Action Shooting Lab explores new aesthetic and critical fields at the crossroads of the making of images, identities, urban imaginaries and digital humanities, via performative photography experiments in the public space combined with reflexive writing – principle of a laboratory connecting experimentation and intellectual production.
Whether individual or collective, the shooting is transformed into an urban setting where cameras and smartphones become protagonists of a performance under construction and a set of multi-dimensional interaction. For each lab, RBW creates performative protocols to guide, explore and mark out this new field of photographic experimentation, where the notions of ‘in front of the camera’ and ‘behind the camera’ no longer make sense, and where the border between reality and fiction vanishes. Conventional photographic intentions, codes and “consciousness” are set aside. Both guidance and improvisation can focus on other issues, such as the occupation and interpretation of surrounding space, or even deliberately abandon any directed gaze to leave room for bodies’ freedom and eventually dance.
But it is just as possible to experiment with more elaborate and scripted staging, sometimes including props (for example a simple chair in ASLab # 3), that may become protagonists as well.
These live sessions are associated with time to analyze the experiments carried out and the images produced, additional research, speculative or prospective extrapolations, and then writing.
One of the references of the lab is the photographic practice of William Boroughs who “sniped” quite savagely the city with his camera, lived a singular psychic experience during this and then used his photographs as material for his cut-ups and literary productions.
It was also originally through urban photography exploration that RBW developed an understanding of urban realities, prior to designing full urban labs such as its Paris Galaxies project, on the future of Greater Paris. See the project site www.parisgalaxies.net
The Action Shooting Lab was thus born in Greater Paris, and has been then storified by RBW in different ways, whether in her Machination project or, and this time on a very large scale, in her book “Paris Ars Universalis, fictional scenario of a future Greater Paris” (Avant-Garde Collection, L’Harmattan publishing, 2017).