“We’re not mere spectators, or a cosmic accident, or some sideshow, or the Greek chorus to the main event. The human experience IS the main event.”
The Sideshow is the unique new series from The International Collaboration Project duo Deb Young of New Zealand and Francisco Diaz of the United States. Diaz and Young designed their new series to usher the viewer into a fictitious seaside carnival.
Here, the notion of the sideshow becomes a metaphor for the human condition. We view ourselves bathed in the amusement park experience – consumption, excitation, fun and desire are the driving motivations – as storm clouds threaten on the horizon. The persistent presence of those storm clouds in this new work, hint at a world that is under threat while we play and ignore the potential peril we are witness to.
With that in mind, The Sideshow places the viewer squarely in the action and also offers the photographic form some new ideas. Diaz and Young have been experimenting with flashback and flash forward, cinematic devices which prompt further engagement with the viewer and the narrative. This technique of depicting flashback and flash forward posits that each image in these groupings can work both together and as separate entities. Labeling these groupings chunks, these chunks can also be shifted to create different interpretations. Time therefore, in The Sideshow, is shown to be flexible, not simply sequential – much like memory recall of an exciting experience.
An additional note is that some of the inhabitants of The Sideshow seem to be aware that they are being watched. They gaze at the viewer, breaking the fourth wall in a visual connection that pulls the viewer in and states we are all a part of this carnival.
Diaz and Young’s series suggests that “… what we call reality is in fact nothing more than a culturally sanctioned and linguistically reinforced hallucination.”
About Francisco Diaz and Deb Young
Artists Francisco Diaz and Deb Young are the creators of the International Collaboration Project, a digital photographic collaboration positioning them as pioneers in this arena. Working over 8,800 miles apart, Diaz (USA) and Young (New Zealand) combine their candid photomontages into series of reality-bending narratives. The themes of their work often have an underlying lo-fi sensibility, exploring both childlike wonder and imagination, as well as intense adult stories with darker twists.
Exhibitions include Z Gallery Arts in Vancouver, BC, Gilman Contemporary in Ketchum, Idaho, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins, Colorado, the Kolga Awards in Tbilisi, Georgia, The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL and the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA. [Official Website]