Crowdmapping The Faith
One night. One image. Hundreds of connections.
A photo carries a lot of information. Even if you weren't there, and are just reading this image, details are evident: you can see a set list, and specific instruments, and may know members of the band or audience. Asking around, we can get more details: the photographer, date, venue, the run of show.
It's also a jumping off point for the huge number of creative and archival connections. For this show - which happens to be The Faith's last show at Space Arcade II in Washington, DC, on August 17,1983, and the photo is by Jim Saah - we know there were flyers and posters - so there were once designs, sketches, layouts, maybe screens. Someone made the flyers, so there may still be a paste-up; there are color variants, and maybe different versions by other bands.
In additon to the "data" contained in the image, there's also complex social information (Ian Mackaye's "18 and Free" shirt) and musical detail (Hampton plays his black SG) - that relies on knowledge and memory of those who were present or part of the scene.
Of course, this was not just a performance; it was a gathering of people. With enough personal memories, we could probably identify everyone in a given photograph. Each of those people will have individual experiences and perspectives on that evening - and perhaps, snapshots of friends, journal entries, all part of the social narrative and collective memory of the moment.
And this is just one picture, from one angle - film was expensive, but Jim may have shot several rolls that night; those images are held on fragile 35mm film negatives and contact sheets. In this picture alone, we see other photographers captured in the background - Ellie Moran (to the right of the PA) for one.
The web of materials and memories connected to just this one set within this multi-band show, and the show in the context of the larger lifecycle of a band and a scene, is staggering - and it was one show of hundreds that year in DC alone. Multiply that by hundreds of individual memories, artistic products and bits of ephemera - many already lost or endangered - and the urgency to locate, collect and create a way to tie it all together becomes all the greater.
TOO LONG; DIDN'T READ
This one is easy: We're trying to see if we can identify everyone we can see in this image.
Head over to Facebook to help, or just drop us an email.
This is one of a slew of "crowdmapping" experiments we are doing over the next few months, testing various tools and ideas for gathering details, data and collective memory. Here are just a few coming up:
- MISFITS IN GOLETA - IDs and Connections in 3 images
- FLYERS - how far back can we trace the making of a collaged flyer? Or one with original illustration, or new typography?
- 4-2-83 - part of our larger Out of Step in LA experiment, this one looks to find *everything* connected to the day of the Roller Works show in Chatsworth, CA.
- IN THE STUDIO - what archival material gets generated in a recording studio *besides* the record?