Annalisa Sonzogni

Bridging the Distance

by Gil Pasternak

Bridging the Distance is a group exhibition by international photography, moving-image and lens- related artists, designed to re-evaluate photography’s ability to draw us close to the feelings, concerns and lived experiences of those who exist beyond our own immediate physical, political and cultural spaces.

The works in the exhibition consider people, groups and places of various national and social backgrounds, all of which have seen major transformations of local and even historic significance in the recent past. Whether sending us from England to former Czechoslovakia, Russia, Spain, or back to England again, their varied communicative approaches invite us to ask how do we – how must we – understand the connection between photography and people’s ways of life in today’s post-factual world.

Relentlessly compelling us to take a reality check, the artists often use the camera together with other media, such as voice, sound, text, writing, clay and found ephemera. These actions collapse traditional divisions of theory and practice, speculation and perceived knowledge, imagination and experience. The works thereby encourage us to engage with the question of photography’s participation in human affairs – intellectually, empirically and emotionally.

Some of the exhibits prompt renewed consideration of photographic images; others revolve around the implications of photography’s material manifestations. Fantasy, social perception, seclusion, surveillance and the everyday are themes that run throughout Bridging the Distance, enabling us to revisit our understandings of photography’s relationship to vision, visibility and visualisation in different yet familiar contexts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to all of us how much we are dependent on one another for our mutual protection and safety. Considering the global rise of various forms of physical, political and cultural exclusion that characterise life in the present day nevertheless, Bridging the Distance implores us to contemplate how photography may be used to neutralise dogmatic cynicism and establish non-discriminatory connections between people across ideological and actual boundaries alike.