B#side War Project – International Art Festival on War’s Legacies

Deadline: 31.03.17 Entry Fee: Free Winner:The artworks will be embedded to the festival art exhibitions that will take place in fifteen Italian and Slovenian cities,and other European and international cities in France, Belgium, USA, Australia.

This call for artists aims at researching artistic contributions based on different features (photographs, paintings, drawings, collages, installation, digital and sound art, light art, happenings and performances of visual art) for the artistic festival B#SIDE WAR.

In its fourth edition, the festival will see the realisation of several collective and personal art exhibitions in Italy and Slovenia, as well as in France, Belgium, USA.

This edition will see also installations of contemporary artworks in relevant sites linked to the XX century conflicts (museums, monuments, thematic parks) in several nations. The artworks selected with this call for artists will be embedded to the festival art exhibitions that will take place in fifteen Italian and Slovenian cities, such as Venice, Rome and Pirano (to name but a few), and other European and international cities in France, Belgium, USA, Australia.

In its second edition, the festival B#SIDE WAR counted more than 50.000 visitors, and the festival is now ongoing with its third edition.

Different kinds of contributions will be accepted. Precedence will be given to the digital and sound artworks, as well as to photographs. However, locations will be provided also for paintings, drawings, collages, installation, light art, happenings e performances. The artworks can bear reference to different artistic trends (conceptual art, figurative art, neo-dada, neo-pop, etc.) and they have to be based on one or more of the following themes:

Exactly one hundred years ago (two years after the beginning of the First World War), Europe was a kind of large prison camp in the open air, in which 15 to 20 million human beings had been detained, taken in hostage without freedom nor food, denying their identity and humanity. It is also hard to quantify the number of civilian prisoners, often forced to hard labor in prison camps or evacuation camps and, again, many were the women and families trapped in their occupied homes. At the end of the war, there were other prisons studding the soil of the continent: sanatoriums and psychiatric hospitals, whose alarming amount made clear the tragic nature of the conflict.

The prison is a constant in war, that develop in different ways according to the various conflicts (past and present): in 2016 the armed conflicts in the world are 39, and every year about 90,000 people on average are taken prisoners in armed conflicts. Imprisonment is an asymmetric situation in which it’s easy to loose humanity (both for the prisoner, that loose his dignity and identity; that for the keeper, that can develop a process of de-humanisation and objectification of the prisoner). And of course, imprisonment leaves legacies and inheritances, that shape a population’s culture.

We are looking for works of art and artistic projects that address the delicate issue of the imprisonment as a universal experience.

Collective memory is something fluid and an issue in someway open to interpretations. The “national” memory has rather often a monolithic essence, that never changes, national memory speaks with one voice and hardly lends itself to different interpretations and facets, looking at the facts from a single point of view. Our festival, today involving contributors and partners from 39 countries, was born in a border area between three states. Since the border has been moved so many times during the world wars, it is difficult today to define what is the ‘national memory’ that the territory may adopt: not always the ‘national memory’ coincides with the collective memory of the people and families of an area.

In some cases the collective, local and familiar memories can not be represented by ‘the’ national memory, and therefore become ‘B series’ memories: sometimes ‘B series memories’ are erased, put aside (unconsciously or even willfully, with deliberate actions) buried or hidden, waiting for oblivion.

We are looking for works of art that, in reference to the memory of conflicts, wars and dictatorships, are capable of highlight the collective and familiar memory and offer a poly-focal and multi-vocal perception of memory and history.

Memento mori is a Latin expression that derives from a typical tradition of ancient Rome: when a general, after a military triumph, parading in the streets picking up the honors by the crowd, was overwhelmed by pride and by yearnings of greatness, there where someone invested to repeat him continuously the phrase: “Look behind you. Remember that you are a man”. This ritual was invented from the ancient probably to avoid the detachment from human empathy and the feeling of humanity by part of powerful people during wartime. This is an antique way to recall a universal necessity, which afflict us also in relation to contemporary conflicts: the necessity to keep individuals in contact with their emotions, preventing objectification of human beings, which is a common perceptual distortion in war. Then, the Latin expression vanitas vanitatum, taken from the Bible, comes from vanus, literally “blank”, “transient”.

In painting this expression gave life to a particular iconography for the representation of the sense of ephemeral of life, it is recurring in still life nature paintings, characterized by the presence of objects or symbolic indicators that allude to the precariousness of existence and to the inexorability of the passage of time (skulls, stopped clocks, unlit candles). At the base of this concept there is the idea of impermanence and transience, focusing on the ephemeral nature of life. Impermanence is indeed, according with the oriental philosophies, “feature of everything that lives”.

This is an iconography that during the seventeenth century represented the transience of life but, other times, it was dedicated to the representation of fragility, as a life’s metaphor. The origin and the spread of vanitas iconographies represents a new key to interpreting the horror’s war that, not by chance, was developed in a spiritual and symbolic way (not explicit or truculent) during the Middle Ages. In that period Europe, plagued by famine, by the Thirty Year’s War, by the world catastrophe that followed the discovery of America, and by the religious schism, detected for the first time, in a tragic way, the detachment between ideology (religious reasons that had justified the conflict) and reality (war’s tragedy).

We’re looking for artists who have worked in the contemporaneity on the concept of Vanitas and Memento Mori, symbols that translate universal feelings, valid today as it was in the past, connected to the representation of impermanence, caducity, fragility of life, through various artistic media and forms of representation.

The “Social contract” of Rousseau well describes the way in which human beings from all over the world move around, using attitudes and practices as a lubricant in the public sphere, conforming themselves and making themselves socially invisible to minimize the friction with the society and to minimize and attrition of a violent society on their psyche-soma. We strive to create a private space in which to enjoy our identitary inheritance, in intimacy, in order to protect ourselves from the incursion coming from the outside, and particularly from a war, or a dictatorship.

Intimacy is one of the first precious thing people loose during a conflict, and, indeed, the sacredness of this private space is represented in different ways in the artworks of great artists: despite coming from different territorial and historical contexts, they were able to transmit the symbol of the defence of the borders of privacy/secrecy against a violent/armed situation: no human being is immune from the anxiety to defend himself and his loved ones from these violations, which are very common in time of war and dictatorship.

We are looking for the representations of this topic in contemporary art, delving deeper in the emergent contemporary art scenario, looking for the representation of these symbols:

-The defence of the border between public and private in war;
-The affirmation of the identity through the intimacy/identitary space.

In the Risorgimental museums, such as in the contemporary museums dedicated to the war theme, the war object (comprehending the weapon object) is often exposed in order to highlight his aesthetic function or for a didascalic aim and, several times, without wondering what it’s his representative sense in the museum, also from an ethical point of view.

We are convinced that the only alternative to the current didascalic or esthetical representation of war objects is the war object itself, played by a symbolic function, manipulated by the artists and for this reason transfigured into a new object, a new bearer of metaphorical and symbolic meanings.

We are looking for artists who have worked on war’s objects and have tried to create new representations of them by linking it, in this way, to universal human feelings and experiences in relation to war conflicts.

500 years after the end of the Crusades and the discovery of the Americas, colonial conflicts still continue to subsist in a silently way, sometimes taking the features of slow and silent genocides. Colonialism leaves behind aftermaths and legacies, which re-emerge centuries later.

We are looking for artists who have worked on the theme of colonialism and colonial war, focusing particularly on bequests and legacies of these conflicts.

No fees are required to participate in the selection.

The selected artworks will be exhibited in 2017/2018 according to the cultural events of the festivals.

In order to apply for this call, the artists should send by March 31th 2017 to, indicating “Call for artists” as object of the email, the following documents (in English or French or Italian):

  1. a short presentation/bio of the artist (maximum one page), together with references to the artist’s website, if applicable, and a phone number;
  2. a short presentation of the candidate artwork (maximum one page);
  3. if the artwork has already been realised, please attach to your application images and/or photographs; any other documents will be welcomed (like videos, portfolios, renderings)

Artists will be informed whether their artwork has been accepted or not by the end of May 2017. The participation at the festival usually does not provide a fee for the artist.

The participation, instead, covers for sure the costs of transport, exhibition, media and press for each project/artwork selected.


Tags : collagedeadline 31.03.17digital artdrawinginstallationpaintingphotographysound artvisual artistsvisual arts

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