8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg: Symposium Lucid Knowledge

Triennial of Photography , Hamburg, Germany
30 Sep 2021 - 02 Oct 2021

8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg: Symposium Lucid Knowledge

The 8th edition of the Triennial of Photography Hamburg will open on 19 May 2022. Based on the theme of Currency, artistic director Koyo Kouoh and her team of international curators, that includes Rasha Salti, Gabriella Beckhurst Feijoo, Oluremi C. Onabanjo and Cale Garrido, will explore how our “retinal era” leads us to perceive the world through image capture. Currency not only refers to money and its significance as an economic indicator, it is borrowed in this context to instigate a critical examination of photography.

The Triennial theme will be explored in a multifaceted programme of exhibitions, events and a festival. In August 2021, the new editorial platform of the Triennial Online will feature artistic commissions and reflective texts. Also in the run-up, an international symposium on the themes of the Triennial will take place in Hamburg from 30 September to 2 October 2021.

The theme of the 8th Triennial: Currency
In its primary meaning, currency is an economic term for a system of monetary units. Applied to discourses of visual culture, it is associated with “cultural capital.” In their interpretation of the theme, the curators refer to Susan Sontag, who posited that a “capitalist society requires a culture based on images.” It needs to furnish a huge amount of it to stimulate consumption. The camera defines a reality that is both “a spectacle (for masses)” and “an object of surveillance (for rulers).”

The curators of the Triennial extend the concept of currency to visual culture more broadly and will present photography alongside films, videos and installations. Currency is intended to explore canon- making, classification and circulation. Photography will be examined for its influence on trade and exchange, its importance for regulation and standardisation, but also, for its ability to generate and support resistance.

According to Koyo Kouoh, “With the theme of Currency we will explore the multiple ways in which we produce, circulate and interpret photographs and images, as well as how they define our perceptions of the world and how we project ourselves into the world. The theme and all the questions it carries are threading our conversations with the constellation of institutions involved in Hamburg. The structure of the Triennial provides a larger involvement of the entire city, promising an exceptionally rich, polyphonic and creative celebration of photography.”

The 8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg will extend through the city traversing a arcours eleven exhibitions. The following Hamburg museums and exhibition houses are participating in the Triennial: the Bucerius Kunst Forum, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg with the House of Photography, the Hall for Contemporary Art and the Falckenberg Collection, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Jenisch Haus, the Kunsthaus Hamburg, the Kunstverein in Hamburg, the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt, the Museum der Arbeit, the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.


The Triennial programme will start in summer 2021 with the launch of the Triennial Online, followed by an international symposium from
with a special focus on the photography scene in Hamburg. In addition, various publications will be presented in 2022.

Triennial Online Allegories of the Visible

The curated web platform is intended as a place for theoretical exchange and artistic reflection. It complements the theme of the Triennial through critical essays, creative writing and visual commissions. The website will launch in August 2021 and will publish contributions from international photographers and critics, theorists, scholars and artists through 2021–2022.

Symposium Lucid Knowledge

The international symposium will take place from 30 September to 2 October 2021 in Hamburg and will also be accessible online via a livestream. An interdisciplinary programme of lectures, presentations and roundtable discussions will bring together international artists, critics and curators, filmmakers, poets and academics. The guests will include Akinbode Akinbiyi, Ariella Azoulay, Nancy Adajania, Antawan I. Bird, Natalia Brizuela, Tina Campt, Robin Coste Lewis, Frieda Ekotto, Ariel Goldberg, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Saidiya Hartman, Kapwani Kiwanga, Miguel Lopez, Elias Sanbar, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Françoise Vergès.

Three themes will guide the symposium’s programme: Fields of Perception will interrogate the photographic impetus, the social uses of photography and the ethics of spectatorship; Narrative Currents will ask about photography’s relationship to the push and pull between the metaphorical and literal meanings and its narrative possibilities; Image as Currency will deconstruct the notion of currency as added value as well as reflect on the visual production, circulation and consumption of images.

Festival Photography: The Register and the Recital
30 September to 2 October 2021. The opening of the exhibitions and the events along the parcours take place from 19 to 22 May 2022, followed by a multi-day festival in June 2022.

The festival entitled Photography: The Register and the Recital will be held in June 2022. Its content will bring together the motifs and components of the Triennial and make them accessible in a diverse programme of lectures, discussions, presentations and film screenings. The festival will be held at various venues along the parcours.

Fotoszene Hamburg
The 8th Triennial will involve the local photography scene and provide a stage for Hamburg-based photographers, artists and collectives. Selected projects dealing with the concept of Currency are eligible for funding. For more information on the planned Open Call, starting in the fall of 2021, please visit:


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