citizen with their own bunker (theoretically only, as some bunkers do not meet military standards).
Léo Fabrizio has been taking documentary photographs of Swiss fortified buildings and bunkers for over four years now. At first he shows a number of easy-to-spot buildings, situated next to streets or only partially camouflaged. His work then focuses on the relation between basically shaped buildings and their spectacular natural surrounding. He also searches for more impressive bunkers, concentrating on the way they were camouflaged and shaped so that they almost look like theatres built with typical Helvetian precision. Fabrizio's aesthetism makes us take a fresh new look at bunkers and see it from a different angle, along with the symbolism of Swiss landscape and this country's defences.
Born in Moudon (Switzerland) in 1976, Léo Fabrizio now lives and works in Bottens and Lausanne. Gratuated from Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL), took part in various group and solo exhibitions, e.g. Fluxlaboratory (2004 Genoa), Danger Zone (2003 Kunsthalle Bern), BUNKERS/Collection Alberto Sartoris (2003 Epfl, Lausanne), Generation (2006 Apeture Gallery New York).

Manuel Litran, The Red Zone - 50 years after the battle of Verdun
In 1966, 50 years after the battle which took lives of thousands of people, Manuel Litran and François Luizet started their journey following traces of historical events. Barbed wire separated the zone from tresspassers as death risk was still high. The photographers decided to ignore that prohibition and passed the forbidden border. An area scarcely covered with plants spread before their eyes, a territory where traces of war were still visible: bullet holes, trenches filled with rainwater, canteens, rifles, French and German helmets not yet buried in the ground.
Manuel Litran takes colour photos of such traces of war without ascribing identity to those places where havock and death left their mark.
The only thing he kept from his journey was a line set on a map at
1 :25 000 scale which shows the road around the fortified buildings of Douaumont, crossing the towns of Louvement-Côte-du-Poivre, Beaumont-en-Verdunois, Ornes and Bezonveaux, demolished in 1916.
Trees planted towards the end of 1920 grew roots in the vast territory of the Red Zone, where music and picnics are still forbidden and where one can still find signs commemorating the death of citizens who gave their lives for France.
Manuel Litran studied painting at the Fine Arts Academy in Algeria, where he was also born. His father introduced him to photography. He has lived in Paris since 1952. After doing an internship in Paris Match he started working as a reporter in 1954. He quit four years later, worked for " Jour de France " for some time and then returned to Paris Match in 1960 where he spent the next 40 years.
During those years Manuel Litran consistenly used large format photos to take pictures of celebrities in everyday situations. He is the author of several photo reports for Paris Match, one of which, a very special one, was devoted to the battle of Verdun.

Olivier Mirguet, North Korea - A Different Journey
Olivier Mirguet was awarded the World Press Photo prize in 2003 for his work on North Korea. This was the first of his photo series on places that represent power, a project elaborating on the idea of imprisonment, surveillance, visible and hidden power. 
He says: "North Korea doesn't appreciate photographers. However, the strictest regime in the world likes photographs. They are the basis for propaganda. What can be seen in this " socialist paradise" ? Nothing that a journalist looks for: starving people, political prisons and nuclear plants. These pictures do not exist; not yet. A tourist in North Korea cannot escape surveillance. He is advised to photograph everything that glorifies the regime. By going there, I accepted being a propaganda journalist. I systematically looked for the traces of power, beyond the obviousness of the revolutionary slogans and of the omnipresent portraits of Kim il Sung, constantly asking myself: How do individuals find their place in this collectivised and oppressed space? This way, I rebuilt a reality that revealed itself to me. It is no less terrible. "
Olivier Mirguet is 34 years old. He is a photographer and journalist at Radio France. Apart from the series on North Korea he has also worked in Morocco where former opponents of Hassan II's regime showed him the disturbing, scary interiors of this country's secret prisons.
Olivier Mirguet has been represented by Agence Vu since 2003. He has also worked as a journalist for Radio France since 1998 and a photo reporter for France Info and France Inter. He graduated from the University Centre for Journalism in Strasbourg.

Fundacja Transfotografia
ul. Kosciuszki 35 / 1a,81-702 SOPOT
Dyrektor festiwalu: Olivier Spillebout
Kurator generalny: Krzysztof Miękus
Municipal Institution of Culture