Alexander Sokolov on the 2nd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art

Ten countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) are taking part in the 2nd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art, held in the City Gallery in Kiel.
The title of the exhibition, "Can you hear me ?", might have been taken from a children's cartoon of Soviet times in which this question, emanting from a loudspeaker, gets louder and louder, approaching the physical limit of hearing and embracing a "whole complex network of uncertanties, exchanges and feints" (Michel Foucault).
By relating the acoustic perception of speech to photographic images, curator Kathrin Becker points up the inability of the daily barrage of information to affect the art practices presented in the exhibition directly. For the exhibition, which presents the work of artists from countries with very diverse histories (among them five ex-communist states), "it is less important to secure a consistent identity within a limited area of cultural authenticity than it is to create continuity and stability for the subject within a 'permanent floating space'". While the universal visual language of global mass culture may on the one hand simplify the world, it also offers on the other hand a stimulus to artists with diverse backgrounds to create works around topics such as "identity in flux", "construction of space and nature" or "media constructs", "representations of the male and female".