Photoville’s Magnetism


Photoville is a temporary photography village, a little community. Let’s have a look at the layout of Photoville. Here’s a map of the place, situated in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the East River, with a beautiful view of Manhattan on the other side of its water.

Most ‘buildings’ here are 20 and 40 foot (6 and 12 meters) re-purposed shipping containers. Their walls have been sprayed gray or white on the inside, to make a nice, unobtrusive background for the photos that are displayed on it. The containers are the photographer’s temporary, personal, tiny galleries. Mine, the Cadets Gallery is number 30, on the far right on the map, next to the Photoville Pavilion, and close to one of the two entrances to the Ville.

Every photographer had total freedom in choosing how to display their work. I chose to have my photos printed on a thick rag paper to allow them to sit more flat when attaching them, unframed, to the walls of the container with magnets.

Magnets are the Photoville way for most exhibitions: fast, easy and in line with the temporality of it all. I had expected the magnets to be big. They’re actually tiny, round metal buttons, but their magnetism is amazingly strong. You only need four to attach a large 33x41 inches (84x104 cm) print securely to the metal wall. Once they’re stuck to the container, it takes some effort to peel them loose again. They also like to hold on to each other. If you put two magnets too close to each other, they’ll clip back together right away.

This year the Photoville organizers bought at least 10.000. After the event they somehow never make it back to the owners, though, because everybody likes them so much for doing a terrific hold-it-together job. The photographers like to hang on to them.

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