Cincinnati's FotoFocus Photography Biennial Announces Theme, Initial Programming

Cincinnati's 2022 FotoFocus Biennial — considered America's largest celebration of lens-based art — will revolve around the concept of "World Record."

One of Ian Strange's previous installations outside Art Gallery of South Australia. Strange will be creating a local large-scale and site-specific work for FotoFocus. - PHOTO: PROVIDED BY FOTOFOCUS
Photo: Provided by FotoFocus
One of Ian Strange's previous installations outside Art Gallery of South Australia. Strange will be creating a local large-scale and site-specific work for FotoFocus.

Cincinnati's FotoFocus Biennial — considered America's largest celebration of lens-based art — has announced its theme and initial programming for the month-long October 2022 event. Applications for venues to submit proposals for inclusion are also now open.

According to a recent press release, the theme is "World Record," and it “considers film and photography’s extensive record of life on earth, while exploring humankind’s impact on the natural world and the choices — for ill or good — we now face as a global community.”

World Record also refers to records set in the natural world, such as “the hottest year on record, record numbers of animal extinctions, record levels of air pollution, record numbers of hurricanes per season, or rising sea levels, all a direct response to human impact on the planet.”

The theme attempts to capture the positive and negative impact that photography has had on the natural world, from the advancement of scientific knowledge to the exploitation of natural resources.

The first round of FotoFocus artists and curators have been announced, and the list features some familiar faces.

Amara Antilla, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Center, and Matt Distel, exhibitions director for The Carnegie, are both guest curators for FotoFocus. 

Antilla will be co-curating one of the solo exhibitions by New York-based artist Baseera Khan, where Khan “sublimates colonial histories through performance and sculpture in order to map geographies of the future.” That exhibit will be on display at the Contemporary Arts Center. 

Some group exhibitions will also be shown at the CAC. On the Line, co-curated by Makeda Best and Kevin Moore, will draw upon the concepts of performance and climate with artists from across the Americas. Images on which to build, from independent curator Ariel Goldberg, will focus on the LGBTQ and feminist grassroots activism of the 1970s-1990s.

Distel plans to collaborate with multiple partners to develop an exhibition at The Carnegie focused on artists from this region.

Other exhibitions on the future of digital-assisted imagery and identity production, the cinematic experience of the open road and more will also be featured.

Australian transdisciplinary artist Ian Strange will also be creating a large-scale and site-specific public artwork on architecture and space.

Museums, galleries, universities, and other public spaces in the Greater Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area are encouraged to apply as venues for the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial. The venues must submit proposals that match the theme with topics that range from “nature and science; exploration; space travel and outer space; climate change and its impact on societies; social lives of human beings within various environments, cultural as well as natural; forms of energy, past and present; the cultivation of natural resources, mineral and animal; and utopian and dystopian visions of man in nature.”

The projects must be photography, film or “lens-based.” The deadline to apply is Sept. 17, 2021. 

Further guidelines and submission information can be found here.