New Project Includes You + Me — “Dasein: an Invitation To Hang”

Friends, co-consiprators, co-inspirators, and anyone else who’s just dropping in for the first time. I am so very excited. Hopefully you tuned into today’s chasejarvisLIVE broadcast where I announced my latest project called Dasein: An Invitation to Hang. In case you missed it, check out the above video and details below. In short, it’s important to me that you know enough about the project that you’d be willing to participate…to display your work right beside mine and hundreds of other photographers, artists, celebrities, etc online AND hanging physically in a prestigious location in the heart of NYC.

The short version is right here, but you should definitely read the long version, my manifesto for the project below in this blog post… But for short hand, here you go: I’m shooting for a month straight in NYC, celebrating the concept of the snapshot during an official Artist In Residency at the Ace Hotel New York. While I’m shooting I want the world to know that you are invited to join me. Not necessarily physically (although keep an eye out for that on twitter), but to be shooting creative moments, snapshots in your world, wherever that may be….

My hope is that you will then share those images with me and the world via this website: InvitationToHang.com . This site will serve as a digital focus of the installation, a place where you can submit your best, most intriguing snapshot images, and concurrently see images coming in from all over the world, everyday for the next 30 days. Please feel free to submit as many images as you like. So that your images are inline with the concept, I, again, encourage you to read my artist statement about the project, below, later in this text. Note that we will be curating this stream of your images as they pour in. A world wide, running gallery.

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT: From those digital submissions, I will personally curate and print a selection of images each day, based on what work comes in. YOUR images will then combine with my images, some images shot on site here at the Ace Hotel with Polaroid cameras by guests, and the images of a handful of some of my famous photographers and celebrity friends to hang ANONYMOUSLY in the physical gallery installation at the legendary Ace Hotel lobby. It’s a huge party of pictures from around the world, shared physically and digitally, for a one month period, AND IT STARTS TODAY. RIGHT NOW. This physical installation will rotate daily, contingent on strong work coming in through all channels. it will act as a “living” exhibition.

Here are a few 3D renderings of the space. Hundreds of snapshot style pictures, all hanging together, and everyday new ones emerge.

Pretty cool, eh?

Now please read this:
Manifesto for…. Dasein: An Invitation to Hang

Conceptual Background
The German word Dasein has been used by Heidegger and numerous other philosophers to refer to raw human existence — the fundamental mode of “being there.” Heidegger chose this term in order to emphasize the critical importance that “Being” has for our understanding and interpretation of the world.

When applied to photography, this everyday-ness is most revealed by the snapshot. Over time and without our knowledge, the snapshot has become the most meaningful visual storyboard we have of simply “being” in the world. The snapshot is pure, direct, unmediated expression and, refreshingly, it lacks academic influence or vogue. At once a celebration of life and a reminder of our mortality, the snapshot awakens us to realize that we each have a limited number of these discrete, fleeting moments in our lives. Especially when aggregated, snapshots readily precipitate what it means to be human.

The snapshot is our most basic visual language, yet for being a fundamental, visual building block that expresses a world’s culture–our human “being there”–the snapshot has never been properly celebrated. The time is now ripe for that celebration.

We have hit a critical mass of cameras in our culture. They are nearly ubiquitous. Point & shoot cameras, polaroids, web cameras, surveillance cameras, dSLR cameras and particularly mobile phones. While an earlier body of my work (The Best Camera is The One That’s With You & thebestcamera.com) set out to celebrate the fact that we all have devices and can now be whimsically, instantly, in-the-moment free to be more creative than ever before, this current work has come to rest not in the devices or their adoption, but specifically in the images that are born from these devices. Casual photographs of our lives are now everywhere in our culture, but their abundance and this sudden shift to ubiquity has unjustly rendered them benign in many circles–most certainly in academic ones. In contrast, however, I’ve found, and my statement is that, they have more metaphysical power, and are more closely aligned to humanity, than perhaps any other type of photography.

Snapshots are artifacts in and of themselves and they signal a completely new artistic movement. When considered fairly, there is obvious intention. And there is an obvious dedication from the photographer. Instead of the traditional concept of artistic dedication to the medium, however, there is a dedication to the substrate – a dedication to the medium plus life.

The amount of time spent intending or creating the image–in the case of a snapshot, only a matter of seconds–is not the appropriate criterion from which to prescribe artistic valuation. These snapshot images represent a touching sense of freedom that is absent in most photographs that are typically celebrated, hung in galleries, museums, and installations. This is simpler; it’s the maker of the pictures being purely enthralled by what he or she sees before them.

It is this ethos and style of work in which I will be creating during my artist-in-residency at the Ace Hotel NYC beginning on May 11.

The Invitation to Hang
During my month long artist-in-residency I will be creating a body of work by invoking the snapshot in and around the Ace Hotel New York. Cameras of all kinds, settings of all kinds, people of all kinds, co-conspirators and collaborators. A broad selection of work will be posted to the web at InvitationToHang.com and a carefully curated selection of work will be on display in the gallery adjoining the legendary Ace lobby.

Concurrent with my Dasein body of work, I will extend an open invitation to the photographers of the world to also study the snapshot and, more importantly, to contribute their work to the project. Digital images will be accepted via a web submission process that will remain on digital display, at InvitationToHang.com throughout the duration of the project.

Most notably, however a curated selection of the images submitted online will be also printed to become a part of the physical installation at the Ace, and will be updated daily to incorporate the new work that is submitted. The resulting installation–a gallery full of images representing a collection of my imagery, co-mingled with the imagery of the photographers of the world–will all be hung together, ANONYMOUSLY, to reflect a living, breathing physical gallery of work that celebrates Dasein and the snapshot.

Ethos of Display
To display this work in such a manner is to give full commitment to the actual image and the collective consciousness of a worldwide aggregate of artists. One may derive sheer pleasure simply from the collection of snapshots, from the lives of those lived out in the printed image however, this installation aims to be more than just a collection of photos. It is an expression of “being” and “everyday-ness”; and–perhaps more importantly–its structure is an open challenge to the status quo, signaling an imminent paradigm shift. Not only will well-known artists hang next to unknown artists, will I hang next to you, but everyone will own it and no one will own it; it may be difficult or impossible to categorize, and we will celebrate the new notions of openness, accessibility, distribution, and the democratization of creativity. Moreover, the conversation about open participation in the project becomes a meta-narrative beyond the underlying subject matter of the installation. It is appropriated by the work, and therefore becomes an integral part of it.

The typical gatekeepers of the art world–through a self perpetuating model that they themselves have perhaps unintentionally surrendered to–manicure the money, the pedigree, and the privilege of those who most typically participate. This project alone cannot subvert this pattern, but perhaps it can be another straw on the camel’s back and suspend the gatekeepers attention, even for just a moment in time.

The hope is that together we can re-contextualize this work–both the snapshots and their display. We will celebrate this aggregated installation with or without the establishment. If it’s able to be recognized by the canon rather than perceived as a threat, even for a moment, then we have achieved something. If it’s not worthy of such attention–either via lack of merit or otherwise–then at least we have made something together and thrown it at convention.

For now, art history is written by the academics. I hope Dasein: An Invitation to Hang and other projects like it to come, indicate a shift. Not a shift to displace the academic rigor that underpins the status quo, because there are some ways in which their function is helpful and necessary. I intend rather a shift that allows our culture’s art history to be written collectively by those who intellectualize the work concurrently with the vast sum of picture-takers that actually live the work.

Why the Ace?
The Ace Hotel New York represents a reaction to something in our culture. It launched at a time when the whole notion of ‘bigger, more flashy, more expensive’ came crashing down with the global economy. The Ace isn’t about those things as much as it’s a celebration of creativity and community. In the same way the Ace has subverted the typically-understood models of hospitality, of rooms and lobbies, of corporate messaging, community, culture, food and their guests, so does the ethos of Dasein: An Invitation to Hang aim to question the monopoly of more traditional art installations. The culturally-curious cross section of our population wants more than what’s offered at the typical hotel. And ironically so they want more than what’s on display at our common art institutions, museums and galleries. This marriage of ‘concept in a concept, art within Ace–Dasein within Dasein– is not an accident. The Ace is the place. At present there isn’t another space more appropriate for doing this installation.

Not unlike street art and graffiti, the spirit embodied in this project is one of immediacy and accessibility, of creative empowerment and self expression. Until now, this style of work and its display has been relegated to the streets and the online world. Thanks to the Ace it now has a home inside, with four walls and a roof overhead.

This project will continue to unfold organically over the next 30 days from my location here within the ACE. Please ask questions, please submit pictures to this project. Please tell your friends. The more photographers we can get contributing, the more powerful this piece of art will be. Thank you.

Submit images here: http://www.invitationtohang.com

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