10 December 2017 – 7 January 2018 (Closed from 24 December 2017 for the holidays, reopens 3 January 2018)
Roaming Projects presents DMYCC, an exhibition by Sean Vegezzi. Vegezzi’s practice examines the effect that both public and private spaces have on the individual, blending personal experience with narratives of autonomy, privacy and security. Comprising of an installation of photographic prints and a video work, Vegezzi’s exhibition at roaming projects showcases work from a more than decade long project by the artist. The exhibition follows the publication of DYMCC, a dossier of visual material on the project published by Loose Joints.
DMYCC began in Manhattan in 2005, when Vegezzi and his friends gained access to a vast underground space in Chinatown. Built in the 1970s by the New York City Transit Authority, the publicly inaccessible space lay derelict and unused for decades until its discovery by the artist. After using it as a quiet refuge from the city and a place to party and socialise, Vegezzi and a community of collaborators began renovating the space in preparation for an exhibition. Over time, the group painted over graffiti, created a working drainage system, repaired electricity lines, built storage areas, installed lighting and improved the air quality with dust control chemicals. However, after municipal workers discovered their presence, the access points to the space were closed off.
After locating alternative routes of access, the project’s focus centered on documentation and maintenance of the space. Vegezzi documented his visits whilst adapting to ever-changing imaging technologies throughout the project. Using analogue (35mm, medium format, Polaroid and Super 8), early digital (mobile phone, point and shoots and Mini DV) and the latest imaging formats (Forward looking infrared, drones, mirrorless cameras and 4k video), the final images are presented in a non-hierarchical way in the exhibition. Vegezzi accumulated an archive of materials throughout the project, from old log books to hardware store receipts for various building materials. He also kept personal records of his group’s visits, alongside his own extensive cartographic index of the underground space and surrounding area. In 2016, the project culminated in a site-specific installation (pictured), after which the group relinquished their informal ownership of the space.
DMYCC offers an alternative model of living in the city, with the underground area both facilitating the creation of a community and providing a space for its development. Vegezzi’s project examines the relationship between the urban environment and the adolescent psyche, exploring the developmental potential of play and experimentation within a forbidden, self-governed space. Through the continued use and improvement of the space, DMYCC may also be viewed as a form of performance or social art practice. Vegezzi and his friends carried out many of the operations of a city council: maintenance and renovation, providing recreational spaces, classification and cartography. Their enactment of these services outside of municipal sanctions highlight the limitations of bureaucratization in New York City and the all-encompassing damage caused by its overdevelopment.
Sean Vegezzi (b. 1990, New York) Vegazzi’s practice is comprised of image making, sculpture, writing and spatial intervention. Vegezzi’s first book of photographs, IDWGU (Fourteen-Nineteen, 2012) is a narrative of adolescence in Lower Manhattan. Vegezzi’s recent work includes Scott and Joey (performative interventions, both 2015) and Snow Cab (solo exhibition and publication, 2016). Vegezzi’s exhibition with roaming projects is his first in the UK.
Founded in 2015 by Lewis Chaplin and Sarah Piegay Espenon, Loose Joints is a publisher and design studio dedicated to exploring progressive approaches to image making in book form. DMYCC (2017) will be available for purchase during the exhibition and from the Loose Joints website.