Art as Experience
|9.10.86, 54 Greene Street in front of our SoHo studio, corner Broome Street, New York City||5.6.88, Bowery & 4th Street, New York City||10.15.88, 10th Street & 2nd Avenue, New York City||7.30.90, 10th Street between Avenues B & C, New York City|
|2.4.91, 4TH Avenue & 8th Street, New York City||8.11.91, 10th Street at Avenue A, New York City||10.14.92, 10th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenues, New York City||1.29.94, Tomkins Square Park, New York City|
|3.11.94, 9th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenue, New York City||6.8.00 SoHo, Howard Street & Crosby Street, New York City||6.24.00, Wythe Street at South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY||5.20.01, 42nd Street between 6th & 7th Avenue, New York City|
|5.30.01 Saint Marks Church & 2nd Avenue, New York City||3.1.02, Ray 1, 9th Street between 1st Avenue & Avenue A, New York City||3.1.02, Ray 2, 9th Street between 1st Avenue & Avenue A, New York City||9.26.02, Van Dyke Street & Conover, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY|
|11.16.03, under the Williamsburg Bridge at Wythe Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY|
Art as Experience
Spanning 30 years, the body of work (archive), consists of over 3000 photographs picked up off the streets where we walk and labeled with the date and place where found. PHOTO DISCARDED has been exhibited just once, at CEPA Gallery of Photography in Buffalo, New York in 1993.
"Only when emotion dies or is broken to dispersed fragments can material to which it is alien enter consciousness. The selective operation of materials so powerfully exercised by a developing emotion in a series of continued acts extracts matter from a multitude of objects, numerically and spatially separated, and condenses what is abstracted in an object that is an epitome of the values belonging to them all. This function creates the universality of a work of art."
- John Dewey "Art as Experience"
PHOTO DISCARDED is a series of photographs aberrant in nature and origin. Each is a manifestation of a complex series of chance decisions and encounters beginning in 1981.
PHOTO DISCARDED consists of over 3000 found photographs, duly inscribed to indicate where and when they were discovered. This information becomes the title of each photo. A strict criterion for the work is that the photographs must be found in the path of our walking. None have been purchased or searched for. They have been found wherever we travel, throughout the United States, Europe, and as far away as Russia.
"Our stance in presenting random, found photographs in an art context rests upon the principle of indeterminacy in everyday existence. The intention is to reinterpret the conventions of empirical experience through selection and objectification of individuality, as seen through randomly occurring acts of expression-the nature of being human. The mundane is the sublime.
"The creative act takes another aspect when the spectator experiences the phenomenon of transmutation; through the change from inert matter into a work of art, an actual transubstantiation has taken place, and the role of the spectator is to determine the weight of the work on the esthetic scale."
- Marcel Duchamp from "The Creative Act" a talk in Houston, Texas, April 1957
We maintain that finding the photograph is the "photographic" process. The project is not just about a photo unto itself, and it is certainly not a photograph we take-that is to say realized by photomechanical means. PHOTO DISCARDED suggests a new meaning of what it is to "take a photograph." Our process is to "see" and recapture, re-realize, recycle-give a second life to a photograph that has been disclaimed. The meaning or pertinence of the image is renounced by the originating author or owner for any number of reasons and then is resignified by our recovery of it. And aside from addressing the issues of the "disposable" society that we live in, this work is an exercise in performance and memory-a specific marking of the experience of our time and place.
Paul Lamarre and Melissa P. Wolf