Wrestling in the Bronx, graduations during the pandemic and the climate crisis are among the subjects covered in this year’s expansive Photoville festival. Eschewing the shipping container village that normally houses the exhibition along the shores of Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, the installation will stretch across five boroughs this year — bringing with it the chance for audiences to further immerse themselves in image and story.
From Sept. 17 to Nov. 29, the festival will take root in upwards of 25 outdoor locations, with various online events with artists to supplement the enhanced program. Beyond Brooklyn Bridge Park, viewers can find photographs by more than 260 visual artists in locations like Astoria Park, Times Square, Van Cortlandt Park and South Beach Promenade.
The footprint of Photoville, now in its ninth year, grew in response to the limitations introduced by the COVID-19 health crisis. With audiences at home or facing restricted travel, the festival sought to fill a gap in art presentation through the use of public spaces. Organizers also expanded the duration of the installation from two weeks to two months, a move that aims to mitigate overcrowding.
“New Yorkers are using public spaces more than ever right now. While we were stuck at home, escaping our apartments for a brief period each day to go to a park was all we had,” Laura Roumanos, Photoville co-founder, said in a statement. “Parks have become an even more crucial place for people to unwind and relax, and we thought, ‘what a perfect opportunity to engage our communities with stories from around the world.’ And since not everyone can travel out to Brooklyn Bridge Park, we thought we’d also bring the stories to them.”
Many of the exhibits provide commentary on current events. In Brooklyn Bridge Park, photographer Haruka Sakaguchi shares the experiences of 10 New York-based Asian Americans who have faced racism spurred on by the pandemic. The photographs of the subjects, intimately held within the dimensions of a polaroid, are placed on top of sites of harassment. Elias Williams fills Times Square with portraits of New York City spring graduates, whose ceremonies were disrupted by COVID-19 closures. Meanwhile, “Trump Revolution: Climate Crisis,” presented by the Bronx Documentary Center, surveys recent upheavals of environmental policy through the work of artists Yuri Kozyrev, Stacy Kranitz, Katie Orlinsky, Bryan Thomas, Kadir van Lohuizen and Marcus Yam.
Artist talks and workshop programming will also be held online, with a full rundown of offerings found here.