Society of the And. The bewildering interdependence of our times.
Roemer van Toorn
Project Period: 2012-2013
Type: Senior Research Project
Program Area(s): Critical Projections
With the photo book The Society of the And I try to show that we live a new modernity we have not yet learned to look at, although it becomes true in our everyday live. My photography, accompanied by short citations from cultural studies, philosophy, geography, sociology and other social sciences, and three (to four) articles; one by myself and three other (invited) authors, on the one hand explain that contemporary photography (as we know from Gursky, Wall, Van Manen, Princen, Jodice, Goldin and many others) is able to catch, and expose the complex coexistence of our hybrid society. On the other hand the challenge is not only to illustrate and to understand how much our reality is changing, which origins are lost or even deleted, but to invite the viewer to start traveling, to become a detective, to start to look beyond the first impression of each event these photos have framed. With this travelogue of images and quotes (text-images) the viewer/reader is challenged to carry out a montage.
A dialogue full of ambiguities, contradictions and positions should set itself into presence. While the viewer is invited to look to the facts, s/he should start to see beyond the stereotypical, beyond the world of stupefying banality, routine and mechanical reproduction. The format of the images (as cinematic narrative) is chosen not only that you decode, that you decipher what you "read" (as in the television news), no, you are also invited to see the free play, the unfinished pieces, the juxtapositions, gaps and openings within The Society of the And where a potentiality of emancipation can emerge within and against the status quo. The challenge is to extract a genuine image from The Society of the And, free the image from any prior program, outside point of view, or fixed gaze, to release ourselves from the suffocation of the cliché.