Photography and Agency


16 & 17 October 2020

In these times of global crisis, physical contact seems to be associated with a constant risk. The pandemic causes us to question our daily encounters over and over again and wonder about their potential effects. Against this backdrop, photographs emerge in their role as initiators of exchange and encounter: Especially in politically charged contexts, they may bundle energies as well as suppress them. The symposium Cont·Act! is dedicated to these very dynamics that arise from people communicating and acting through images. Twelve international (up-and-coming) researchers and artists discuss the activating qualities of photographs and their participation in situations of upheaval.

The four panels of the conference are dedicated to protest movements, image strategies in times of crisis, (post-)colonial questions and the ongoing operationalization of the image. They thus address issues that arise directly from the political and social challenges of the present. The keynote speakers will be Ariel Caine, member of the London-based research collective Forensic Architecture, and the Berlin art historian and curator Tom Holert. On October 17, 2020, in cooperation with the Folkwang University of the Arts an intervention will take place in the context of the current photographic exhibition on show at Museum Folkwang

Organized by Daria Bona, Sophie-Charlotte Opitz and Katharina Täschner, fellowship holders of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation within the program "Museum Curators for Photography".

Conference languages are German and English.

Download program flyer

Download program

On Sat, 17 Oct., the Symposium starts not until 12:00 o'clock.
The lecture by Tom Holert has to be cancelled.

Due to the current Corona protection measures, participation is only possible by registration online!

Download registration form

The completed registration form must be sent until 11 October 2020 to:

The participation is free of charge. Limited number of participants.

In case you should need a hotel room, you can book it using the keyword "Cont-Act! - Museum Folkwang" at the Mercure Hotel Essen under the special conditions of the Museum Folkwang. (Limited contingent)

Additionally, the entire event can be viewed via livestream:


The symposium is supported by


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