Noorderlicht 2011, Call. Deadline: 31 March, 2011

Theme Photofestival 2011
METROPOLIS – City Life in the Urban Age
“On May 23, 2007 the world celebrated the beginning of the urban millennium. It was on this date that, worldwide, for the first time in history more people lived in cities than in the countryside: 3.3 billion people, on 3 percent of the earth’s surface. This development has far-reaching implications. Is a decent, humane life possible in a modern megalopolis that is bursting at its seams? And how can the countryside survive the economic, demographic, cultural and ecological clear-fell that urbanisation brings with it?”

The main exhibition at Noorderlicht 2011, METROPOLIS, City Life in the Urban Age, deals with the role of the city as the nerve centre of modern global society.

It is the second part of a diptych, a follow-up to the 2010 theme LAND, Country Life in the Urban Age, which looked at the shrinking role of the countryside worldwide.

The city, as a phenomenon, has an almost schizophrenic character; its many personalities are constantly encountering one another. It is our intention that these multiple personalities will emerge in the structure of the exhibition, running the gamut from utopia to dystopia.
Call for submissions

Noorderlicht calls on photographers, curators and photo agencies to submit work for METROPOLIS, City Life in the Urban Age.

We are looking for photo series that present a distinctive, even idiosyncratic vision on the character of the modern city. Economic, social or urban planning aspects can each play a role; the series may be literal or metaphorical. We are striving for a global picture; the group exhibition as a whole will be a journey through cities in all parts of the world.

The precise sub-themes will be set out in a following stage of the project. We would list several possibilities as examples:

* Symphony: The city as the effervescent economic and social nerve centre of modern society, a place for progress, interaction and infinite possibilities;
* Mutability: Space that is the product of urban planning, with architectonic dreams of the good life for all the city’s inhabitants; from old ideals of equality to modern technology and sustainability;
* Expansion: The urge for unbridled expansion in the name of progress, creating new chances but also pushing the old into oblivion; a place of migration, on the way to a better future, even if that means a life in the chaos of the slums;
* Seduction: Where massive economic differences exist and everyone is seduced by a mass media landscape to seek greater wealth, where millionaires live next to the homeless;
* Fear: Places where the individual can be swamped in a mass of strangers; where the demands of the rat race for success stand in the way of authentic living; where criminality lurks, security demands control and Big Brother is always watching;
* Home: Small societies, seeking a place of one’s own in the large, anonymous world around one, or the excessive separation from that wider world; the creation of suburbs where affluent urban life can again appear rural; the shift of the social environment from the real to the virtual world.

Submissions can be sent to Noorderlicht between now and 31 March, 2011. Tips from colleagues are also very welcome. Do not however wait too long; the curatorial process begins as soon as work comes in.

We are using a special email address for submissions: Our ftp server is also open at all times. For further (technical) details on submitting your material please read these instructions carefully.

Correspondence regarding the theme can be sent directly to the curator Wim Melis, at his email address:

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