Imagine it is many years in the future and that, as a result of a major global event, the Museum has lost the ability to carry out some of its primary functions: collecting and displaying artwork. Imagine you are a member of a council of representatives that must decide the Museum’s future: what might its new functions be, given the impact of potential environmental changes, political conflicts, cultural shifts, and other influencing factors? Husni-Bey posed this scenario to a group of alumni from MoMA’s Digital Advisory Board, a long-running teen program that explores youth-directed video production, social media initiatives, and other educational projects. Over the course of a multiday workshop, they contemplated possible futures for this institution and envisioned their own roles, and their relationships with others, within them.
This group portrait was shot on the last day of the workshop, when participants enacted characters as members of groups they had developed (which variously imagined the institution as a place for healing through technology, a radical education center, or a covert government project), embodying the responsibilities and concerns they would take on in this speculative future.
With an interest in collectivist and non- competitive pedagogical models, Husni-Bey has staged many workshops and other programs all over the world, frequently portraying the participants through photographs or video. She encourages those she works with—often young people, but also activists and educators—to consider their individual contributions to the larger ensemble.
Gallery label from Being: New Photography, 2018