AMSTERDAM.- Rico Scagliola (1985, Switzerland) and Michael Meier (1982, Switzerland) have taken pictures and have filmed teenagers for more than two years, creating their archive of photographs and videos of today's Facebook generation.
Images from this archive have been combined into an installation called Double Extension Beauty Tubes. More than a thousand pictures are being presented in a dark space on ten iPads. The order of the images is intuitive and in a stream of consciousness mode. Metal heads, vampires, platinum blonds in high fashion outfits pose self-consciously in front of Rico & Michael's camera. The rhythm in which the images are presented greatly influences the experience of the installation. Sometimes you see the same teenager ten times in a row, then you see ten different but fast-changing images. Sometimes the presentation slows down, sometimes the images actually stop for a moment. Using soft-focus and theatrical lighting, the photographs are balanced between eighties aesthetics and glam kitsch. The rhythm, the quantity of photographs and the pulsing beat of the music all conjure up an experience of contemporary youth cultures such as Emo (emotional hardcore), gothic, heavy metal and punk.
The youth of today grows up with the picture-worlds of the Internet. Platforms of self-presentation such as Myspace and Facebook are a normal part of their lives. It is natural for them to learn at a very young age how to present themselves in pictures. Also they are used to adopt alter egos and to play with their (sexual) identities. Each and every day they decide yet again who they want to be and what role they want to play. Rico & Michael use young people's visual sophistication, fantasies and skilled self-presentation. The duo adapt their 'in-your-face'-natured view on photography, documenting the construction of their pictured identity. The result is an intriguing project on youth and pop culture.
Rico & Michael live and work in Zürich. They studied photography at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste from 2006 to 2010 and began collaborating as a duo in 2008. Since then Rico & Michael have worked on their archive of photographs and videos of today's Facebook generation, commercial commissions and projects for magazines. In 2011 Patrick Frey Editions published their 480 pages book Neue Menschen. This summer Double Extension Beauty Tubes will also be on show in Museum Winterthur in Switzerland.