Introduction to Backlight ’14

Backlight Photo Festival 2014 continues the triennials tradition with focusing on social themes; relations between individuals, communities and societies. Backlight ´14 wants to provide thematically and functionally a platform for research and discussion about trust, and how trust and dependencies create tensions and shape cohesion in modern societies. Backlight team wanted to keep the theme fairly wide and open  for comments and suggestion. Since the end of 2012 we´ve contacted people from different cultural and professional backgrounds asking them  to contribute an article for us, from their personal interests or points of view to our theme (you will find the links to the articles from ”Articles on Backlight ´14 theme”-section). Also the theme was reflected during the discussions at Backlight residence in August 2013.


As a teaser for the theme we introduced the Backlight ´14 to them with the following text:

”Backlight Photo Festival 2014 seeks visual forms for forces of survival, holding us together and apart in the world where we have productized trust and knowledge to tradable goods and left the ones who cannot afford it or do not “deserve” it to cope with indifference, confidence and ignorance. What can we relay on? How do these things come visible and how they are seen and used in present societies and contemporary photography? What has photography as an act to do with trust? What is photography but a tool of asking acceptance, asking to be trusted?

The roles of the societies in Europe have rapidly changed due to economical uncertainty. Dissatisfaction and fear can be sensed in all layers of societies. Permanent is no longer in use. Global unbalance is feeding dependencies that will hardly be reciprocally dealt. Even so called welfare states are loosing their abilities to take care of their citizens equally as global problems turn into local. Can we still grab and count on mutual dependencies when balancing with order and bearing of uncertainties? Are we piling up societies through our actions or are the societies piling us up as replaceable steps for its purposes?

Trust is a form of social capital accumulating from private relations to voluntarily formed groups, associations and social clubs to established institutions. Shared interests and seriousness of the business, the higher stakes shape trust in the markets to reliability and credibility. Credibility is amiable, credibility is power. Power to start dividing us to good and bad, trustworthy and not, proper EU-citizens, we and the rest. We accept and welcome all the currencies for gambling when straining trust by the clauses of economy. Honestly, we are not seeking for shared equal balance. Balance is a stable state that leads nowhere, competition is a healthy process keeping the world turning. Unfortunately there is not much left to compete and the eager we get.

The fear of loosing or even sharing what we have gained prevents us from interfering with the far or unknown. Actually the very same forces (trust, love, fear, sense of belonging, emotional ties, dependencies, hope, money, suspicious, values, isolation, religion, poverty, shared history, duty, identities, addictions, comfortableness, reliability) that hold us together hold us back and separate us in our European dream, which hardly no longer is a dream to anyone in it.

Still in parallel with the lack of necessaries and consequences of undone grows new variety of entities with yet uncovered potential. People are forming small open communities for their own sake and purposes, communities basing on voluntary belonging and trust. Trust is something we can not decide nor deny despite our conscious and unconscious attempts. Trust is being vulnerable and yet it can be felt as an alternative to dependency and control. Trust makes tomorrow easier to handle already today by making life predictable, reliable as a weather forecast.