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FotoFest 2004 - Water

February 24, 2004

For Immediate Release
For Information and Visuals Contact:

Vinod Hopson
Press Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext.26
Fax (713) 223-4411

Marta Sanchez Philippe
International Press Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext. 16
For French and Spanish Inquiries


The Tenth International Biennial of Photographic Arts

March 12, 2004 – April 12, 2004
Houston, Texas

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 24, 2004) – From the controversies of great dam projects to unseen images of the inner language of Water, FotoFest is presenting 29 exhibitions that speak to the multiplicity of ways that Water intersects with human life.

Collectively FotoFest’s exhibitions on Water explore the ecological, industrial, political, spiritual, and aesthetic aspects of Water.

“The Water exhibitions have a special role to play in this Biennial,” says Frederick Baldwin, FotoFest Chairman. “They are intended to evoke the wonder of Water through the extraordinary visual character of Water and reveal how human society is impacting the Water resources of this planet.”

For more information on exhibit locations and dates please see the FotoFest website,


The Language of Water - the scientific investigation and visual documentation of the internal movements of Water by the Institute of Flow Sciences [Institut fur Strömungswissenschaften] in Herrishreid, Germany. This work, based in the pioneering Drop-Picture Method developed by German engineer Theodor Schwenk, reveals dynamics and movements of Water normally invisible to the human eye. It reveals the sensitivity of Water to even the mildest pollutants. FotoFest 2004 is the first time these images have been exhibited this way. Curatorial collaboration with the Institute of Flow Science and Jennifer Greene, Director of The Water Research Institute of Blue Hill, Maine. The multi-media exhibition opens with Andrej Zdravic's film Riverglass, "a river ballet in four seasons." At FotoFest Headquarters Downtown at Vine Street Studios.

Water in the West – the history and politics of water use in the arid U.S. West. This is a 14-year collaboration between eleven U.S. artists: Laurie Brown, Robert Dawson, Terry Evans, Geoffrey Fricker, Peter Goin, Wanda Hammerbeck, Sant Khalasa, Mark Klett, Ellen Land-Weber, Sharon Stewart, Martin Stupich. The project documents and interprets what is happening to water and land use in the western United States. This project includes documentary photography, digital prints and mixed media installations. At the Willams Tower Gallery.

Shorelines and Rivers – these large one-of-a-kind prints are part of British artist Susan Derges’ search to convey the physical and spiritual experience of water and land, the nature of water’s movements, and the human inter-relationship to water. The large one-of-a-kind prints are ‘created’, so to speak, by the interaction of the movement of river currents and ocean tides on the riverbottoms and shorelines. By placing photographic paper in these bodies of water and exposing the photographs by moonlight, Derges shows the intersection of earth, water, sand, and light. The beauty of her prints is a contrast to the reality of the pollution that is endangering both the river and shorelines she is depicting. At the New World Museum.

Memorías del Agua {Memories of Water}, The Orinoco – the cultural heritage of a river. Curated with Tómas Rodríguez of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas, Venezuela, this four-part mixed media installation work by Venezuelan artist Edgar Moreno examines the history, culture, and economics of one of Latin America’s most important and legendary rivers, the Orinoco, and its connections to the Amazon. At The Station.

Three Gorges Dam, China – the issue of dams. With estimated costs as high as 75 billion dollars and the displacement of over 1 million residents, this dam spanning the Yangtze River has been debated for nearly 80 years. U.S. photographer Steven Benson examines China’s controversial Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest civic works project. Benson’s much acclaimed project documents, in photographs and words, the construction of this monumental dam and its impact on human culture and physical environment around it.

City of Shadows and St. Petersburg, City of Water – water and the urban landscape. Two contemporary St. Petersburg photographers, Andrei Chezhin and Alexei Titarenko, explore the relation and cultural legacy of Water to the great Russian city built by Peter the Great out of the marshlands of the Neva River. At FotoFest Headquarters Downtown at Vine Street Studios.

The Lake Projects – the death of a lake. The slashes of brilliant color in large aerial photographs belie the underlying reality of California’s Owens Lake. Today a mostly dry, desert lake drained by Los Angeles in the early 20th Century, it emanates chemical-ridden dust clouds that are full of carcinogenic compounds. U.S. artist David Maisel shows a landscape in peril that appears to bleed from the large red wound of the lake bed.

Shipbreaking - large-scale, dramatic color work by Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky on the dismemberment and recycling of huge ocean-going steel ships on the tidal flats of India and Bangladesh. Beached at high tide, an army of steelworkers and laborers dismantle the ships in a process that mirrors the slaughter of whales. Curated by Scott McLeod, Prefix Photo, Toronto, Canada. At Reliant Energy Plaza at 1000 Main.

Aguas Baldías [Barren Waters] – water as political metaphor. Contemporary Cuban artist Manuel Piña’s conceptual work on Havana’s malecón, the famous seawall that overlooks the Caribbean and the mystical pathway of escape from one land to another.

Aqua Scapes - a world underwater. U.S. artist Karen Glaser a world that is both dense and delicate, a dark world pierced by light and the wonderous movements of living things that inhabit the water. Swimming with wild manatees and other sea life, Glaser conveys the fragility and beauty of these endangered riverine habitats. At One City Centre.

Ocean Movements – images of waves. Two dynamic and diverse visual interpretations of ocean movements by Irish artist Kevin Griffin and Chinese-born, New York artist DoDo Jin Ming, transform water into new and startling landscapes. Griffin’s work, photographed in the waves trough, depict the cresting waves just as they are about to wash over him. DoDo Jin Ming’s black and white images of angry and violent waves, full of spray and foam, are reminiscent of romantic landscape paintings.

Río de la Plata, Water as Graveyard - conceptual work by Argentine artist Helen Zout using photographs and text to expose the use of the Río de la Plata in Buenos Aires as a dumping ground for corpses by the Argentine military dictatorship. During the long years of civil war, hundreds of unidentified bodies, many those of kidnapped desaparacidos, were dumped by plane and boat into the mouth of the river. At FotoFest Headquarters Downtown at Vine Street Studios.

Metaphysics of Water - water as metaphor. The abstract works of Korean artists Bohnchang Koo, Jungjin Lee, and Han Sungpil are meditations on the surfaces, space, and external movements of Water. In these works, in very different ways, water becomes an object of cultural and aesthetic contemplation. At FotoFest Headquarters Downtown at Vine Street Studios.

Iguazú Falls – a waterfall, taller and more than four times as wide as Niagara Falls. Brazilian artist Valdir Cruz' images of the mythic waterfalls between Brazil and Argentina capture the power and beauty of moving water.

New York Waterworks - water and the urban infrastructure. U.S. artist Stanley Greenberg looks at the extraordinary century-old, labyrinthine infrastructure of aqueducts and underground tunnels that carry water to and through New York City from reservoirs upstate.

Personal Views - representations of Water and the environments shaped by Water by female artists Julie Hoerner (U.S.), Gina Glover (U.K.), Anne Gabriele (U.S.), Corinne Mercadier (France), Barbara Downs (U.K.), and Ernestine Ruben (U.S.). At Heritage Hall at the JPMorgan Chase Building.

Paisagens Marinhos [Sea Landscapes], and Navios [Ships] - Brazilian artist Cássio Vasconcelos' conceptual depiction of the oceans above and below. The massive steel structures of ships, caught in raging storms, appear on the verge of foundering but once again bob to the surface. In contrast, his Sea Landscapes show fish and other sea life floating freely in their natural habitat. Printed large, on hand-coated paper, the black and white montages look more like paintings or engravings than photographs.

The Serpentine Swimming Club - documentation by British artist Andrew Buurman of a 150 year-old swimming club that swims year-round in a lake in London’s Hyde Park. Buurman won a 2003 World Press Photo Award with this body of work.

Looking at Water – U.S. artist David Goldes, a former scientist, re-connects to the apparent magic revealed in childhood water science experiments. The sublime and quirky images, inhabited by glasses, spoons, corks and pins, and set on an everyday kitchen table, reference elementary school science projects and suggest the artist’s continued wonderment and awe of the properties of Water.

Bottle – an object as commonplace and banal as a plastic water bottle becomes a relic to the eyes of U.K. artist Elaine Duigenan. What started as a container for life-giving water, the bottle is discarded and begins its very slow decay. Battered by sun, wind, sand and surf the bottle begins to take on an organic form resembling the sloughed rattle of a snake. At Kavah Kane.

Water as Ritual – Three artists, Stuart Rome (U.S.), Phyllis Galembo (U.S.), and Christian Cravo (Brazil), photograph the physical power and rituals surrounding water in Haiti, South East Asia and the U.S.


FotoFest 2004 will also feature five collaborations with Houston arts and environmental organizations.

Landscape with Waterfall – German landscape artist Nils Udo has been commissioned by Buffalo Bayou ArtPark, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and FotoFest 2004 to construct a site-specific work on and about Houston’s bayous. At the historic Sunset Coffee Building at Allen’s Landing.

Fish Flag Mourant – French-Irish artist Malachi Farrell’s multi-media, sound and moving object installation about the destruction of fish species in salt and fresh water. It is a collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership. At the historic Sunset Coffee Building at Allen’s Landing.

River People - The Rice University Media Center will exhibit the inaugural exhibition of over 100 photographs by Spanish artist Alvaro Leiva about the people and cultures built around four of the world’s great rivers; the Niger, the Ganges, the Amazon and the Mississippi. At the Rice University Media Center.

Fountain, Pain of Poison, Pigeon, and Searching Down the Wires – Houston Community College, Central Art Gallery is co-sponsoring a series of video installations by U.S. artist Barry Anderson.

Ocean Apart – British artist Ingrid Pollard’s reflection on time and diaspora, defined by the ocean, separating white Europe from the black Caribbean. This is an installation is collaboration with Project Row Houses.

The exhibitions and collaborations on Water are created and commissioned by FotoFest especially for FotoFest 2004, as part of the Tenth Biennial’s focus on Water.

Discoveries of the Meeting Place
The one non water-related FotoFest exhibition is the fifth biennial Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibit. It highlights the work of ten outstanding artists selected by curator/reviewers from artists whose portfolios they reviewed at FotoFest’s 2002 International Meeting Place. The Meeting Place is FotoFest’s acclaimed portfolio review program for artists. It is the largest program of its kind in the world.

The 2004 Discoveries exhibit will feature Sian Bonnell (U.K., selected by Clint Willour), Vincent Cianni (U.S., selected by Barbara Tannenbaum), Brian Finke (U.S., selected by Vaclav Macek), Bill Jorden (U.S., selected by Joaquim Paiva), Thomas Kellner (Germany, selected by Melissa Harris), Elaine Ling (Canada, selected by Frank Gimpaya), Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov (Bulgaria, selected by Stephen Bulger), Leo Nash (U.S., selected by Kate Menconeri), Simon Norfolk (U.K., selected by Manfred Zollner), and Dominic Rouse (U.K., selected by Gary Hesse).


Film and Video Program - In addition to its exhibits, FotoFest is developing, for the first time, a comprehensive and diverse film and video series paralleling the scope of the exhibitions and installations. The six-week series, from February 29 through April 16, will feature traditional cinema, experimental/avant garde and documentary works and is being done in collaboration with 8 well-known Houston film, video, and arts organizations. A separate press release is available on the FotoFest 2004 Film and Video program. Contact Eileen Maxson, Film & Video Coordinator, 713/ 223-5522 ext 31 or

The Global Forum on Water - sponsored by FotoFest and Rice University. Hosted by the Environmental and Energy Systems Institute and Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University and the Center for the Study of Society and the Environment at Rice University, with the Menil Collection and the Rothko Chapel, the Global Forum is bringing together art and science. Dedicated to examining the state of Water in the world and bringing about a re-visioning of Water, The forum will have some of the world’s top scientists, technology experts, urban designers, Water experts, policymakers, activists, and creative thinkers. The Global Forum is preceded February - March 2004 by four seminars on Regional Water Issues at Rice University. The Global Forum is free to the public however pre-registration is required. A separate press release is available for the FotoFest 2004 Global Forum on Water.

In addition to the exhibits organized by FotoFest, independently curated exhibits are being presented by museums, commercial art galleries, and alternative spaces across Houston and Galveston. For a current and full list of Participating Spaces, please see the FotoFest Web site,

The FotoFest Biennial is a citywide event with over 100 participating organizations all across Houston and the surrounding metroplex. FotoFest is opening the Tenth Biennial on Friday, March 12, 2004 with a Downtown celebration, including exhibitions, music, performances, and large-scale projections.

For more information on FotoFest 2004 Biennial programming, 2004 visuals, and forthcoming FotoFest publications, please contact Mr. Vinod Hopson, Press Coordinator at 713/ 223-5522 ext 26 or

FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street, Houston, Texas 77002

SPONSORS - FOTOFEST 2004 (as of January 28, 2004)

Major institutional sponsors for FotoFest 2004 are Houston Endowment, Inc; Nan T. McEvoy Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; GoBase2-Manzanita Alliance; Axiom Design, Houston; The Brown Foundation Inc., Houston; William Stamps Farish Fund; Trust for Mutual Understanding; City of Houston and Texas Commission for the Arts through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County; Continental Airlines; The Warwick Hotel; Texas Commission on the Arts; The Bruni Smothers Foundation; The Wortham Foundation; H-E-B Grocery; The Houston Chronicle; Margaret Regan and Fletcher Thorne-Thomsen, Jr, Vine Street Studios

Continental Airlines is the official airline of FotoFest and FotoFest 2004

Additional institutional support has come from KUHF 88.7FM; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.; PaperCity Magazine; The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation; The Clayton Fund; Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Houston; Arts Houston Magazine; British Art Council; George Mitchell Interests; The Oshman Foundation; Joan and Stanford Alexander Foundation; The Samuels Foundation of The Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community of Houston; Buffalo Bayou ArtPark; Buffalo Bayou Partnership, The Greentree Fund; Rice University Department of Visual Arts and Abrams, Scott & Bickley LLP

Special in-kind support has come from Rice University; Hines - Williams Tower Gallery; Weingarten Realty; McCord Development – One City Centre; Century Development – Reliant Energy Plaza at 1000 Main; Crescent Real Estate Equities - One Houston Center; TrizecHahn – One and Three Allen Center and Continental One; Heritage Hall at the JPMorgan Chase Building; Denise Bethel, Sotheby’s; MindOH! Design; Downtown Management District; Sicardi Gallery; The Wealth Group - Erie City Ironworks; Project Row Houses; Houston Community College, Central Art Department; Gremillion & Co. Fine Art Inc.; New World Museum - Armando Palacios and Cinda Ward; The Station – James and Ann Harithas; Aurora Picture Show; Microcinema International; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Voices Breaking Boundaries; Lawndale Art Center; DiverseWorks Art Space; Angelika Film Center; KUHT-PBS Channel 8; The Artery

A list of FotoFest institutional funders is available and listed on the FotoFest Web site,