ipsum

ipsum is an association that works on an international level in the fields of dialogue, education, culture and development. There are two key aspects for all activities: Self-expression and the exchange with others – beyond cultural, political, linguistic, religious and geographic borders. The exchange through pictures within and beyond cultural and political boundaries can represent a first step in mutual understanding. It provides an opportunity to learn about and from each other.

Sa'ed Nabil Ma'ayeh

All activities that have been realized by ipsum since 2003 are based on one assumption: The fair and conscious approach of pictures enables fair purchase in that domain and enhances intercultural dialogue through pictures.

 

Our knowledge of the world, as well as the views on other countries and cultures that we develop are highly influenced by the media. What remains ignored by the media is also often neglected by our collective perception. The Eurocentric view of the world predominates; those who report are rarely part of the world they report on.

What would happen if those not involved in the conventional procedure of news-making were able to express themselves – if they could show pictures emerging from their own reality? Would these pictures differ from those we are confronted with daily by press, television and internet?

Based on these questions and with the aim of increasing alternatives to stereotypical media reporting, ipsum was founded (2003).

“ipsum”?

The latin word "ipsum" means "the self".
ipsum wants to encourage people to express themselves through pictures and to convey these pictures to a large public.
Reflecting on these images and their content makes other perspectives accessible and broadens the beholders’ personal worldview. This makes it possible to reconsider preconceived opinions and to question prejudice.

ipsum is an association that works on an international level in the fields of dialogue, education, culture and development. There are two key aspects for all activities: Self-expression and the exchange with others – beyond cultural, political, linguistic, religious and geographic borders.

Three Pillars

All activities that have been realized by ipsum since 2003 are based on one assumption: The fair and conscious approach of pictures enables fair purchase in that domain and enhances intercultural dialogue through pictures.

1 Conscious Approach towards Pictures/ Photos

ipsum attempts to stimulate a conscious approach towards photography on two levels: By people who approach their own everyday life through the camera and by people who decide to take a look at pictures of the “others” and to reflect upon them.

2 Dialogue in Pictures

By exchanging, reading and discussing everyday photography, dialogue is established. This process creates space for reflection in which linguistic, spatial and temporal distances are overcome. Herein, photography acts as bridge.

3 Fair Handling of Pictures and Photography

In the fields of politics, economy, art and culture, a common problem appears: Who is representing whom, in what way and with what intention?

The possibility of picture production is not equally accessible to everyone. Few decide what many will see. Photography is often used in an irresponsible manner. Copyrights are infringed upon; photographs are diverted from their intended use and put into a wrongful context.

Within the activities of ipsum, this imbalance is made an issue and critically dealt with. Hereby, ipsum has the aim of treading alternative paths. The following dimensions have so far been exploited:

  • ipsum-photographers come from regions that are regularly reported on by the media.
  • Access to means of representation is given to those who, for various reasons (financial, political, religious, social), have no or restricted possibility of making themselves noticed.
  • The photographers decide on the contents and topics of the pictures; on who and what is photographed and thereby acknowledged as an event.
  • The focus lies on the photograph. Comments on the pictures are only added by the photographers themselves.
  • The copyrights remain with the authors. With their permission, photographs are used and published in various ipsum activities.

Four Targets

1 Empowerment

ipsum encourages people to tell their own stories.

Everyday photography becomes a medium in ipsum-projects, where individuals invited are encouraged to approach their personal surroundings by photographic means. ipsum addresses people in different countries and living conditions.

ipsum addresses itself to people in different countries and living conditions.

2 World of Images

ipsum gives insight into different life realities and forms of every-day life.

As we are occupied with our every-day lives, we rarely find the occasion to look beyond our own concerns. ipsum offers an opportunity to approach pictures originating from the own every-day life as well from unknown realities, to consciously take in different modes of perception and thus to critically reflect on the own situation.

3 View of the World

ipsum broadens perspectives within global photo reporting.

The possibility of broader perspectives is increased when those who are normally portrayed as motives/subjects by the media become the producers. Having been deprived from creating pictures due to their economical, social or political situation, they now enrich our world with images.

4 Discussion

ipsum discusses and promotes fair and conscious handling of pictures.

Why do we mention fair trade when talking about bananas and not when we talk about pictures? How strongly and in what way are we exposed to the media? How is photography dealt with and with what intention is photography used? These are the core questions of all ipsum activities which are discussed on different levels:

 

Implementation

Picture Production – ipsum Projects

In periods of 5 to 12 weeks, participants of the projects have the possibility of approaching photography in different modules through basic and simple technology, of using and questioning it as a means of expression.

A topic chosen by the ipsum-photographers stands in the center. As they search for personally relevant topics, aspects become visible that would otherwise have remained unnoticed, every-day reality appears in a new light. In the group, the results are discussed and analyzed. Participants as well as project conductors are involved in a mutual process of learning and reflecting.

At the end of the modules, the participants decide whether or not they wish to present their work. In different groups, concepts of presentation are developed and implemented.

 

 

 

 

Presentation and Reception of Pictures: ipsum – Into the Everyday

Presentations do not only take place at the location of the respective ipsum-project but also in Austria. They provide the public with insights into the broad and diverse world of images created by the ipsum-photographers.

Active and conscious reflection on the pictures created by the ipsum-photographers is made possible through exhibitions, activities in public space, web portals and workshops for adults and youth.

 

 

 

Target Groups

ipsum-photographers

The projects are conceptualized for participants aged 15 and beyond. In heterogeneous groups, people of diverse social backgrounds work together. The basis of each project group is an equal participation of men and women.

Visitors of Interactive Exhibitions

Interactive, dialogue-orientated exhibitions take place in the participants’ regions as well as in Austria. They make the photographs accessible for a large public. Visitors are invited to participate actively in the exhibitions.

Family, Friends and Acquaintances of the ipsum-photographers

By letting family members, friends, neighbors and other people in their individual surroundings share in their project experiences, the participants involve these groups in a process of picture discussion and reflection.

Visitors of the ipsum-website

The pictures created in the projects are made accessible (only with the permission of the ipsum-photographers) via the internet, thereby providing the possibility of dialogue on a virtual level through interactive tools.

Media

For visual media, the participant's creations represent an alternative source of images. Therefore ipsum offers these pictures for fair trade via internet picture data bases of ipsum and partners (always in agreement with the ipsum-photographers). Proceeds from pictures sold are used to finance future ipsum activities.

Participants of Future Projects

Pictures that are already integrated in the picture pool are discussed and reflected upon by participants in future projects.