Back home after an amazing trip!

July 30, 2023 by Sabina Suru Culture Moves Europe, Festivals, Photography Comments Off on Back home after an amazing trip!

July 13-27, 2023
Focus: Experimental Photo Festival 2023


Barcelona, thank you, you have been kind and beautiful!
Experimental Photo Festival, amazing to finally be there in person and meet so many wonderful people!
Goethe-Institut & Culture Moves Europe, thank you again and again for your support in making this great voyage real!


A couple of years ago I was having coffee with a friend, and he asks:
What would you really like to do with your life?
I remember mumbling a rather roundabout reply, but it pretty much boiled down to travelling + art + meeting people from other places in other corners of the world, and hopefully, most of them would be passionate about photography, film, experimental image recording.

Then a couple of years back, I discover Experimental Photo Festival.
Now, that brings all of the above into one place, for an entire week!
I really really wanted to go, but never quite had the opportunity to do so. Until this year!


Somehow, everything just connected – in early spring, I learned I am to be an artist in the festival, holding a couple of funky workshops. Later, I learned one of the projects Andrei and I contributed to, in collab with AllkimikShare, Tag or Dye Again -, will also be a part of the exhibition circuit of the festival, along with a conference. And we were also going to attend a bunch of workshops on some funky photography techniques, that I only had the chance to dabble on my own (and could really use some practical information on) – like mordançage, DIY photo-cameras or liquid emulsion. I would also have the chance to meet professionals and passionate people from across the globe!


The only problem was… – you can easily guess it, right?
Yeah, I’m not going to spell it out, we’ve all been there more than once.

Anyway, here I am one morning, having a nice silent conversation with Matilda, my cat-person friend, when Andrei comes into the room, all smiles! He’d found a way we might travel to Barcelona for the festival without spending all our life savings. 😊So, we applied to this newly launched mobility program – Culture Moves Europe. We kept our fingers crossed and a month or so later, I get the news: “Hei, Sabina, did you pack your bag for Barcelona? It’s time to go and get happy, we’ll help!”.
Well, it wasn’t phrased quite like that, but it’s a pretty accurate translation of how I felt reading the email from the Culture Moves Europe office!


We took Matilda to stay with a friend (where, apparently, she learned to transgressively play football with human socks, she nearly like it there better than home, it seems), packed our bags and got driving!

Took about 4 days to reach Barcelona, which was tiring but also very nice – we spent the first night in Novi Sad, which was quite chic. The second night, we stopped in Venice (it was my first time there and it was, well, indescribably beautiful!), followed by a lovely little town in southern France, Grasse, with a quick detour to Carcassonne. Then, on the fourth day, late evening, we finally reached Barcelona!

Didn’t look like much from the car (yeah, it was my first time there too), but (boy oh boy!) did it surprise me afterwards! Just like Venice, it’s touristy (very much so), but at the same time, like all such places in the world, it hides little gems that are not easily discovered, but really make the effort worthwhile.


Once there, we helped getting up the installation from the Allkimik’s project at Centro Civic Pati Llimona, started preparing for the workshops (me) and the conference (Andrei), allthewhile attending a series of satellite events and exhibitions during the festival and meeting some incredibly interesting people from all over – Luxemburg, Brazil, US, Scotland, Ecuador, the list is quite longer than any other such event I’ve ever attended!


My two highlights were, firstly (bias alert!), my video hacking workshop (yes, we used scanography whahahaaaw! – please imagine an evil and satisfied laughter here), with 6 beautiful people. I know I was there, theoretically, to present to them some of my practices and share some of the hidden stuff from my work process, but as with all workshops, I ended up learning a lot of really cool things from the attendees.
So, thank you so much Misael, Pamela, Malin, Victoria, Angelica, and Niklas!

The second highlight was stepping into a place I did not know about (I mean, yes, it appeared in the festival program, but whatever I had imagines the place would be, it was far more!), namely the IEFC – Instituto de Estudios Fotográficos de Cataluña aka the Institute for Photographic Studies of Catalonia.  From sci fi-like doors to the darkroom, to amazing studios and one particularly beautiful and mysterious storage room, this place and its people reminded me why I fell in love with alternative photography in the first place!


On the road back, which of course took almost as long, we went on a slightly different route, stopping first in Italy for the first night, in Sinio at a lovely B&B – La Buonora, which proved to be one of the coolest discoveries of this journey (we are currently talking about organising an artist residency there, fingers crossed!). After that, next stop was beautiful Belgrade. My third big first, for the trip, no regrets!


After that, home at last.

It has been amazing and I hope I have the chance to attend the next iterations of the festival (hopefully, every year!).


Lastly, a big bunch of thank you’s to a few people that were not obvious contributors to this trip, but it would not have been half as great without them:
Andrei, for being with me there and making everything more beautiful than it already was!
Ștefan Dinu & Allkimik, you rock and you know it! Same goes for Pablo & Laura, from the Association Experimentalphotofestival  (love you, thank you!).
Mimi Ciora from Indecis Artist Run in Timisoara and Florin Fâra, thank you both, for making me feel like a #localartist everywhere I go!
Aaaaand dearest Ama, my best friend, thank you for keeping Matilda happy so I could be full heartedly on the road!

Justin Quinnell’s eye_@dtimage
0 portfolio reviews with Dale Rio_@grisphoto
2T0A0818mati @grisphoto
2T0A0823mati @grisphoto
2T0A1067mati @grisphoto
2T0A1927viernes mati @grisphoto
003 Isabelle Gagne_@grisphoto
015 Ella Morton@grisphoto
022 John Beaver_1_@grisphoto
029 Ergul Karagozoglu_@grisphoto
036 Paula Dornan @grisphoto
Crackercam by Stefan Dinu
IMG_20230718_200827 @allkimik (1)

lovely pictures takes by @grisphoto, @franciscapburgos, @dtimage, @allkimik


Experimentalphotofestival is a non-profit cultural association whose objective is to create, promote and disseminate experimental photography in all its forms. For this, we consider it essential to create an international community of artists who can support each other, recognize each other from equality and create shared projects.

For more info on the Culture Moves Europe mobility program, have a look here.


Culture Moves Europe provides mobility grants for artists and cultural professionals in all 40 creative Europe countries. It covers many cultural sectors, following the i-Portunus pilot project (2018-2022). The program will offer mobility grants to around 7,000 artists, cultural professionals, and host organisations from 2022 to 2025. Funded by the creative Europe programme of the European Union, Culture Moves Europe is implemented by the Goethe-Institut.

For more info on the Experimental Photo Festival 2023, jump here.