“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.”Terence McKenna
The Sideshow is the new series from The International Collaboration Project duo Deb Young (New Zealand) and Francisco Diaz (USA), designed to usher the viewer to a fictitious seaside carnival, where the notion of the sideshow acts as a metaphor for the human condition. We view ourselves bathed in the amusement park experience where consumption, excitation, fun and desire are the driving motivations, all as storm clouds surround and threaten the ongoing festivities. Focused on their involvement in the amusement park experience, the participants either ignore or pay no mind to the approaching storm.
The Sideshow series places the viewer squarely in the action and offers the photographic form some interesting new ideas. Experimenting with cinematic/literary devices such as flashback and flashforward, Diaz and Young transfer those methods to the world of photography, prompting further engagement with the viewer. This forward-thinking use of such techniques as flashback and flashforward by the duo in the medium of photography, posits that the images in these groupings can work either as separate, minor subplots or as chunks that can be shifted to create different narrative interpretations. Their play with time relationships can also present images as happening at the same time but from different viewpoints. Because of this independent modularity, time, in The Sideshow, is shown to be flexible, not simply sequential – much like memory recall of an exciting experience.
Diaz and Young’s The Sideshow series suggests that life may be an illusion, created by our conditioning to buffer the dualities of pleasure and pain we encounter. “… what we call reality is in fact nothing more than a culturally sanctioned and linguistically reinforced hallucination.” Terence McKenna
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.
Young’s passion for photography came to life when she was given the opportunity to work behind the scenes on the publication of New Zealand Photography Magazine, editing, shooting, image processing, judging the monthly-run competitions and interviewing professional photographers.
Born in the USA with Cuban-Spanish heritage, Diaz’s predilection for artists like Goya, El Greco, and the still lifes of Juan Bautista de Espinosa may come from that background. With many childhood years spent in Brooklyn on Coney Island, the posters, crumbling rides, the idea of a shredded environment, became a major visual inspiration for his future work.