Edition 2 - A digital tradition

Cosmos is a satellite space at the heart of the Rencontres d’Arles, taking place during the opening week of the festival, from the 4th until the 9th of July 2016.
Having been an independent space first, and since last year a part of the official program, Cosmos - created and directed by Olivier Cablat and Sebastian Hau – is a laboratory of contemporary practices in photography, edition and visual art. Since eight years multiplicty and singularity have been it’s guiding principles, as much as celebrating books and editions as one of the central mediums in photography since more than fifteen years.

Since the nineties bookdealers such as Dirk Bakker and Markus Schaden presented rare books and contemporary photobooks in parallel to the opening week of the festival in an equally independent iniative. Experts, collectors, artists and amateurs flocked to their tables to discover and buy the most interesting books available, often for the first time in France. And then in the beginning of the new century a new form of Books on Books, historical publications on photography and the printed page, opened up a parallel history of photobooks to a larger public.

In a recently published text David Campany confronts us with the provocative observation that the term photobooks was in fact never used before the year 2000, where under the pressure of the internet, blogs, online bookshops, forums, and discussions of those books on books a new terminology and understanding came into  existence. In such a way digital platforms have not only helped a growing interest in this traditional yet polymorphic object, the photobook, but also allowed several generations of artists to deepen their understanding of books and use them to their own intentions.
Thus traditional codes were broken, reappropriated, re-used in a wave of books of all sizes and formats.
This explosion of publishing practices often runs on several levels, via self-published books, microeditions, or with smaller publishers experimenting news ways of conceiving, producing and distributing books. Since 2009 Cosmos has accompanied these iniatives, by giving publishers a place to present, sell and discuss their work.

For the 8th edition of Cosmos we will celebrate multiplicity in bookmaking and publishing, from it’s most traditional and respected forms to it’s most experimental apparitions. We want Cosmos to be the central meeting place where the different points of view in photobook making, as much as affection and criticism can be shared and discussed. Up to 80 publishers will present their books, making Cosmos the largest fair of it’s kind for photobooks, from local iniatives to internationally renowned publishers, accompanied by a program of performances, conferences and panels, book signings and other book-related events. Our own projects, such as the PDF Award or our participative project Digital Horse will be presented in our Cosmos Office.


Main partners : Swiss Confederation, fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Écriture et la Littérature, IDEAT Magazine.
With support from Mairie d’Arles, IDEAT magazine, PMU, CBC group Xerox, Atelier Sunghee Lee.