Sean Vegezzi - DMYCC
- 624 pages
- 723 colour plates
- 20.5 x 29 cm
- Cold glue perfect-bound softback with faux-leather cover
- Published in September 2017 by Loose Joints
- Edition of 1,000
- ISBN 978-0-9934303-8-1
DMYCC by Sean Vegezzi documents the artists’ decade-long engagement with a cavernous underground area constructed beneath Lower Manhattan. As a project, DMYCC encompasses the physical space itself, the processes of gaining access to it, and a shifting roster of efforts to install and enact a private recreational domain within it.
Known to Vegezzi as DMYCC, this underground space is one of several tunnel segments constructed in the 1970s by the New York City Transit Authority for the Second Avenue Subway, a convoluted and controversial subway line proposed as early as 1919, and partially realised in 2017. It was quickly overlooked after its initial construction, and prior to its discovery by Vegezzi, the phantom-like provisional enclosure lay in a state of non-use and deterioration. Within DMYCC, the innocent curiosity of youth interrogates and offers a rebuttal to municipal conventions; therefore, as the surrounding city experienced aggressive development and a hyper-securitization of public and private realms, Vegezzi and his friends were drawn towards undefined spaces to pursue their own forms of autonomy and release. From early adolescence onward, they leveraged this single piece of failed architecture into an amalgam of testing-ground, stage, club and studio space.
After a large party left the space in complete disrepair, Vegezzi planned a large-scale renovation, culminating in an exhibition of photographic works within the space. As intense preparation for the exhibition was unexpectedly discovered and halted, security measures increased and Vegezzi’s engagement with the space took on the current contours of the project. DMYCC grew to resemble a performative intervention, where the planning, labour and fallout of this aborted photographic installation was harnessed and reappropriated in the form of a formalised renovation and defense of the undefined space, despite repeated expulsion.
Presented in book form as a loose chronological narrative, the images in DMYCC eventually form a comprehensive mapping of the territory; ranging from early evocative analogue photographs of youthful explorations through to video stills, receipts, architectural floor plans; concluding with full-scale photographic surveys that challenge bureaucratic structural reports in both detail and formal composition. Elsewhere, Vegezzi turns the methodologies of surveillance back onto the authorities and other intruders, monitoring their communications, mapping their moves, vehicles, their trash and their notes. Vegezzi’s desire for indexicality grows over time in extent and fastidiousness; as if the accumulation of images validates his acts of ownership without title. We see DMYCC develop from a contaminated space with non-functioning utilities into one treated with dust control chemicals to improve air quality, a working drainage system, primed walls, repaired electricity lines and meticulously considered lighting systems.
Through the quiet, disciplined nature of their renovation work, Vegezzi and his friends deconstruct the distinctions between sanctioned municipal overhauls and more informal ones. Vegezzi takes these gestures to their logical extremes, in which physical boundaries and barriers are strategically undone and each task forensically documented. These documents are sympathetic yet critical, positing the city as an unknowing collaborator. Taken as a whole, DMYCC can be read as a study on the effect that contemporary cities, where all space is apportioned, pre-empted and managed, have on the development of youth.
Also available by Sean Vegezzi: Snow Cab