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Fotograf Issue 45 – hypertension

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Feelings of hypertension, a hyper-tense body, hypertension of the heart, hypertensive impulses, hypertensive images, hypertensive stimuli, hypertensive behavior, hypertensive individuals, hypertensive situations, hypertensive information flows, hypertensive media, a hypertensive flow of notifications. Is your blood pressure still the same? Is it rising? All fine? Are you feeling okay?

Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, is a metaphor for the question of the new virtual “I” and the changeability of a newly formed identity, the theme of this year’s Fotograf Festival, hypertension23, and also of this issue, which this time breaks away from the usual concept due to the connection to the festival, bringing a more concrete form, more akin to a catalogue. On this occasion, Fotograf Magazine is more intimately linked to the exhibition at the Trade Fair Palace curated by Monika Čejková, the curator of this exhibition and the whole concept of the festival. She discusses the topics of the visual novel in order to raise questions on the influence of digital technologies and their massive effects on the contemporary experience. This issue’s next guest is Tina Poliačková, who curated the second part of the exhibition, which will take place at the Fotograf Gallery. In her text, she delves into #corecore, a TikTok trend expressing distance, post-ironic reactions and the world of fatigue, melancholy, and media overload.

In the Project section, we can look forward to an extract from the book The Extreme Self and a text by Shumon Basar, who co-authored the book. The aforementioned graphic novel is a unique commentary on the accelerated culture of today and how the present and the future have become one and the same. Monika Čejková then conducted an interview with Lynn Hershman Leeson, an American artist who, since the 1960s, has been working with new technologies, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and the key question of identity and the associated urge to create alter egos. In her flagship project, Roberta Breitmore, Leeson transformed into Roberta by wearing wigs, putting on specific make-up and costumes, and created official documents proving Roberta’s existence. The project explores themes of identity, gender, and the construction of a self in a society that often imposes narrow expectations and norms, which is a key theme for many of the artists in this issue. In the Theory section at the issue’s close, philosopher Rosi Braidotti explores the complex relationship between cyborgs, nomads and feminist theory, and challenges conventional notions of subjectivity, power dynamics and the boundaries between the human and the technological.

Inhale, exhale, the pressure will settle down – especially if we first accept the situation and then try to find our place in it.

Fotograf Magazine is comprehensive 80-page periodical that has been published in both Czech and English versions since 2002. Building on the magazine’s activities, Fotograf Gallery was opened in 2009 and, two years later, the first Fotograf Festival was held. This led to the establishment of Fotograf 07 z.s. as an officially registered association that functions as an art platform and carries out extensive publication, exhibition, and educational activities in the field of photography as well as in certain other overlapping disciplines. This organisation aims to promote and support photography within the context of the fine arts, to ensure its greater inclusion in contemporary art, and to increase public awareness about photography not only in the Czech Republic but also at a visible level on the international scene.

Over the course of its existence, Fotograf Magazine has attained a prominent position amongst Czech cultural periodicals. At the global level, it is one of the most important magazines focusing on current photographic art. The mission and objective of Fotograf Magazine is to inform the Czech professional public as well as the broader cultural public about what is happening in the field of photographic art at home and abroad, and, even more importantly, to increase awareness about Czech photography and contemporary visual culture in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. Fotograf Magazine is published three times a year and each issue has a unique thematic focus. Because of the resulting quality of timelessness, Fotograf Magazine has an advantage over standard art magazines as it is possible to return to individual issues and use them as study materials for a specific thematic area.

The bulk of the magazine’s contents consists of visual presentations of the works of individual artists accompanied by interpretive texts by renowned experts. The main thematic block, which continues to be our key focal point, includes the Project and Interview columns. The Discoveries column is the lead-in to that part of Fotograf Magazine devoted to current trends, books, and events, and also presents artists who we are convinced bring original approaches to artworks using the photographic medium. In the Theory column, we regularly present texts associated with contemporary photography theory. Our Reviews column brings information about interesting publication activities and, as has become traditional, the Events column lists the most important events taking place in both the Czech Republic and abroad.

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