If photography is an addiction, the act of photographing is the cure.
The PhotoPerformer, 2016
Here, I’m trying to articulate a comprehensive narrative analysing the universe of The PhotoPerformer, a world of scattered activities and experiments motivated by creative research, impulses, attraction toward the unconventional, doubts and the urge to change.
In 2015, after the completion of the Double Exposures book, a project made in collaboration with 44 performance artists, I felt the necessity to initiate a new type of collaboration, an inner exchange with my alter-ego, The PhotoPerformer.
While reflecting on my relationship (addiction) with photography, I realised that, our days, photography functions as a technology of ‘seeing-as-framing’, as a sort of engine of visualisation (capability of seeing in advance through selecting, recording and repeating) that affects the way we perceive, memorise and behave.
In my opinion, through the photographic perspective/experience, we have developed a sense of control and supremacy over the environment (ability of ordering and calculating) and adopted selfishness and antagonism among ourselves (affirmation of the autonomous self). Since its invention, photography has allowed us to objectify and catalogue the everyday, the micro and the macro (transforming the world into information).
While embracing photography in every aspect of our life, we neglect some of its ontological characteristics: its partiality, its provisionality, its superficiality and its power of objectifying.
The accepted narrative (that I was taught) is that photography provides evidence and the photograph resembles reality. Fortunately, thanks the exchange with numerous performance artists and a more critical stance, I now understand photography as a procedure of alteration, transfer and distortion capable of transforming presence into appearance and appearance into reality.
The PhotoPerformer aims to exercise photography as a counter-technology of ‘seeing-otherwise’, in permanent critique of its activity, affirming the precariousness of the medium as a creative potentiality.
A performative photography not only can offer me the opportunity to expose, deconstruct and transform my predominant, white, male, privileged perspective but more generally can provide a praxis of confrontation and resistance towards our desire to control.
We need to consider how to redeploy technology against itself in a creative way to make possible new modes of free being. (Foucault, Ethics, 262)
Manuel Vason is a photographer converted into performer so to become an artist with a unique voice converging body and camera.
Fermín Carreño Martínez, Director of Casa de Cultura de la UAEM, (Autonomous University of Mexico State),
Manuel Vason’s art practice is a clear example of the possible expansion of photography as action art, which I hope will be considered by the contemporary dance community as a benchmark for the emancipation and urgent expansion of our dance scene.
Eleno Guzmán Gutiérrez, Director of CEPRODAC, (Center of Production of Contemporary Dance Mexico City)
The PhotoPerformer, a human camera is forcing photography to unfold in the existential act of photography as a transcendental whole that guides us toward the uncertainty of darkness and meaning.
Yoatzin Balbuena, Artist Collaborator