That’s the title of a project I prepared today to submit for an open call for an evening projections contest for the Photonic Moments – Month of Photography 2016 festival held biennially here in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which in June will celebrate its eighth edition.
This year’s festival, set for June 2-5, “is dedicated to promote, popularize and present local and international developments in the field of contemporary photography”. I’m not entirely sure how organizers are setting the limitations of their definition of “contemporary photography” but I’m operating under the assumption that this project will fall somewhere under that broad brush.
In any case, a working synopsis of “On the Fringes of Protest: Quito”:
I spent three months in the Ecuadorean capital in 2015, during which I attended and covered several political demonstrations. Like many other countries in the region, Ecuador has a rich tradition of political protest, with an active and relatively well-engaged citizenry. Like other protests and rallies I’ve covered and observed in other Latin America countries, the ones in Quito were colorful and loud, with participants as passionate as you’ll find anywhere.
There were also the more dispassionate ones who were nonetheless attracted for one reason or another to the sidelines. So for this project I decided to focus not on what was happening in the parades and on the stages by active participants, but instead on those who were on the fringes — to watch their reactions (or lack thereof), their shifts in curiosity and the varied and ample commercial activity that accompanied each mass gathering.
If you’re a regular Piran Café reader you’ll have seen several of these shots already, which have been published here in one form or another over the past 11 months. Some are new, like the lead image above taken at the Plaza de San Francisco in the center of Quito’s historical center. Like most indigenous women I observed at the protests, these two woman were there to chat and socialize, and sell a few drinks or bags of sliced fruit.