October 30, 2022

Photobook USB is a new project that explores film photography in virtual galleries and other experimental settings. Centered around quick permutations and agile workflows, Photobook USB welcomes planned photoshoots alongside the casual and spontaneous. This is an openly collaborative project that will be developed over monthly live streams where we will play through the projects, develop new images, and build new gallery spaces. All photographs are developed and scanned in-house.

In our image-based culture, the creation and flow of photographs are nearly instantaneous. A quick press on a screen renders captured light into a conveniently compressed form. Through a snapshot, a memory is saved. Often times, the digital photo can feel more like a prompt or a quick reminder for some later conversation. We document, though the quality of the documentation can slip under the given moment or the idea being archived. This is to say something about accumulation. Photographs and screenshots can fill a device’s storage faster than we can recall or review. The security in knowing something had been documented lets us move on. Pairing the images with video gives a confident reassurance that the captured moment had in fact been saved.

Digital images are made too fast to be viewed in a sequential one-by-one manner. The vertically based grid spreads time into a singular strip, thousands of images over many years fly by with a single flick. Poor, inarticulate images are weeded out of our devices in quick and optimized selections. Cloud synchronization releases the image from a singular location as the intuitive control over the photograph stands as an essential language in our digital lives. Simultaneously, new technologies and phone apps have sped up and democratized the creation of video works as learning shares the same spaces as our catharsis. And spaces! Previously, having a space for a photographic exhibition meant having an art practice or being a part of some kind of institution. To have a physical space is inherently political. What is the history of the space? Who is the owner of the space? Who can access the space? Who feels safe in the space?

We arrive at game development tools (Unreal Engine) out of the appreciation of physical spaces and as well as awareness of its complexities and limitations. Through hand-built virtual spaces, we are able to develop presentations for our images with more intention than posting to an indifferent algorithm. Within the game engine, space is a plentiful and replenishable commodity which we use to envision IRL futures as well as abstract fantasies.

Photobook USB is a creative structure for exploring the presentations and possibilities of the photograph in a manner that comes close to the agility by which images are made. Each Photobook project houses around three rolls of film as well as a kaleidoscope of different presentations for each individual roll. First, the roll of film is presented in an untouched sequential order that the user can manually navigate through. This presentation is accompanied by a virtual interactive book that imagines published forms of the images. This virtual book is then complemented by PDF manuals that also explore the print possibilities and arrangements in greater flexibility. Finally, the images are presented in virtual gallery spaces in both realistic and imagined settings.

The Photobook USB is a compilation of two to three Photobook projects which are housed on a 32 GB USB drive. These compilation drives can be purchased on our web shop and individual Photobook projects will be released for free on the Photobook USB Homepage. These free projects will rotate each month and will gradually rotate through our entire collection of Photobook projects. As we continue this project, we will look to expand our library of Photobook projects through collaborations and casual photoshoot excursions. This project will also be developed over monthly livestreams where we will be reviewing new photos, building new galleries, and holding space for conversation around digital art practices. Additional insight into this project will also be found through the Augury House Radio where we will present behind the scenes footage of our photoshoots and our mobile film development setup in action.

We choose to develop Photobook USB across short, individual projects instead of a singular, expanding project as a way to have greater flexibility in experimenting with new approaches and workflows across each Photobook iteration. That being said, each Photobook project is initially developed within a master project containing all iterations of this body of work which grants us a high level of modular control for re-purposing previous galleries and building upon past spaces and ideas. In expanding this work, we will look to collaborate with local and internationally based creatives as well as hold periodic workshops and tutorials on how to build similar creative structures with free tools and no coding experience.

Lastly, you can support Photobook USB as well as keep up to date with the developments of this project and other projects within the Augury House ecosystem through our Patreon where we will be posting weekly previews of new photo scans, galleries, and video tests of upcoming works. In the coming future, we also aim to hold monthly Patreon-only livestreams as well.