The charming town of Vevey has a lot going for it: It is located along Switzerland's sunny riviera, has a beautiful old town and a vivid arts scene.
For the third time now, the town has hosted the massive street art event Festival Images. This outdoor museum quite literally covers the buildings, creeks, fountains, parks and passages of Vevey. Not to mention the dozens of indoor exhibits and galleries dotted throughout the town.
The 70 some installations from artists all around the world share the common theme of photography. In fact, the festival is a perfect fit for Vevey, which is home to the Swiss Camera Museum and the CEPV School of Photography.
We missed the first two editions of Festival IMAGES, so we had marked our calendars long in advance for 2014. And we were glad we did!
On this sunny closing weekend in October, we had a chat with Charlotte Terrapon, the festival's communications manager. She confirmed: "We have exceeded 70'000 visitors this year, and we are not even done yet! This interactive outdoor museum appeals to everyone - even those who claim they are not interested in art..."
Now imagine how cool this must be for someone actually interested in art! Now we know: After two days of exploring Vevey, we had seen only about half the exhibits... Take a moment to review our highlights:
Arno Rafael Minkkinen
It quickly became apparent that all the self-portraits of Arno Rafael Minkkinen avoid one thing: His face. The reason may be that he was born with a cleft palate.
Self-Portrait Landscape by Fabian Schubert & Hank Schmidt
It took us a while to figure out what is going on here. But once you see it, you cannot un-see it: Fabian Schubert is painting the pattern of the day's sweater!
arrière-tête (méchanismes) by Augustin Rebetez
Inside a vacant venue along the lake promenade, a strange world was created by young Swiss artist Augustin Rebetez. We found artifacts and photographs of a strange society which almost reminded of an African tribe... Let's say I was glad to see the blue sky above Vevey afterwards!
Boîtes magiques by Daniel Schlaepfer
Still Lifes, Portraits and Parts by Daniel Gordon
Bâtiment by Leandro Erlich
Probably one of the coolest interactive exhibits was this giant house by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich.
Since this true-to-reality building facade from Paris was laying on the ground horizontally, anyone and their moms were able to climb the wall effortlessly. A giant mirror reflected the action on the side of the house, creating an enormous optical illusion. Can you spot yours truly?
Misunderstanding Focus by Nerhol
DUCK by Olivier Cablat
Olivier Cablat went searching the world for buildings that look what they were made for. Imagine a hamburger restaurant shaped as a hamburger. The result is a series of photographs and one very cool morphing video which was displayed inside a giant duck. Why a duck? We could not figure it out...
Valerie, in almost every picture by Erik Kessels
Face in the Crowd by Alex Prager
We were stunned to find out that Alex Prager is a self-taught artist who uses actors (some of which are Hollywood celebrities) in her award winning photographs. She exhibits "the paradox of the individual lost among the masses."
RFK Funeral Train by Paul Fusco
A photographic memory - revived at the Vevey train station. Back in 1968, photographer Paul Fusco boarded the funeral train carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy from New York City to Washington DC. Unbeknownst, these people are now waiving at the Intercity between Geneva and Brig.
Subway Art by Martha Cooper
A glimpse at the beginnings of hip-hop in New York City's 1980's by Martha Cooper.
Diversions by Olivier Culmann
Figure (with Vertical Lines) by John Baldessari
Baldessari's large scale photograph is mounted on the outside of the former Vevey prison. Thus, the vertical lines gain a much deeper meaning.
Architecturally Speaking by Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Look, the foot is kicking the car! Can you tell? A priceless street photography moment next to the Hôtel des Trois Couronnes.
24hrs in Photos by Erik Kessels
What if you were to print out all the 350'000 daily uploaded photographs from Flickr? And what if you were to dump these prints in a church? Meet Erik Kessels, a Dutch artist who dared to do so.
While climbing the pile of photographs, I started noticing all the wedding related shots. Obviously, weddings are a popular theme on a photo sharing site such as Flickr...
Postcards from Google Earth by Clement Valla
Even Google Earth has limits, as this interactive exhibit showed very clearly. When it comes to visualizing depth, such as bridges or overpasses across valleys, the computer algorithms simply fail. Thank you, Clement Valla, for this fun display!
Atomik Magik Circus
A collaboration among young artists, Atomik Magik Circus had a perfect home: The artsy Théâtre Oriental-Vevey. A number of post Cold War artifacts like rockets and tanks made of recyclables set the scene on the ground floor.
Once up on the first floor, we were immersed in a fictional world where our imagination went wild: Are we in the distant future? Or are we in a parallel universe? Video installation touting fictious magic pills, giant bombs covered in darkness and futuristic real estate advertisements left us wondering: What will become of us?
The Festival Images runs every two years and is free to attend for the public.