Documentation of the public art installation of Damaso Reyes in Uster, Switzerland.
And They Called Themselves The Europeans is the outdoor multimedia installation by AKKU (akkuuster.ch/) artist in residence Damaso Reyes. The installation consists of two separate but interrelated pieces: Some Europeans is a 30 minute projection featuring over sixty black and white photographs taken throughout Europe over the course of eight years. A Day In The Life Of Europe is a 60 minute audio piece comprised of ambient sound, music and interviews collected by the artist during his travels in Europe. Spoken languages in the piece include English, German, Spanish, Catalan, Turkish, French and Ukrainian.
The installation is a glimpse of Reyes' ongoing photographic documentary project The Europeans which is exploring how Europe and its people are changing as the European Union expands and integrates. Begun in 2005 the project seeks to question and expand the definition of who is a European as well as how Europeans see themselves and each other.
Through the sounds and images in this installation visitors have an opportunity to visit places and hear the voices of people they would otherwise never encounter. From a Catalan independence demonstration in Barcelona to a worship service of Pentecostal Christians in Kiev And They Called Themselves The Europeans offers a unique visual and aural perspective on the transformations taking place across the continent. Through the images presented we see the faces of Europe from immigrants and asylum seekers to politicians and soldiers. In this work Reyes takes us on a visual exploration of Europe in distinctly human terms. By listening to the audio we hear the stories of both immigrants and their children as well as the sounds of nature and celebration. Though the works run simultaneously the sounds and images are not directly linked which allows for interesting conflations as the two pieces loop throughout the day and night.
About the Artist
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Damaso Reyes has been a photojournalist for over fifteen years. His credits include: The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle, New York magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and Der Spiegel. His images are also featured in the monograph Black: A Celebration of a Culture and the book Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War. His images have been exhibited throughout the United States as well as in Spain, Germany, Austria, Hungry and Switzerland.
In addition to being a 2008 Fulbright Scholar Damaso is the recipient of several fellowships and awards and including an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship, a 2012 Knight-Luce fellow in global reporting and a 2013 French American Foundation fellowship for immigration reporting. You can see more of his work at damaso.com and theeuropeans.net .