PhEst – See Beyond the Sea, once again finds great success among those, who for study, hobby and work, have an interest in photography and art.

This International Festival of photography and art takes place in Monopoli, starting from September 9 to November 1°.

Conceived and overseen by Giovanni Troilo, in collaboration with curator Arianna Rinaldo, the exhibition proposes more than 20 works of art.

Work on display belong to artists of Dutch, English, American, Indian, Turkish, German, Ukrainian, Russian, Belgian and many more nationalities.

Moreover, there are three artistic residences besides free portfolio lectures, held by some of the major experts in the field.

The PhEST event will transform Monopoli’s streets, spaces and buildings into an open air exhibition.

In this way, major experts in photography and art will populate Monopoli to investigate the subject of the year: “THE FUTURE”.

This festival will be an opportunity to imagine a future dominated by AIs and algorithms.

The management team affirms: “We are going to portray the subject in every possible form. More than ever before, beyond the contents, we will focus on the visual aspect, using led wall, VRs, photogrammetry, augmented reality, facial recognition, AI, robots [and] immersive projection.”

Here are the first artists participating to the PhEST and being involved into exhibitions, talks, projections and guided tours:

  • Nick Brandt, in 2010, co-founded the “Big Life Foundation”, a no-profit organization, employing more than 300 local rangers to protect 1.6 million acres in Kenya and Tanzania.

“The Day May Break” is a global project that talks about people and animals affected by environmental destruction.

  • Alexander Gronsky is an artist who lives in London and works in Russia. His photography subjects report a self-looping world.

PhEST hosts “Reenact/Repeat”, a collection of evoking images of military in Russia and Ukraine: a reflection on modern society.

  • Davide Monteleone is a visual artist, a National Geographic Fellow, who focuses on subjects such as geopolitics, geography, identity, data and technology.

At PhEST, he will expose “Sinomocene”: a “data-driven” project inspired by “Belt and Road”, or “New Silk Road”, documentation, a Chinese initiative to look deeper into subjects like new colonialism forms, globalization and power – individual relationship.

  • Erik Kessels, a Dutch designer and curator, published over 75 books about his “reappropriated” images. He is the editor of “Useful Photography”, an alternative photography magazine and wrote the bestsellers “Failed It!”.

Defined “Visual Wizard” by Time Magasine and “Modern anthropologist” by Vogue, Kessels will participate to PhEST with an exhibition never seen before in Italy.

  • Bil Zelman is a journalist, photographer, commercial director and creator of the “And Here We Are” project.

This initiative analyses the condition of our rapidly changing environment, the negative impact of invasive and non-native species and the delicate environment where man and nature collide.

  • Arko Datto was born in India and studied mathematics and physics in Paris, before exploring photography in Denmark.

His works have been published in Time Magazine, National Geographic and Newsweek.

PhEST will host his exhibition “Where Do We Go When The Final Wave Hits?”, the result of nocturnal experiments about the precarious human condition towards climate change in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna area, the biggest delta in the world.

  • Isik Kaya, a Turkish artist investigating the human way of shaping today’s environment;

Thomas Georg Blank, German photographer, moving between research and thought interpretation of the individual and public opinons.

The two will present “Second Nature”: a visual research about cell towers camouflage, to provoke questions about the relationship between man and nature.

  • Frederik Heyman is a Belgian artist and photographer. His work, unexpected and surreal, breaks the boundaries between photography, graphic design and space shaping.

Using distortions (real or digital), Heyman creates an unstructured and fascinating world.

  • Emanuela Colombo and Michela Benaglia met in 2014, since then they have worked together on many photographic projects.

Using insects as a source of food, “Beatle in the box” examines likely answers to globally increasing population and a planet suffering from resources shortage, water pollution, deforestation and global warming.

  • Marcel Top is a Belgian photographer exploring photography’s limits and boundaries. His project, “Sara Hodges”, raises questions about the use of mass surveillance technologies, explaining the possible menace they represent.

Sara Hodges is a fictional U.S. citizen, generated by an algorithm, through the collection of more than 50.000 Instagram posts using the hashtag #iloveamerica.

  • Quinn Russel Brown is an editorial and marketing photographer from Philadelphia, working with portraits and still life.

“Rewind” is a collection of impacting images, making us face the fact that the future quickly becomes past in a technological world.

  • Manuela Schirra and Fabrizio Giraldi are a visual artist duo, working on environmental, energy and future topics.

The project “From stone to wood” documents the Karst reforestation plan.

Conceived 200 years ago, until today is the first and bigger testified plan.

Presented to the 1900 Expo in Paris, the results of this plan are a unique chance to understand the potentiality of reforestation on harsh areas. Schirra/Giraldi

  • Francesco Tosini, multimedia artist, lives and works in Milan.

His artworks are focused on revealing the energy in natural phenomenons, like morphogenesis, related to digital.

To achieve this, he employs 3D, generating software and analogic technologies to produce moving images, creating a communication between virtual and physical world.

There are high expectations regarding “Cielofuturo”, the site-specific installation he will present at PhEST. It is the final result of a vertical research project which started in 2016.

Francesco Tosini/Cielofuturo

  • Noeltan Arts presents “MaTerre VR Experience”, a five episodes film, about traditions, ecology and innovation. It is a prototype experience of cinema that goes beyond the typical vision concept through VR technology.

Set between the “Sassi” and the marvelous Matera Rupestrian Churches Park, the film gives voice to these locations. Moreover it transforms the millenary stones into a representation of a Europe that promotes boundaries-less populations.

  • Giorgio di Palma, ceramist, and Dario Miale, photographer, both from Grottaglie form the artistic collective “Sano/sano” and conceived a multidisciplinary project called “2021”.

After discovering the first European Cosmo drome building in the Grottaglie area, in 2018, the duo thought about something that could cancel the distances between space and earth, including the local community.

PhEST will host their site-specific installation, inspired by some interventions realized in 2021 in the Grottaglie Pruvas cooperative.

This year’s ‘must’ event is in collaboration with “Panorama”: a travelling exhibition arranged by ITALICS association, reuniting more or less than seventy of the most influent galleries of ancient, modern and contemporary art in Italy.

This show will be dedicated to Lisetta Carmi, with inedited photos taken in Puglia, to celebrate her career and artwork, besides praising her with the Gold Italics Award.

Born on February 15 1924, Lisetta Carmi grew up in a wealthy family. Due to racial laws, she was forced to move to Switzerland. In 1945 she returned to Italy and graduated from the Milan Music Academy. In the following years she held many concerts.

In 1960 she stopped her music career to travel to Puglia, where she later decided to live and work, staying in Cisternino. Here she became interested in photography, transforming it into her job.

PhEST will welcome three prestigious artistic residences:

  1. Mattia Balsamini, one of the most appreciated emergent photographers of the international scene, he will investigate the subject of the year “The Future in Puglia”, an inedited work placed in the residence.

After studying in Los Angeles and his first works at David LaChapelle firm, Balsamini focuses on technology and its social consequences, referring to work as a factor of men identity.

  1. Alessandro Cracolici – PhACES – generating art project

PhACES is everybody’s face and a non-existing face at the same time. A decentralized artwork, where the artist is the community and the work face is the union of the visitors’ faces.

PhACES is an interactive work that will show morphing animations of human faces, generated by the AI.

The AI will be trained by crowdsourcing, the voluntary sending of photos, first through a social call available from the half of July and later on site during the festival. 

  1. Piero Percoco + Sam Youkilis – Live from Monopoli

Located in an instant residency, the new duo will talk, on socials, about Monopoli and its inhabitants, during the days leading up to PhEST.

Results will be published on social media and presented with a talk during inauguration days.

Meanwhile, PhEST has successfully concluded its POP-UP Open Call: the international contest promoted together with LensCulture, and in collaboration with Leica Akademic Italy.

For the event 454 projects from 50 countries have been presented, for a showcase of more than 4000 images.

The contest winners will be announced in a few weeks.

One of them will be the protagonist of a personal exhibition during 2022 PhEST.

Experts in the field, on September 10-11, will open the Festival with some portfolio lectures; The confrontation between experts and aspiring, emergent and experienced photographers, represents the opportunity for a high level Festival.

Here are the readers that have assured their presence:

  • Roman Deshaies – Multimedia Photo editor, M, Le Magazine du Monde, Le Monde, France;
  • Emma Bowkett – Director of photography, FT Weekend Magazine, Financial Times, UK;
  • Jim Casper – Deputy editor and founder of LensCulture, Holland;
  • Maysa Moroni – Photo editor, Internazionale and L’essenziale, Italy;
  • Chiara Bardelli Nonino – Senior Visual Editor, Vogue Italy;
  • Carol Korting – LFI photo editor (Leica Photos International), Germany;
  • Maurizio Beucci – Head of Leica Akademie, Italy.

PhEST – See beyond the sea is created and promoted by the PhEST cultural association, sponsored by Regione Puglia and Monopoli municipality.

The President of Regione Puglia, Michele Emiliano, praised the project: “Internationally  recognized photographers, artistic residences and portfolio lectures held by the most important editors in the world. Moreover, economic and working advantages for many young people on short distances.

PhEST gives Monopoli the opportunity to be, once more, a crossroad for world culture, with the enthusiastic support of Regione Puglia.

Puglia is always amazing, not only during summer.

So, to attract tourism during the whole year, the festival will be held in September”.

The mayor Angelo Annese says: “This seventh PhEST edition spreads hope, after many restrictions due to the long pandemic. An open air museum with a path that allows tourists to appreciate our natural and architectural beauties”.







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