We spent a lovely day in sunny Breda today at the BredaPhoto Festival, titled To Infinity and Beyond. The weather was perfect and we had lunch outside even.

Some images.

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Walking through Breda

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Work by Kenta Cobayashi (festival page)

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The artist and someone else’s work. (video interview with Jeroen Bocken, work on the wall by Maija Tammi

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Three data visualisations photographed by Jos Jansen: Criminal relationship network (University of Amsterdam), Lidar images of trees (University of Amsterdam), Probability function of the Higgs Boson (NIKHEF).

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Pictures of Aldermen of medium sized cities, with grey buzz cuts…Jan Dirk van der Burg serialises photos found online into weird patterns and categories.

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Image deemed controversial by Iran’s ministry for culture. From the Qajar series by Shadi Ghadirian

BredaPhoto BredaPhotoAntony Cairns, IBM CTY1, city photos on IBM punch cards.

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Open after 8:00, close before 17:00. Note on a door at Breda city archive.

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Empty lunch cafe in Breda city center, as everyone was outside enjoying the sun.

We had a good day, but I found the photo festival lacking cohesion and a narrative, binding it all into the theme To Infinity and Beyond.

Visited the photo exhibit by Eddo Hartmann on North Korea in the Huis Marseille museum in Amsterdam last week.

What struck me was the similarity with the Eastern block countries in the 1980’s in terms of design looking like it got frozen from the moment that outside influences were banned or blocked. It seems that the price for removing outside influences is reduction of inspiration or creative friction resulting in stagnation of artistic expression (other than those sanctioned)

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Friedrichstrasse, East-Berlin in 1987, at least it was busy, even if the design was like the 50’s

Also the contrast between the often inhuman scale of monuments, buildings and roads and the general absence of traffic or crowds. Except maybe for rush-hour on the metro (the exhibit contained some 360 degrees VR videos of that). The emptiness of the photos looks to be confirmed by aerial footage in Google maps, that also shows an absence of traffic and passers-by that doesn’t rhyme with Pyongyang having 3 million or more inhabitants. It reminds me of the emptiness of Second Life a few years back, where the entire environment was built up but no-one was ever there, except during events. Of cities we expect a certain activity level at all times. The whole ‘the city that never sleeps‘ mythology.


Google maps aerial photo of Pyongyang showing mostly empty streets


Elmine exploring some video footage of Pyongyang in VR