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Journal de Bord

To submit work to showcase at ICP Lab with adventurous thinking, or to propose a theme for our #CriticalJamming afternoon sessions, please reach me via Twitter. Thank you! @dandyvagabond

Photography as a tool for investigation, social activism, and #CriticalJamming

ICP Lab 250 Bowery New York. Poster #Dysturb Campaign #WomenMatter
Photography along others visual media such as films, graphics, comics, or emoji compose the lingua franca of a global connected world — A creative language transcending geography and the lost-in-translation limits of the written word.

Visual storytellers have increasingly become the essayists of the 21st century. Their authored statements and stories are the blueprints of the future of immersive experiences.
What is real? What is fiction? asks British storyteller Guy Martin in The The Parallel State, a four-year multi-layered investigation of Turkey’s political and social state, examining the powerful relationship between TV, computer screens, and people’s actions on the street.
The photo book itself arose from the ashes of traditional media, social media outreach and Internet’s free content model.

In the lineage of the K7 demos of the 60s and the DJ sets of the 90s, the photo book has become a DYI tool for photographers to articulate their own imprint and vision of the world. Often self-published in its first iteration, the photo book serves as a concise visual pitch, and increasingly gained the status of a cult collector’s item.

When photo was a print on the wall, a visual in a newspaper or magazine, a thumbnail or clunky slideshow without much context, that was the end goal of its role. Today with the future of on-demand series and immersive experiences, the photo book in its tamed structure is a screenplay, and might be supporting the embryonic vision and first drafts of a scripted live experience.

What is a live experience in this case?
On the left, Jeff Mermelstein’s hands zoom on a pile of his selected photo books defined as ‘his playlist of Street Photography’. With his pixellated zoomed-in-iPhone-on-Instagram technic, he’s photographing in a ‘live experience’ shared with an audience, isolated segments of photography, extracted from the pile of books. Here below is the result…
Jeff Mermelstein VJying at ICP LAB. The pictures were posted instantly on @morelbooks instagram page. A concept by Claudine Boeglin.
A Live Experience sets the author centre stage. She/he/they craft the blueprints of a visual experience; it can be DIY with laser prints to be shared with the audience paired with an audio installation, it can be a VR experience, or augmented reality used as a conversation between print and screen, an audio walk, live theatre with the subjects of the photographs, a four-wall video experience, etc. A live experience sets in a defined space, physical or virtual, with the audience at the heart of the experience, and preferably with an inclusive active role.

The material used to create the experience can range from existing material; still and motion, print and digital, artefacts and soundbites, the voice of the subjects of a story, texts performed by spoken word artists or/and live art acting/dancing ––mixing elements reality with fiction. In such instance, the author[s] is/are Conductor of Experiences [CoE].

A handful of musicians has set this same principle on stage, expending beyond live music. Massive Attack, the British duo, mixes live music with messages rolling out on LED screens, engaging the crowd in collective world consciousness. Dan Deacon directs an interactive experience with his audience, given the crowd playful role plays to interact with each other as in a ballet. Musicians often have expanded boundaries. The best example is probably the Icelandic complete artist, Björk, and her endless explorations of new visual and sonic universes.

So too could do visual storytellers to become sonic and interactive conductors of energy and knowledge to wire people into collective emotional heatwaves.
The role of paste-up campaigns in contemporary documentary practice. An advanced-thinking initiative by the photography collective #Dysturb, #WomenMatter campaign and the role of paste-up campaigns in contemporary documentary practice.
The International Center of Photography launched ICP Lab at 250 Bowery for it to be for now a small “sandbox” for experiments at the intersection of visual culture, digital conversations, and live arts.

Following the engineering era, content with ethic and imagination is set to build momentum. Only if fairly funded. And that’s still the elephant in the room.

Therefore faithful to the business model supporting documentary storytelling, ICP Lab starts with shoestrings and upscale imagination. Was it different for IDFA Doc Lab in Amsterdam? For i–Doc in Bristol? Doc Society in London? Or Screen from Moscow to New York to Portland? And isn’t the upbeat collective #Dysturb itself a lab at ‘street level’ with an impressive community in its furrow?

All combined experiments in non-linear storytelling will contribute to developing and establishing a new stage for storytellers, and finally reach out to seed funding support for these types of projects to be properly supported.
Nick Waplington ‘No Light Only Darkness Visible
Elevator pitch
ICP Lab 250 Bowery NYC is a polymorphic sandbox-stage for visual artists to improvise at the edge of interactive theatre and immersive technology in non-linear form. It’s:

A beat
A set
A mind/set
A sense of emergency
A point of convergence
An attitude
An aptitude

for visual literacy + critical jamming

2018 Programme
[The programme is regularly updated to capture the ‘spine’ of ICP Lab’s experimental bespoke performances]
March 2018

ICP Lab: The Parallel State by Guy Martin

THURSDAY, MARCH 1 | 6:30–8:45 PM | ICP LAB
British documentary photographer Guy Martin guides the audience through a multi-layered investigation of Turkey’s political and social state, examining the powerful relationship between TV, computer screens, and people’s actions on the street.

ICP Lab: #WomenMatter by #Dysturb

Benjamin Petit and Kyla Woods of the photography collective #Dysturb present the #WomenMatter campaign and the role of paste-up campaigns in contemporary documentary practice.

Sundays, twice a month, btw 3–6pm
#CriticalJamming — is a curated group of artists and creative thinkers who gather to construct performances mixed with ‘visual conversations’ around a theme.

ICP Lab: From The X-Files to The Matrix: Reality Disintegrated

The 90s. An era of hope bracketed between the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the fall of the two World Trade Center towers (2001). New aspirations of politics, technology, and culture gradually vanished, prefigured by the dark conspiracy theories of The X-Files and The Matrix, where the known world is an illusion.

#CriticalJamming, the first session was hosted by Matthew Carlson [ICP Library] and indie publisher Aron Morel with photographer Janette Beckman, artist Nick Waplington, writer Cathy de la Cruz [member of the riot grrrl], pop culture critic Carlo McCormick, [editor of Paper] and writer activist Avram Finkelstein [co-founder of ACT UP] and photographer Guy Martin.

ICP Lab: An Archipelago of Three Islands

Morel Books publisher Aron Mörel and curator Joshua Chuang host an afternoon of visual conversations and live performances by three artists: Asger Carlsen, Jeff Mermelstein, and Nick Waplington.

Sunday at ICP 250 Bowery NYC, it was free, it was a feast, it was a [visual] orgy! As if a pixel biologist, Jeff Mermelstein zoomed in and frame out details of pictures from his selected photo books of the day. Here is the stunning result.
Jeff Mermelstein's series of ’macropixel-surgery’ from his happening at ICP LAB.
With Jeff Mermelstein’s Instagram live performance, ‘Street photography’ becomes an act of post-post-modernism

Book Playlist by Jeff Mermelstein for his macropixel-surgical-happening

Moment of Exposure, Leon Levinstein / Robert Frank-The Americans / Lee Friedlander, MoMA, 2005 / Figments from the Real World, Garry Winogrand / The Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier Bresson / Life is Good and Good for you in New York, William Klein / William Klein, Aperture / Lisette Model, Aperture / The Animals, Garry Winogrand / Louis Faurer, The Museum Of Fine Arts Houston, Merrell / Roy De Carava, A Retrospective, MoMA / Facing New York, Bruce Gilden / Here and There, Helen Levitt / Weegee’s New York 1935–60, Schirmer, Mosel Grove / Weegee’s World, Miles Barth / Grim Street, Mark Cohen / Heads, Philip Lorca Dicorcia / Shot On The Street, Patrick Pagnano / Diane Arbus, An Aperture Monograph, 1972 / William Klein-Retrospective, Marval / Sidewalk, Jeff Mermelstein / Henry Wessel, Steidl / Diane Arbus-Revelations / Bystander — new edition / Martin Parr Phaidon / Lars Tunbjork / Lander Utom / Street Photography Now / The New York School, Jane Livingston / Josef Koudelka, Exiles

Special thanks to Emily Dunne & Matthew Carson ––ICP Library @ICPlibrary

ICP Lab: Queering The Collection

Artist Christopher Clary hosts a show-and-tell workshop for the ICP Library series Queering the Collection. Ten artists and collectives will present works that range from a zine project that documents the death of nine men at a 1970s gay bathhouse to a journal that promotes critical engagement with contemporary art and politics from artists, writers, and thinkers who work outside of mainstream discourses. Join the conversation to define and complicate the very notion of what it means to queer our library’s collection.
Linda LaBeija by Robyn Banks
Ongoing projection in the space
The International Center of Photography’s ongoing series #ICPProjected, curated by Wesley Verhoeve, highlights the work of new voices who tell stories through concerned photography and visual culture.
First publication on Mar 15, 2018.

© Dandy Vagabonds 2019