Stenciled on the ground, just outside the entrance to the International Center of Photography’s (ICP) new museum in Manhattan, are words informing visitors that once you enter, you “consent to being photographed, filmed and/or otherwise recorded” and “surrender the right to the use of such material throughout the universe in perpetuity.” The rather dramatic legalese appears on the wall inside the galleries as well, reminding you of the ubiquitous presence of cameras, even at home as you dance naked in your living room or eat dinner in front of your computer.
We’re all part of this.” After closing the doors of its midtown museum last January, the ICP on June 23 opened its new space three miles south, at 250 Bowery.The change in location allows for a fresh take on a four-decade-old mission: to better understand the way images affect our lives.That mission is clear from the moment you step into “Public, Private, Secret,” which opened Thursday with the new museum.The first room is dimly lit, in stark contrast to the bright white “village square”-like entry area, almost like a negative.Warped mirrors wrap around you, reflecting a few scattered lights, which bounce off the smooth gray floor.
Small alcoves on either side feature a total of four screens, each playing video works.
Natalie Bookchin’s “Testament,” for example, is a series of “collective self portraits” like “My Meds,” “Laid Off” and “I Am Not,” which orchestrate footage from hundreds of video diaries she found online.
Rectangles of varying sizes appear on the large screen, one at a time or in rows or clusters, like a switchboard lighting up in random patterns.
Each features a video of a stranger as his or her voice narrates.
Sometimes the voices overlap, like a chorus of confessionals.
“I could use your prayers to find another job,” one says. With Bookchin’s pieces, curator Charlotte Cotton says, there’s “this wonderful sense of people sharing a lot, but then also the kind of repetition suggesting very learned behavior how to represent your personal life online.” Another work caught early visitors off guard.