32 locations and 18 exhibitions: PhEST Monopoli enchants with the photography of the future
The Festival in Monopoli looks to the future
This is the seventh edition of the PhEST contemporary photography festival: the subtitle is indicative of the concept behind the See Beyond the Sea event.
We look out over the Adriatic Sea that bathes Monopoli, to turn towards other lands on the Mediterranean, as far as the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa: the sea that unites and converges, the sea that is creative energy.
The future, on the other hand, is this year's central theme, also from a relational perspective. The future feeds on the present and the past, in a continuous interplay. The 32 exhibitions in the programme also address the theme of the future through new technologies, from augmented reality to robotics, artificial intelligence to facial recognition.
Who are the artists involved in the PhEST?
Inclusion and relationship, as well as a marked international flair: the artists of PhEST hail from all corners of the globe, from Holland, England, the United States, India, Turkey and Germany.
Italian-born author Davide Monteleone presents Simonocene, a critical reflection in the form of photographs on the New Silk Road, the creation of massive infrastructures in Africa commissioned by China. The series of images by American Russell Brown recount the rapidity of the contemporary world dominated by technology, where the future at times becomes the past before it is even realised. Zhang Chuang, a Chinese artist who also studied in Italy, exhibits his paintings on the lawn near the Area Skate Park. And these are just a few examples.
32 locations for discovering Monopoli in a new way
Visiting Monopoli for the festival is also a chance to get to the heart of the city, as well as a great experience for art enthusiasts. Indeed, some of the locations hosting the works of art are usually closed to the public and are worth the trip in themselves.
One of them is the 'Casa Santa' (Holy House), new from the past edition of PhEST: a Carmelite convent dating back to the 16th century that stands between the old port and the Church of Santa Teresa with its limestone façade. A true spectacle.
And it soon becomes clear that there is no better way to explore Monopoli than by following the works set up for PhEST.
Many artists exhibit in Palazzo Palmieri, an imposing historical building overlooking the square of the same name, right in the centre. Other works are displayed inside the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, where a precious Baroque organ can be admired, and in the Church of San Salvatore.
Strolling along the two promenades of Portavecchia and Santa Maria, you will come across other installations, just as on the ancient wall of Portavecchia and Molo Margherita.
The maze of streets where the blue of the sea meets the white of the houses leads you to three other PhEST locations: the 'salons' of the old town represented by the squares Palmieri, Vittorio Emanuele II and Garibaldi. Largo Palmieri provides a venue for the scheduled screenings.
Last but not least, Monopoli cuisine offers plenty of delights: from taralli to panzerotti, from braciole to rice potatoes and mussels, not giving in to temptation will be virtually impossible.
With an all-Apulian outlook, Monopoli lends itself to the future and hosts PhEST, a photographic and artistic festival that will amaze, inspire and excite.