to the world

to us

When we defined the binomial theme Adaptation and Transition for the 2019 Bienal Fotografia do Porto we were aware of the urgency and topicality of its meaning. Now, two years later, facing a pandemic that has transformed every aspect of our lives, it is even more pressing to seek ways to proactively adapt and transition. With the fragility of our cultural, social, political, economic and ecological systems radically exposed; we are forced to experience how deeply intertwined these systems are, and how vulnerable and impermanent life is… 

Considering that everything that happens in this world is intimately related, it is unrealistic to insist on separating problems. The conflicts that characterize a wide range of the relationships we establish between ourselves and with the planet are often rooted in extractivist ideologies of control, founded in notions of cultural, racial, gender and species supremacy. These governance practices, anchored in centuries of abuse and destruction, compel us to question the current organization of our society in terms of social and environmental justice and challenge us to break with outdated mental models.

It is of paramount importance to identify our limitations and possibilities so that we can decide on what to preserve and what to change. The mutations we are currently facing require integral actions to engender healthy interactions between natural and human systems. To guarantee our survival it is essential to understand how we can bring vitality, viability and adaptive capacity to our societal processes and structures, calling for knowledge reorganization: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and relational.

A new awareness of our position in the world is within our reach: a perspective of interconnectedness that can protect the diversity of life, embodied in regenerative human behaviour that recognizes and is able to deal with the consequences of climate crisis and of a global culture that separates humanity from what made it human. In this sense, we do not believe in large or small gestures; fundamental behavioural change has to happen in all aspects and dimensions of human life.

Despite illusions of individualism, humans, as a species, live and proliferate in a complex, hybrid network of interspecies dependencies and connections that animates the planet. 

The Bienal’21 Fotografia do Porto title What Happens to the World Happens to Us / O que Acontece com o Mundo Acontece Connosco, proposes participating curators and artists reflect on and interrogate what constitutes interdependence between natural and human systems; considered within a complex global matrix of cultural, social and political relationships that have determined this point of ecological fragility. 

By recognizing and accepting that we live in an interdependent, fragmented and unstable world, we can drive the transition from a dominant narrative of separation to a narrative of inclusion; a position that accepts everything and everyone, humans and non-humans, as political subjects of a universal polis. This process commits us to an acentric vision of our groups, systems and structures, bonding us to the planet in the constitution of a global body, of which we are only a filament.

Bienal’21 Fotografia do Porto recognizes the profound social and ecological challenges we are currently facing. Our mission is to contribute to the production and dissemination of alternative artistic perspectives, actions and interventions that promote ethical cultural change that we believe is as desirable as it is inevitable.


Artistic Director

Virgílio Ferreira


Fátima Lambert/ José Maia/ Julia Albani/ Krzysztof Candrowicz/ Lydia Matthews/ Maíra Villela/ Matilde Torres Pereira/ Brotéria/ Museu da Paisagem/ Nuno Crespo/ Pablo Berástegui/ Susana Lourenço Marques/ The Cave Photography/ Tim Clark/ Virgílio Ferreira


Albano Afonso/ Alexandre Delmar/ Alfredo Jaar/ Alice dos Reis/ Ana Vieira de Castro/ Álvaro Domingues/ Carla Cabanas/ Carlos Barradas/ Catarina Botelho/ Céu Guarda/ Christoph Draeger/ Cláudia Varejão/ Colectivo Lab.25 (Álvaro Oliveira/ Miguel Teodoro/ Rodrigo Machado/ Rui Mota)/ Duarte Amaral Netto/ Elisa Azevedo/ Elspeth Diederix/ Evgenia Emets/ Felícia Teixeira e João Brojo/ Francisca Rocha Gonçalves/ Gideon Mendel/ Heidrun Holzfeind/ Ignacio Acosta/ James Newitt/ Lisa Barnard/ Louise Purbrick/ Mandy Barker/ Margarida Reis Pereira/ Maria Oliveira/ María Sainz Arandia/ Mariana Fogaça/ Maxime Matthys/ Miguel Teodoro/ Nancy Burson/ Nuno Barroso/ Nuno Cera/ Poulomi Basu/ Rita Almeida Leite/ Salvatore Vitale/ Sam Mountford/ Simon Roberts/ Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa/ Susan Meiselas/ Xavier Ribas


Álvaro Domingues/ Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger/ Arianna Rinaldo/ Erik Vroons/ Gil Penha-Lopes/ Krzysztof Candrowicz/ Inês Moreira/ João Lima/ José Carneiro/ 
Jorge Ricardo Pinto/ Luis Pinto Nunes/ Susana Lourenço Marques/ Tiago Assis/ Tiago Pinho/ Vera Lúcia Carmo

  • Production
    Ana Cidade Guimarães/ Marta Huet Rocha
  • Consultant
    Jayne Dyer
  • Communication
    Marta Huet Rocha
  • Art Direction & Design
    Joana Pestana
  • Project Management
    Marca d'Água
  • Press Relations
    Silver Lining
  • Web Design
  • Web Development
    Ricardo Mendes
  • Printing
  • Architect «Cities in the City» and «Paisagens Transgénicas»
    Nuno Pimenta
  • Sociology Scientific Advisor and Mediator (FLUP) «Travessia»
    Lígia Ferro
  • Project Researcher and Mediator (FLUP) «Travessia»
    Beatriz Lacerda
  • Editor, Proofreader, Translator
    José Roseira
  • Production Support
    Teresa Nunes
  • Assembly
    Henrique Richard
  • Assembly Support
    Alexandre Simões
  • Audiovisual Technician/ Video Editing
    Ana Amorim
  • Mediation Contents
    Coletivo Arisca
  • Design Assistant
    Nuno Maio