Over the past ten years, artist Max Dean has collected other people’s photo albums. He’s got about 500 of them, which are being used as part of his latest project at this year’s CONTACT Photo festival in Toronto.
The project is called Album, and it involves Dean loading up his customized VW Beetle – the Foto Bug – with boxes of albums and driving around town to various locations during the month of May. People can come an choose an album, of which they then become ‘custodian’. As artist Michael Awad dryly commented, when I saw him at one of the stops, “it’s a lot of responsibility.”
Max hands me the album that I chose, wrapped in an archival box.
Max Dean, he of the Robotic Chair, is a fantastic artist, no question. What I love about this project is how actively it engages the curiosity and imagination of all the participants. I’m noticing more work recently about ‘imagination’ – in fact, a film that I’m going to see next week at Hot Docs, is about an art project called Herman’s House, which is truly amazing the way it harnesses the imagination of a man in solitary confinement, in prison. But that’s another blog post.
The Foto Bug parked outside the University of Toronto Arts Centre, earlier tonight.
Boxes sit almost empty in the front seat. Every outing, they take as many boxes as they can.
People gather round as curator Sophie Hackett has them sign some paperwork, after choosing their album.
My nice little album!
It was a birthday gift, for ‘Jim’ from ‘Mum’ on June 25, 1950.
Here’s a selection of images from the album. I believe the shots were taken in and around Toronto in the mid 1950s. One image is titled ‘Keswich’ (sic) Beach, which is in Ontario. Others refer to ’74 Marjory’, which when I Googled Mapped it, shows up as this house (on the left.)