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Although it is a relatively young event, Unseen Photo Fair has made its way among the most contemporary and modern photography festivals of the moment. Once again, and for its 5th edition, it gathers professionals, critics, collectors, amateurs and the public in one of the peppiest places in Amsterdam – the Westergasfabriek. For an entire weekend, the freshest, most inventive and breaking new photography from the Netherlands and around is featured through visual displays, installations, talks, photobooks and much more. We’ve taken out our METAL radar for you, to highlight the programme’s unmissables.

Galleries and Artists

More than fifty galleries from Europe and overseas will be exposing at Unseen Fair. If many of them are regulars from Paris Photo, Arles or London Photo, others have wandered away from the overrun ground and this is an opportunity you should not miss to be amazed by their projects.

Tegenboschvanvreden: They play home, they share local talents and they will have you discover some of the gratin of Benelux artists such as Paul Kooiker or Tom Callemin, through a clever and unique selection of works.

CINNNAMON: This gallery from Rotterdam is always a wonder, thanks to its showcase of emerging and ambitious artists. Round of applause for Rachel de Joode and her disturbingly weird and awesome work Connective Tissue.

Elspeth Diederix’s work is beautiful, cool and mysterious. She has been seen at FOAM, Huis Marseille or Aperture NY and you can check out her mind-blowing pictures at Stigter van Doesburg gallery stand.

We’re just not too sure of how to determine what Ola Lanko’s work should be labelled. By gathering a diversity of objects into a structure and capturing it, it’s as if she created a kind of modern cabinet-of-curiosities or even a microcosm with its own codes, symbolisms and language. It’s fascinating to watch and it’s at the Seelevel Gallery stand.

Talks & Presentations

In this time of digital expansion, crowd-sourcing imagery and infinite visual possibilities, the visual language is evolving in an unprecedented way. Unseen’s purpose is precisely to address the hottest questions regarding the future of photography and to explore a broader vision of this medium through sharing and debate. Here’s a selection of some talks and presentations that should propel you into thinking beyond.

Unseen Premieres: FOAM curator Kim Knoppers presents a selection of new work from emerging talents, for the very first time and for the unique delight of your passionate eyes.
Unseen Living Room - Friday 23 September, 16:00-16:45

The Future of the Photographic Portrait
How is evolving the representation of identity and the self-portrait in this era of social media and digital imagery? Artists Zanele Muholi, Tobias Zielony and Jan Hoek go beyond the mere debate on selfies to explore the future of portraiture.
Unseen Living Room - Friday 23 September, 12:45-13:45

2016 Unseen Niches: Discipula

If the motto and purpose of Unseen is expressed within its own title, this year it has been made even clearer: to showcase the most diverse, groundbreaking and non-commercial young photography. For the first year, Unseen Niches will display four independent projects from international artists collective. Among them, multicultural collective Discipula will present How Things Dream: Communication, a fictional advertising campaign designed for the data prediction company AURA. Taking ownership of advertisement language, they develop a reflection on the worrying use of Big Data, technological surveillance and self-surrender to intruding networks.

Interactive onsite installation: Making Memeries

The fun doesn’t stop and neither does the feeling that you are the privileged spectator of some pretty awesome and exclusive work. Self Publish Be Happy’s Making Memeries is an interactive installation that delves you into an augmented reality world created by artist Lucas Blalock, design studio Tankboys and digital agency Reify. Forget Pokemon Go and discover some real cool off and online experience.

Olivia Lorrain

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