FORMAT21: Presents

April 28, 2021

Following the successful 3D virtual presentation of FORMAT21 International Photography Festival, selected exhibitions from this year’s international photography festival will be shown in venues across Derby in the city’s cultural institutions and retail spaces.

A giant photo mosaic appears on the outside of QUAD in Derby as part of the #massisolationFORMAT. Created and produced by The People’s Picture for FORMAT21, the photo mosaic is composed of a total of 180,574 photos from the full exhibition.

Covid19 has dominated the world’s media since WHO announced the pandemic in early 2020 and in March Director of FORMAT Louise Fedotov-Clements, inspired by the 1937 Mass Observation project launched the Instagram based project #massisolationFORMAT.

The project invited photographers from around the world to hashtag their visual responses to the pandemic and over the course of the next twelve months over 40,000 images from participants in 90 countries have tagged their photographs. This global response to living under lockdown has created an immensely important archive of images that chronicle our common and shared experiences, capture the tragedy of illness and death, document the heroic struggle of working on the frontline and offered the opportunity for creative and surreal expressions of Covid19 across the world.

FORMAT has partnered with the photography and design studio – The People’s Picture – led by Helen Marshall to produce both a physical photomosaic and digital archive of the curated images from #massisolationFORMAT which will form the main exhibition at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

The mass isolation mosaic, featuring #massisolationFORMAT image Lovers by Argentinian photographers Luisa Magdalena and Nahuel Alfonso, has also been turned into a public art installation in Derby’s Market Square. Printed onto a giant vinyl the mosaic wraps around QUAD enabling everyone passing by, to see many of the 40,000 images submitted to #massisolationFORMAT.

The FORMAT21 Open Call received over 800 submissions from 66 countries and a small selection of the 50 selected projects will be shown at Deda. Exploring the many manifestations of the festival theme – Control, the work of LeiLei, Anouchka Renaud-Eck, Tami Aftab, Juan Orrantia and Heather Agyepong look at the struggle for control in the personal and political spheres.

Very contemporary ideas of self-control as expressed through health and well-being are explored in Tami Aftab’s visualisation her father’s illness, hydrocephalus, in The Dog’s in the Car; Lei Lei’s A Moment questions the hierarchy of the process of image production and ways of looking; Anouchka Renaud-Eck highlights the control exerted through traditional Indian marriages in Ardhanarishvara; Juan Orrantia’s Like Stains of Red Dirt uses vibrant colour to suggest the historical and political undercurrents of living in South African and Heather Agyepong focuses on the work of Aida Overton Walker, the celebrated African American vaudeville performer who challenged the rigid and problematic narratives of black performers in Wish You Were Here.

FORMAT International Photography Festival was established by QUAD in 2004 and is the UK’s leading festival of photography and related media. FORMAT organises a year-round programme of international commissions, open calls, residencies, conferences and collaborations in the UK and Internationally. Previous festival editions have welcomed over 100,000 visitors from all over the world. FORMAT is the place to engage with an incredible range of new work alongside some of the best archives and established practitioners in the world. With comprehensive professional practice programmes and a yearly International Photography Portfolio Review, FORMAT is focused on developing opportunities for audiences to see, debate, develop, contribute and participate in the best of what photography is and can be.

The biennale edition incorporates Derby’s most beautiful buildings and key landmarks including: QUAD, University of Derby, Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Deda, Derwent Valley World Heritage Sites, Market Place and satellite venues in nearby cities. FORMAT is organised by QUAD and DMARC (Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre of the University of Derby) FORMAT21: CONTROL 12th March – 11th April 2021