WE is a dystopian novel written by a Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin. It depicts the world that is not populated by individuals but by anonymous he-Numbers and she-Numbers. In today’s world, we seem to be shifting further and further away from such anonymity with the increase in surveillance, and the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Working in the darkroom with found archives of studio negatives, I contemplate the physical and digital legacy each of us will leave. The work is the result of darkroom manipulation during the creation of prints made from an archive of negatives of portraiture from America dating from the 1950s and 1960s. Development of the darkroom print is restrained in facial areas creating a facial mask-like new identity which is a collaboration between my hand, happenstance, and gravity.
William Mokrynski is a London based artist who works with photography. He is interested in the found photographic negative – unedited, encapsulated images of the past that has become anonymous, and decontextualized. His work has been exhibited and published internationally, and is included in a variety of collections. The series WE will be part of an experimental photography exhibition at the Micēlijs Gallery in Riga from 17-25 March, as part of the Process Experimental Film Festival.