Mydriasis, here, in book form, evokes many of its associated symptoms and causes: drugs, euphoria, racing heartbeats, sweat, transcendence, assembled as a collective trip, captured in various cities, blended as if transpiring in one cohesive night.
Paris-based Irwin Barbé and Lyon-based co-editors and graphic designers Gautier Scerra and Clémentine Léon, all shared a common history of attending, organizing, and playing at techno/house parties, as well as an obsession for documenting the scene—the dance floor, the individual and as Barbé describes, “the strange-in-between moments… of rare intensity, times during which scopic drive is more powerful than inebriation and self-forgetfulness.”
Eventually realizing this act of documentation was akin to a cultural movement itself, Irwin began gathering images from as many photographers as possible, scattered across Europe, America, and Asia, in cities where these scenes were developed and thriving. The aim was to explore how each facet, with its own geographical and socio-economic backgrounds, adapted these codes and rituals. The result is raw, moving, and immersive, a work in between documentary and artist book, with a structure based on intensities rather than demographic or chronology. Mydriasis is noteworthy in its poetic undercurrent.
Images, border the semi-narrative or cinematic, despite their unfiltered, at times even abrasive, aesthetic. Interspersed with these visuals are fragments of abstract prose, alluding to a night under the influence. The ephemeral becomes as personal as it does universal: the shared ecstasy, pure abandonment, the lust and loneliness, the abject and the comedowns, all find company and solace among counterparts we’ve never met, leaving us feeling like the last ones on the dance floor at a party we never made it to and never left.