Vintage Vivants

anachronistic ladies and gentlemen

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vintage vivants

Main website, where all information posted to this community will be transferred to: Vintage Vivants

Who: Amelia Raley, MFA Photography student at University of Oregon, also doublespeak.
What: MFA thesis project.
When: the physical photographic and sculptural installation will be May 2007 - June 2007, the website portion will stay up indefinitely.
Where: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, May, 2007, Eugene, Oregon.

Since 2001, I have been a part of an online community of "time travelers." We are young people who wear vintage clothing, listen to old music, and watch classic movies. We gravitate towards the period from 1920, when film making came into its own as an art, to around 1948, when the long playing record was introduced. We do this not just in an attempt to appreciate the past, but to adopt it. Our goal is to internalize the gracious values of this earlier era in order to combat a world that is quickly moving in the opposing direction. There is no set name for what we do, so I am using the term “Vintage Vivant” to indicate that we are coexisting in both the past and present.*
My MFA photography thesis is an investigation of Vintage Vivants who use digital technology to recreate and explore the past, and, in turn, project themselves and their findings back into the digital realm.
Digital technology is rapidly collapsing the physical distance of the past. Things once hidden in archives are now conveniently available. We are able to listen to 78 RPM records on podcasts, check out obscure classic movies on Netflix, and learn to fingerwave our hair on web pages, just to name a few convenient modern connections to the past.
For my MFA project, I am interviewing Vintage Vivants from the online community to participate in an online interview. Those interviewed will submit to one or all of the areas listed on my website, only-sleeping.com.
One option is to submit a portrait of themselves while in time travel. These portraits speak to notions of desire, performance and of synthesizing our time with past history. It is important to note that these photographs are active participants in the project rather than simply models.
Those interviewed will complete a questionnaire relating to personal attitudes, tastes, and what artifact or practice from the past they would reinstall in our society. In addition, participants may submit a memory or story that their grandparents or other family members have told them.
As my project continues, my goal is to gather as many portraits and responses as possible.
Within history, all formulas, traditions and rituals are continually reinvented and realized. The lifestyle that a Vintage Vivant strives for ties into our culture’s continual remixing of styles. We Vintage Vivants are of a virtual community who share very personal lifestyles, yet many of us have never met in real life. With the instantaneousness of the internet and of digital photography, our practice has become widespread. By exploring self-portraiture in the digital medium, we use the lens as a framing device of mediated realities, which are then disseminated to an unknown mass audience on the Internet.

Physical exhibit at museum:
By creating connections to times past by way of physical objects from those bygone periods, we mix this history with our contemporary surroundings. For my final exhibit at the museum, the gathered portraits and responses will be a part of a larger installation.
Participatory assignments under "Item/Attitude" and "Memory of a Memory" are twofold. In other words, I will glean ideas from the responses in these two areas and collect items or photographs that reflect these stories and suggestions. These items and photographs will serve as 'screens' for projections of selections from "Memory of a Memory" stories and "Movie Quotes."

* A zillion thanks go to my dear locksmithy for her coinage of this phrase.

- If you participate in two or more aspects of this project, I would love to express my gratitude by sending you one of my photographs. Please email & include your physical mailing address if you would like one!

- You may participate in as many or as few of the 'assignments,' so don't think you must limit yourself. Please email me if you have any questions or comments.