This year, Stichting Dialoog and FOTODOK awarded the fifth – and last – collective stipend of €3000 to an emerging photographer for the development of new work. Out of 26 submissions the jury selected “Guide for Social Interaction in Corona Times,” a project proposal by Monika Balu.
As soon as Covid-19 hit Europe, insecurities rose and many people – including Balu – lost their jobs. Non-stop media reports on the fast spread of the virus continuously confronted us with the consequences of this pandemic. The jury selected Monika Balu’s project because of her unique perspective on a time where social relations are under pressure. With her project “Guide for Social Interaction in Corona Times” Balu will research ways to improve our current methods of communication. In her work, scientific research and humor seamlessly flow into one another. Finding the limits of photography as a medium, Balu actively searches for connections with her envisioned audience and the general public. The jury appreciates her problem-solving abilities when facing pervasive issues in society. Balu plays with our present-day conditions in her work, the jury values how her vision reflects a society Stichting Dialoog and FOTODOK believe in; after all, a society where citizens listen to one another, must guarantee a space for humor.
We would like to take a moment in this report to shed light on a runner-up project. A project proposal by socially-engaged photographer Giya Makondo-Wills. Her work focuses on identity, race, colonialism, and the western gaze on systems of power. Her research looks into notions of “the good and the bad immigrant” in times of corona. FOTODOK will mentor Giya Makondo-Wills in developing her project.