For months, people have noticed that days get blurred, months speed by, and time feels warped. Why is this happening? The answer is on the walls of the International Center of Photography in a must-see exhibition, #ICPConcerned: Global Images for Global Crisis, on view through December 31.
You’ll see images contributed from 70 countries between March and October 2020. ICP simply reached out to its network in March and April (when the museum had to close) to request images via the hashtag that showed was happening in their part of the world.
By April, 10,000 images had been submitted to ICP, mostly dealing with pandemic response, adjustments to routines, the need to quarantine, and at-home isolation pods. By May, the number of submissions had doubled.
But in the coming months, social-justice protests filled the streets, hurricanes swept shores, wildfires turned night skies orange, Beirut exploded, the pandemic kept grinding on, and the photos just kept flowing to the inbox at 79 Essex and onto the Instagram page.
Artists contributed thousands of photographs illustrating the ways COVID has changed life around the world, and images of hospital workers, families cocooning at home, and life in the public space. The exhibition is an affirmation how artists sustain creativity in troubled times and during protest.
Listen to David Campany, managing director of ICP’s programs, explain:
If you visit the museum in person at 79 Essex, you’ll experience why you’ve been feeling a little time-disoriented. As you walk through the months, you’ll be amazed to see how many disruptive or charming events everyone has been experiencing on an extremely compressed time scale.
It’s enormously satisfying to look through the #ICPConcerned images on ICP’s website and Instagram feed, but visiting the exhibit in person is the only way to experience fully the time-compression effect – walking, seeing, reading, reflecting, letting your eyes scan floor to ceiling, noting the places and dates. By the time you hit August and September, you’ll wonder, “Did all of that really happen since May?”
Also, the playlist wafting in from Tyler Mitchell’s nearby show only enhances your journey through the participatory show.
See the ICP installation of 1,000 contributed photos in our Flickr album.
#ICPConcerned has such a simple installation, but walking through it has a powerful effect. The only other museum installation that offers this much temporal disassociation is the Met’s About Time, but that’s done with a giant pendulum, hall of mirrors, a Phil Glass score, and intonations by renowned actresses.
It’s quite a credit to the ICP and the thousands of sharing photographers that they’re able show the weight (and whimsey) of the world as we’re living it in such spectacular form with just a hashtag, a free-spirited community deep-dive, and a push-pin budget.
See all the captions and images on the exhibition website. Have fun looking at the submissions by country here.
Many photographers contributed stories about their images and experiences. See and hear them here.
Want to be part of it all? Share your own images on Instagram with the tag #ICPConcerned