From 8 September to 15 October, 2023, OPEN YOUR EYES is presenting a festival of creative photography for the people of Zurich – as a plea for understanding of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Themed upon ‘stop. think. feel. act.’, the festival invites guests to pause for a moment, reflect and feel the magic.
This is where world-class photography meets world-class science – to create an entirely new communication format. To this end, Open Your Eyes, ETH Zurich and The Photo Society (TPS), an association of more than 200 National Geographic photographers, have created large-scale open-air installations in the parks, streets and squares of Zurich.
The aesthetic magic of the pictorial narrative transforms Zurich into a city of photographs and the public space into a stage set for a synthesis of the arts, the significance of which is tied to the results of scientific research and innovation. In seventeen exhibition islands, the photo festival combines documentary photography and scientific findings in a plea for peace, tolerance and community fueled by the humanist spirit.
The photographic works are not to be understood as illustrations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but as comments and remarks in the sense of Cornell Capa’s ‘Concerned Photographers.’ Capa chose this term to describe works that go beyond describing events and show them with a humanitarian impulse. This school of thought is also a familiar concept that is related to science: The term ‘Concerned Scientists’ is used to describe the use of independent science to solve our planet’s most pressing problems.
The line-up of photographers at the Open Your Eyes festival is unique: Esther Haase, Chris de Bode, Maryam Firuzi, George Steinmetz, Ciril Jazbec, Ana María Arévalo Gosen, Jodi Cobb, Vera Mercer, Dominic Nahr, David Doubilet & Jennifer Hayes, Rina Castelnuovo & Jim Hollander with Tsafir Abayov, Eli Reed, Steve McCurry, Bea Bar Kallos, Roger Ballen, Ziv Koren, Stuart Franklin, Lois Lammerhuber, Brent Stirton, Peter DeJong, Patrick Zachmann, Gilles Peress, Alfred Yaghobzadeh, Alec Soth, Peter Turnley, Peter Menzel with Alexandra Boulat, Miguel Luis Fairbanks, Peter Ginter, Leong Ka Tai and Louis Psihoyos; Renée C. Byer, Cássio Vasconcellos, Jerome Gence, Gerd Ludwig, Randy Olson, James Balog, Shana & Robert Parke Harrison, Cooper&Gorfer, Anna Boyiazis, Michael Nichols, Goran Tomašević, Markus Eisl and Gerald Mansberger from eoVision and the special exhibition ‘Code of the Universe’ from CERN.
The festival divides the exhibitions into a city route – Polyterrasse, Lindenhof, St. Peter, Münsterhof, Frauenmünster, Limmat, Grossmünster – and a lake route, leading from the General Guisan Quai through the Arboretum to the Enge harbor lake beach. A distance of nearly four kilometers – and admission is free of charge.
“We have come together to celebrate life,” Lois Lammerhuber, Artistic Director and mastermind of the photo festival, said in a nutshell during his opening speech on 8 September, 2023, when describing the essence of this new festival format.
The following media day brought together the exhibiting photographers and scientists for a tour of all exhibitions to discuss their work and its significance in a dialogue in front of the more than interested journalists from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
The festival catalogue is available directly in the visitor center at the General Guisan Quai, Zurich, and online at Edition Lammerhuber. It not only shows the quintessence of the exhibitions, it also enchants readers with its typical scent of hay. A carbon-neutral print on grass paper, it thus underscores the topic of the festival: the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Publication : OPEN YOUR EYES . Photo Festival Zurich . 14.8 × 21 cm, 272 pages, 84 photos . German, English . Softcover, open thread-stitching . ISBN 978-3-903462-04-5 . edition.lammerhuber.at//open-your-eyes
GoSee : openyoureyesfestival.photo