In the 1990s, Europe and Russia tried to create a network of satellites that would reflect sunlight and illuminate the Earth permanently. Fortunately this fantasy of total lighting did not prosper, but we have arrived at a similar situation by other means, as completely dark nights have disappeared except in a few parts of the globe. It is estimated that 83% of the world population has never seen the Milky Way and that light pollution is already one of the main causes of disease and deterioration of ecosystems. It affects circadian rhythms that regulate sleep, the reproduction mechanisms of insects, and photosynthesis. The light cycles that make the difference between night and day and the passing of the seasons are essential for all terrestrial organisms.
Protege Noctem is the winning project of the PhMuseum Photography Grant in collaboration with Getxophoto, and it documents the impact of overexposure to ALAN (Artificial Light At Night) together with experiments and citizen science projects that are fighting against the disappearance of the night.
Mattia Balsamini was born in 1987 in Pordenone, Italy and moved to Los Angeles in 2008 where he studied Advertising Photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography. In 2010 he began working at David LaChapelle’s studio as assistant and archivist. In 2011 he returned to Italy where he has been teaching Photography at the IUAV University of Venice. Over the years he has carried out personal and editorial projects for institutions such as MIT, NASA and the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich. His images have been exhibited at La Triennale de Milano, the MAXXI Museum (Rome), the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, the Italian Institute of Culture in San Francisco, or at photography festivals such as Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia, PhEst in Monopoli or Cortona on the move in Cortona. His work is represented by the agency Contrasto.
Getxophoto is an image festival created and managed by Begihandi, that has been taking place in Getxo—Basque Country, Euskadi—since 2007. This festival is part of a cultural ecosystem with the aim of being more participatory, hybrid, committed and sustainable. This thematic Festival is conceived as a platform that addresses contemporary challenges through different proposals, from visual storytellers around the world, in an attempt to create spaces for reflection and establish a collective conversation. Getxophoto is characterized by the radical defense of public space (both physical and online). For this reason, most of its programme is composed of outdoor installations, highlighting, on the one hand, the link between the image and the environment and, on the other, generating a more horizontal and participatory relationship with the public.
María Ptqk is the curator of GETXOPHOTO 2023.