What do people look like in A=AGHT?
A=AGHT is a semi-utopic virtual space/town whose rules, population and culture are generated by a facilitated exchange between youth from New Orleans and Tallaght. Designed by artist Jackie Sumell, participants from both cities were asked to develop projects encouraging youth participants to explore historic moments, social grievances, ethnic and racial disparities in order to invent a place of creative resolve.

As a participant and group leader I decided to address the question of what people might look like in A=AGHT. This project consisted of three parts, a lecture on eugenics, a photography workshop and a collaborative classifications system.

A lecture was given on the subject of Sir Francis Galton, Eugenics and racial profiling. Galton devised a technique called composite photography which he believed could be used to identify types by appearance. In his composities, frontal portraits of people from a specific ethnicity were combined through multiple exposures of different glass plates on a single sheet of sensitized paper. He hoped his technique would aid medical diagnosis, and even criminology through the identification of typical criminal faces. Galtons work would lead to devastating racial cleansing, profiling and segregation most prominently in Germany and the United States, but around the world as well.

Students were taught the basic pricipals of photography, including the operation of a manual film camera, hand processing of black and white film and basic printing techniques. Through these practical demonstrations students were able to understand the chemical and mechanical processes behind Galtons work; furthermore, students acquired a new life skill in the ability to create a compelling photographic image.

Portraits were taken of each participant in the project, and everyone was asked to contribute to a list of qualities or physical characteristics that could be used to separate individuals. Contributions varied in tone from somber to humorous including entries such as masculine people or feminine people, people who like hip hop or people who don't like hip hop, and people who go to church or people who don't go to church. In a group discussion we assigned every member to their own specific preferences, then with the aid of computer software, I made composite portraits based on these assignments. What you see here are the resulting images, and exist as the population of the fictional city of A=AGHT.
001 people who like to run-walk
003 people who like tofu-dont
005 churchgoers-non churchgoers
007 feminine-masculine people
009 ya yas-non ya yas
011 mac-pc people
013 people who cry openly-dont
015 people for gay rights-traditional marrage
017 hard workers-lazy people
019 people who like cheese-dont
021 people with curly-strait hair
023 people who watch tv-dont
025 people who can dance if they want to-wont
027 people who listen to hop hop-dont
029 people who dont-do mind being corrected
031 people pro obama-skeptical or ambivelent towards
033 people who dress in their own style-trends
035 people who like jay zs lips-skinny lips
037 people who like sunny days-rainy days
039 people who understand irish-dont