The plates of the present, so far marks the four-year run of the ongoing project based on the photographic process of photogram. In February 2013, artist Thomas Fougeirol and artist/curator Jo-ey Tang set up a photographic darkroom (nicknamed DUST) in Ivry-sur-Seine, bordering Paris. Since then, more than 70 participants have come through The plates of the present. The project is named after the beginning of a sentence in William Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature (published in six installments between 1844 and 1846), the first photographically illustrated book. From an afernoon to several months, the darkroom and the simple photogram technique provide many who have never worked in traditional photography to recalibrate their relationships to time and space. A respite from our other commitments in life, it is also a gauntlet of sort. Each participant is provided paper and asked to create eight prints. Individual kinks are welcomed. Defiantly not a curatorial project, it is an invitation based on mutual curiosity and trust. It has been a pleasure to see photograms stake a claim in the works of many who have come through The plates of the present. It is as if we have gone through one end and come out from another. On this occasion, every single print from all participants will be presented in chronological order at Praz-Delavallade, Paris.
In May 2013, G. William Webb re-enacted N. Dash’s Bean Agency to accompany the first batch of photograms at Le Chalet/Belleville, Paris. In October 2013, DROOID5Z (Ben Dowell, Nathan Gwynne, Nickolaus Typaldos) brought the photograms from their 15-hour darkroom session to their gig in the basement of La Cantine de Belleville, Paris. In 2015, the project was presented at BAXTER ST at the Camera Club of New York, in The plates of the present, February 2013 - July 2015, an exhibition curated by Sonel Breslav. A roundtable was held as part of The Classroom series at New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, organized by David Senior, Museum of Modern Art Library. An accompanying book Dust: The plates of the present, February 2013 - July 2015, edited by Sonel Breslav, published by Blonde Art Books and Secretary Press, includes texts by Robin Cameron, Mara Hoberman, Flora Katz, and Brett Littman. Please find attached an excerpt from an interview between Mara Hobermann, Thomas Fougeirol and Jo-ey Tang.
— Thomas Fougeirol and Joey Tang