Citizen Issue |


Akshay Mahajan, Series: JNU, Student Portraits, 2014

Digital media has provoked one of the largest revolutions of our time. As a socio-cultural documentary practice, the dawn of participation-driven, citizen media has hence given birth to another persona in our midst – at once vigilant and critical. In a world where every act and event – from an emergency situation to a celebration – can be captured from contrasting perspectives – by drones and satellites as well as from within the crowd – how do we gauge each others unique relay of experiences?

At the same time, images can be menacing, playful and even imaginary. By fabricating situations and hence re-framing memories or situations through morphed reality images – mainstream and covert forms of communication, or even established social media platforms and ways in which data is jammed, hacked and manipulated – the risks and ethical implications of circulating images makes us also revisit claims made by news-gathering processes.

The conflicted terrain of what citizenship then constitutes, includes notions surrounding statehood, nationality, regionalism and very possibly, hidden forms xenophobia and discrimination. It brings to the fore questions surrounding boundaries, identity, surveillance as well as notions of majoritarianism – an evolving culture and counter-culture.  Is a citizen then an operative of the state or does he or she have the authority to challenge it?

This issue of PIX invites submissions from photographers and media practitioners who seek to diversify the role and place of the ‘citizen’ in their current art and documentary practices.  We are open to receiving all manner of lens-based imagery: focussing on personal experiments, documentary/journalistic practices, as well as archival traces or histories. Theoretical explorations around the subject are particularly encouraged, and those forays which make us question, if not reconsider our role in society.