by Diana Caducenco

We Are 17: Creation, Photography and Young Voices (launch of project and screening)

9 Jan

Event start date

9 January, 2024

Event end date

9 January, 2024

Event location

We Are 17: Creation, Photography and Young Voices (launch of project and screening)


by Diana Caducenco

๐–๐ž ๐€๐ซ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ•: Creation, Photography, and Young Voices (launch of project and screening)

In 1955 Johan Van der Keuken (Amsterdam, 1938-2001) published his first book, Wij Zijn 17 (We are 17). Many years later, once established as a renowned filmmaker and photographer, participating in programs from prestigious European cultural institutions and having exhibited and presented retrospectives, among others, at the Centre Pompidou, The Eye, Jeu de Paume and the Maison Europรฉenne de la Photographie (which incorporated a large part of his work into its collection), he explained:

โ€œIt was my grandfather who introduced me to photography. Somewhere between the ages of 12 and 17, experimenting with whatever material happened to be available, I became a photographer. In 1955, I published my first book of photographs entitled We are 17, a 30-picture portrait of the Amsterdam high school group I was part ofโ€.

Now, almost seven decades after the publication of We are 17, his book has inspired the Association Contrasens to create โ€˜We are 17 (21st century)โ€™ a collaborative project of cultural creation and dissemination that links together photographers, producers and cultural mediators, young people and the elderly, virtually from one end of Europe to the other: Barcelona, Timisoara and Vilnius.

They welcome teachers, photographers and cultural mediators to join them at the launch of the project We are 17 (21st cent.). Together with partners from Barcelona โ€“A Bao A Quโ€“ and Vilnius โ€“Meno Avilysโ€“ they look into the significance of youth narratives in contemporary art and photography, and will present the work and heritage of the photographer Johan van der Keuken.

The event will focus on young voices and their active participation in cultural and photography projects. The photographers- Lorena Dumitraศ™cu (RO), Mรฒnica Rosellรณ (ES) and Aistฤ— ลฝegulytฤ— (LT) will share their experiences in practices that provide a space where young individuals can express themselves authentically and contribute meaningfully to the artistic landscape.

The second part of the event will focus on the artist Johan Van der Keuken (NL). Far from being a carefree or noncommittal young man, Van der Keuken became one of the greatest documentary filmmakers of the 20th century: a great portraitist (Beppie, 1965; Hermann Slobbe, 1966) who always had a politically engaged perspective and who was capable of valuing the diversity and cultural wealth of Europe and the world.

The event will finish with the screening of the documentary film:

Beppie (1965, NL)
Johan van der Keuken.
37 min.

Before going on to tackle more political and socially critical themes, in the 1960s Johan van der Keuken made a number of intimate 16mm film portraits. Among these is the disarming portrait of Amsterdam street kid Beppie.

Beppie is a ten-year-old girl from Amsterdam, who lived next door to Johan van der Keuken. We see Beppie playing on the street, in class at school, eating chips at the Albert Cuyp market, watching Santaโ€™s arrival and at a Salvation Army Christmas celebration. Along the way, Beppie reveals her vision of love, life and death. Beppie tells us about her family (eight sisters) and her adventures. She represents the lives and everyday concerns of an average young Amsterdammer from a less-than-affluent background.

At the same time, Beppie is a disarming, cheerful girl who refuses to be intimidated by a precarious existence. Johan van der Keuken puts this across convincingly using a free, observational style of filming.

๐๐ซ๐จ๐ ๐ซ๐š๐ฆ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ•:๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ-๐Ÿ๐Ÿ—:๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ
Introduction to We are 17
Young voices and active participation - sharing experiences
Presentation of Johan van der Keukenยดs work
Screening Beppie (1965, NL)

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