The Refocus project draws attention to “refocusing” reality following the effects that the lockdown has had on the space-time coordinates of daily life, and on how it has indirectly transformed the perception of reality itself. While the first call requested investigating the urban and psychological scenarios in Italy during the lockdown imposed by the containment, the second open call for 20 photography projects asks artists, photographers, and visual operators under 40 to engage with the post-lockdown period, understood in the broader sense of a condition that, starting from the health emergency, cuts across current events to be projected towards even a distant future.
Like every term with a similar prefix, post-lockdown refers to a condition of waiting – identified in the media with the unspecified phases 2, 3, and so on – marked by the tension between gradually resuming social and economic activities, and coexisting with the inconveniences, fears, and risks that the virus’s persistence has brought both into daily life and into the nearest future.
While on the one hand it is understandable to see the repopulation of formerly deserted urban landscapes as evidence of a much-awaited “return to normality,” on the other it is precisely the very concept of “normality” that is called very much into question by several settings – philosophy, art, politics, etc. – in light of the experience that has been had, and that has yet to end.
With a minimum of historical perspective, we can perhaps begin to ask ourselves about the dynamics, effects, purpose, and contradictions that forcefully emerged during the lockdown. The present condition of uncertainty calls people and society to an ongoing and unusual reprogramming of activities and decisions, in a collective, real-time experience providing support in the wholly abnormal immediate circumstances. At the same time, however, there is a clear need to immediately develop new visions and to activate radical policies to respond to demands for change, sustainability, and reliability that can be put off no longer.
In this expanded time, artists are asked to engage with the idea of crisis and transformation, putting to the test the very languages and practices of image in bearing witness to and documenting the situation in progress, against the background of the fundamental issues – technological, political, psychological, and economic – that, in current events, herald future society.
Like the first Refocus call, Refocus #2 also aims at supporting cultural production and artists’ activity, emphasizing their fundamental role within society, especially in a scenario of crisis and transformation, also through the production of an exhibition.
Moreover, the call’s purpose are also to:
• explore and encourage the development of the languages and of the artistic practices connected to photography and to the technological image;
• expand public collections through the acquisition – done in agreement with the individual creators – of a part of the produced works which will join MUFOCO’s collections upon the entire project’s conclusion;
• document the post-lockdown period and establish a visual archive, connected to the collective memory, of a historical phase unlikely to be repeated, while asking ourselves about the transformations underway in society, and about future scenarios.
The open call is for artists, photographers, and visual operators of full age, and that have yet to reach 40 years of age as of the date the call expires.
Clarifications or information about the call may be requested by no later than 12:00 PM on 19 October 2020, by writing to the e-mail address.