Bologna: the finalist projects of the MAST Photography Grant on Industry and Work / 2023, a photography competition on industry and work devoted to emerging talents (called upon to observe the shifts of a rapidly changing world, are on show at the MAST Foundation until May 1st.
The winner of the seventh edition of the Grant is Hicham Gardaf with In Praise of Slowness.
The other finalists are Lebohang Kganye, who received the Jury’s Special Mention for her project Keep the Light Faithfully, Farah Al Qasimia with Dearborn, Maria Mavropoulou with In their own image, in the image of God they created them and Salvatore Vitale with Death by GPS.
In a world in which society and work are in swirling change (unparalleled in the last 250 years, despite the various industrial revolutions), it is essential to try to understand the causes of this constant transformation. For example, by observing it from different perspectives, using photography.
This is what happens in the MAST exhibition spaces, where the images of the finalists of the 2023 edition (as well as those of the finalists of previous editions) tell of a world of flows and interconnections: if the power of water and steam was decisive for the first industrial revolution, in the current phase, known as “Work 4.0”, it is data and information that support the changes in today’s working realities.
The mirror of a transformation
The exhibition Mast Photography Grant On Industry And Work / 2023 shows the radical transformations that are taking place declined in different ways by the authors. This is how Farah Al Qasimi focuses on the large Arab community in Dearborn, Michigan (USA), the historic headquarters of the Ford Motor Company and a city that is an expression of two cultures, the Arab and the American.
Hicham Gardaf, who praises slowness, depicts the contrast between the expanding part of the city of Tangier and its old centre, full of charm and sounds, including the voices of bleach sellers (a traditional job in danger of disappearing).
Salvatore Vitale investigates the links between the gig economy and mining in the Gauteng region of South Africa, juxtaposing documentary photographs of real events with video footage of staged sabotage, to reflect on the exploitation of gig workers in late capitalism.
Maria Mavropoulou works with artificial intelligence. Using text-to-image conversion software, she obtains a variety of images, from which she makes a choice (the creative act) and then builds up, with a complex montage, large pictures (the viewer is invited to contribute to their completion by observing). However, the question is whether artificial intelligence will be able to create a work of art autonomously in the future.
Between fantasy, reality and narrative, Lebohang Kganye evokes the life of lighthouse keepers in South Africa. In a kind of Chinese shadow theatre, she stages photographed characters whose silhouettes are cut out and applied to cardboard, the settings enhanced by skillful theatrical lighting.
A multi-faceted vision of the world
In addition to the projects of the 2023 finalists, the MAST exhibition spaces are also displaying the projects of the twenty-four finalists of the previous editions of the MAST Photography Grant (the first of which was awarded in 2008). All the works suggest a global vision and a clear and detailed analysis, making it possible to discover geographically distant themes, even though they are linked to our working environment, which is also undergoing rapid change.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Fondazione MAST.
MAST PHOTOGRAPHY GRANT ON INDUSTRY AND WORK / 2023
January 25 – May 1, 2023
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