Eerily seductive, these images reference a number of current hot topics in visual culture: the changing definition and parameters of photography itself; the compulsive taking, archiving, and sharing of images; the outsourcing of memory, surveillance, and the startling number of hours that are spent in isolation and in front of screens of one sort or another, every day.
Short extract of the text THEM. THERE. THEN. by Marvin Heiferman, for the book ME. Here Now
©Marvin Heiferman 2017
Essay by Marvin Heiferman, independent curator and writer organizing projects about photography and visual culture for institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, International Center of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the New Museum.
The advent of smartphones has conditioned new reflexes and created a new, unsettling gestural vocabulary that evokes a near-mystical posture.
A direct reference to the work of Abraham Moles on the philosophy of centrality, ME. Here Now captures the specific moment when tourists take, with their smartphones, near-identical pictures of what is, paradoxically and for them, a unique experience. Beyond the ritual of holiday pictures, these images — often instantly shared — create a new language.
Vionnet’s portraits of these nameless individuals, half-concealed behind smartphone screens, also underscore the omnipresence of surveillance in public areas and remind us that all of our wanderings may be photographed.