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Photoville 2023 presents work by four Dutch photographers

Bebe Blanco Agterberg, Dear Mr. Welles, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Bebe Blanco Agterberg, Dear Mr. Welles, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Bebe Blanco Agterberg, Dear Mr. Welles, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Bebe Blanco Agterberg, Dear Mr. Welles, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Marjolein Busstra, We Don’t Talk, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Marjolein Busstra, We Don’t Talk, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Marjolein Busstra, We Don’t Talk, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Marjolein Busstra, We Don’t Talk, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

Hendra Eka, Lisette, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Hendra Eka, Lisette, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Hendra Eka, Lisette, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Valkenburg, As Free As A Bird. Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Valkenburg, As Free As A Bird. Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Valkenburg, As Free As A Bird. Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Valkenburg, As Free As A Bird. Courtesy of the artist

Sat, Jun 3 - Sun, Jun 18  2023

Photoville

Returning for its 12th consecutive year, the annual Photoville Festival is excited to feature the return of its Photoville Village in Brooklyn Bridge Park with some of the festival’s classic shipping containers, in addition to open-air exhibitions throughout all five boroughs of New York City. Four Dutch photographers will be featured in the festival: Bebe Blanco Agterberg, Marjolein Busstra, Hendra Eka, and Suzanne Valkenburg.

Bebe Blanco Agterberg – Dear Mr. Welles

On the evening of October 30, 1938 listeners across the United Stated were presented with an unexpected account of a meteor hitting the New Jersey countryside. While hearing loud sirens in the background, the radio broadcast included descriptions of terrifying creatures, war machines and dense clouds of poisonous gas heading towards New York City. Some listeners were in shock by the approaching threat, while others fled their homes or called the police. This broadcast was not a news report, but Orson Welles’ classic production, “The War of the Worlds.”

By visualizing letters sent to Welles after the broadcast and recreating experiences of listeners who believed the attack was real, this project investigates if the wave of mass hysteria as The New York Times reported was really true. The work emphasizes how the broadcast became a significant scandal, showing the power of radio and the vulnerability of the country in times of crisis. Bebe Blanco Agterberg traces the origins of “fake news” back to Welles’ show.

On view at container 24, Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza, 1 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Number 1 on the official photoville map. Presented by: Melkweg Expo & Photoville, with additional support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

About the artist

Bebe Blanco Agterberg is a visual storyteller based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She examines history and the reliability of the image in the post-truth era, which forms a grey area where fact and fiction live close to each other. This is the area where Agterberg positions herself.

The projects she makes explore the relationship between politics, media and citizens. How these three opponents feed each other, need each other, but also exist in a constant power struggle.

Her visual language is based on what she sees in the media and she is specifically interested in that what has been manipulated. Agterberg uses artificial light in order to give a cinematic feeling to the work, which is based on emotions that tries to lure its audience into believing what is created in front of them. In her work she takes on the role of a director that investigates what truth means in modern times.

Agterberg graduated with honors from The Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague and is a member of Futures, a Europe based photography platform that brings together the resources and talents of 14 cultural institutions. She also works as an image editor for the Dutch journalistic platform; De Correspondent.

Besides working on personal projects, Bebe is available for commissioned assignments.

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Marjolein Busstra – We Don’t Talk

For the multimedia project We Don’t Talk, Marjolein Busstra followed the lives of minors entangled in complex networks of sexual violence and/or exploitation. The exhibition shows a series of images of places linked to the traumatic memories of these young people. By going back to the locations where they felt extremely unsafe, and creating new memories there together, the old, unprocessed memory can be partly overwritten and processed. Together, the concept of the project and the collaborative act of photographing shaped the final form of this exhibition. Could this enable the protagonists to (partially) experience these locations with new thoughts, emotions and associations?

Busstra; “There’s beauty in being able to work with those memories and to change your perception, to see yourself in a new, softer, light. We have the capacity—in the space between memory and imagination—to alter ourselves in retrospect.”

Next to the photography series, the exhibition presents two video works. In the film ‘Crush’ they reflect on the trauma. As a viewer, this video work can feel oppressive, you are drawn in. The second film (‘Mess’) is more reflective in which the youngsters express how past experiences still hunts them.

On view at container 12, Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza, 1 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Number 1 on the official photoville map. Presented by: Melkweg Expo & Photoville, with additional support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

About the artist

The Amsterdam based artist Marjolein Busstra is not bound by the restrictions of one medium; it is not by definition a photograph or a film. It all depends on the subject matter and how she wants to lure the viewer into her perspective. Her work has been exhibited at important venues and directed documentaries, that received global appraisal including tributes from international film festivals like DOK.fest München, Movies that Matter and Watch Docs.

Aiming to unravel identity structures and representations, she captures stories touching on universal themes such as human rights, dislocation, and political and cultural exclusion. Although these are somewhat heavy subjects, Marjolein’s work always has a touch of humanity, humour and personality.

After her participation at the IDFA Academy 2019, Marjolein directed her newest documentary We Don’t Talk which premiered in 2022 at Movies that Matter. The documentary was nominated for the Grand Jury Documentary Award and part of Movies that Matter on Tour. The film made an impact and reached the House of Representatives during the Sexual Violence debate in which six new motions were passed unanimously.

In April and May 2022 she had a solo-exhibition in Melkweg Expo Amsterdam with the multimedia project We Don`t talk.

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Hendra Eka – Lisette

Not all sex workers want to serve people with disabilities and people with special needs. However, this does not apply to Lisette, a professional sex worker from Breda.

At age 20, Lisette decided to become a commercial sex worker, or escort, at Relax sex agency. For five years, she lived life as ‘a butterfly of the night’ until she had a hernia so severe that she needed a discectomy on her spine. She had to undergo bed rest for three months. This period was a turning point for her. Lisette then began studying psychology, expanding her knowledge of intimacy in forming relationships.

Lisette’s interest in psychology was well-founded. According to her, she meets many clients who are not confident in their physical appearance and feel insecure when they have sex. Her high-paying clients were never truly content emotionally. Lisette began to apply what she had learned to her work, encouraging equality in the pursuit of pleasure. Lisette embarked on a new career as an independent escort. She eventually decided to set up her own sex agency and manage six sex workers.

The woman, whose full name is Lisette Mepschen, began to change her perspective. As a sex worker, she feels the need to satisfy her clients physically and emotionally, not providing merely fleeting pleasure but an experience that intertwines the physical and emotional. She puts her psychological knowledge into practice and builds relationships based on honesty and intimacy. “Since then, I’ve referred to myself as a pleasure activist and intimacy coach,” says Lisette.

For the past 12 years, Lisette has committed her life to sex work. In fact, she has spent the previous eight years serving clients with disabilities and people with special needs who are often unable to discuss sexual concerns.

Lisette, who’s also a movie enthusiast, lives in a small town in the southern Netherlands with her boyfriend Pietro, a native Italian from Trieste, and Lola, a seven-month-old puppy.

Curated by Kadir van Lohuizen. On view at container 19, Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza, 1 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Number 1 on the official photoville map. Presented by Photoville, with additional support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

About Hendra Eka

Hendra Eka is photojournalist based in Jakarta, Indonesia, who started his career as a photojournalist in early 2009. Since becoming a photojournalist, Hendra has photographed news, sports, and stories that focus on social issues, human rights, gender, and identity.

As a visual journalist and storyteller, Hendra has experience working as a visual creator, editor, curator, and project manager. Hendra has been assigned to capture many sports events, such a NBA games in California – USA, EURO football championships in Poland-Ukraine, Tour de France, Formula One (F1), Australian Basketball League (ABL) in Perth Australia, Sea Games Malaysia, and WTAFinals Tennis in Singapore. Besides sports, he is also assigned to cover the conflict between residents in Wamena – Papua, AirAsia crash in Kalimantan, investigation of a private plane belonging to an Indonesian tycoon in Singapore, WAN-Ifra at Bangkok, and many more. In addition to that, he has also 3-month overland expedition from Bangkok -Thailand to Wagah – Pakistan.

He was awarded three times for his photos at the Anugerah Pewarta Foto Indonesia (APFI), the highest award for photojournalist in Indonesia. Hendra is recipient of Erasmus Huis Fellowship to Amsterdam 2020, residency program from the Kingdom of the Netherlands for one photojournalist from Indonesia.

On the sidelines of taking pictures, Hendra also joined the largest photojournalist organization in Indonesia, Pewarta Foto Indonesia (PFI), as Secretary General.

He published his monograph entitled Lisette in March 2023. One of the photographs won the Award of Excellence in the Daily Life category from Pictures of the Year International, the oldest photojournalism competition in the world.

Visit his website to see other works and whether he is open for assignment.

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Suzanne Valkenburg – As Free As A Bird

In the Netherlands some 35,000 people live in caravans or mobile homes, spread over more than 1,100 sites. Local authorities have been responsible for their pitches since 1999, but it is not a responsibility they relish. Indeed, many local authorities would much rather these pitches did not exist. Ever since she cycled past it as a little girl, documentary photographer Suzanne Valkenburg wondered what life was like in a mobile home park. What she found was a warm family culture that has been oppressed for many years now.

As Free As A Bird is an ostensibly casual portrait of an invisible, closed community. A world in itself, containing free spirits not constrained by employment agreements or civic duties, with their own unwritten rules, their own professions, their own taste and culture. The series shows not so much the poverty and precarity of the self-styled travellers’ existence, but rather their resilience as they try to make the most of life.

Valkenburg offers a subtle presentation of humanity and pride yet raises questions too. What is community spirit? What does freedom actually mean? And is true independence even possible, or just an illusion?

Container banner 11, Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza, 1 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Number 1 on the official photoville map. Presented by Photoville, with additional support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

About the artist

Suzanne Valkenburg (Netherlands, 1981) graduated in photography (MFA) at St. Joost School of Arts in Breda (NL) and is a documentary photographer.

From her background as a visual artist, she makes unremarkable worlds visible with her long-term projects and photo series. No flat, overly stylized images, but striking, pure images. Both autonomously and on commission, she shares her images with people who are looking for real and pure images. Her photo series As free as a bird is also captured in a self-published book and exposed at several exhibitions.

DutchCulture USA