Megawords is an experimental media project that takes the form of an independently published photography magazine and related installation projects and public events. Through our work we create an ongoing narrative that examines daily life in cities through the documentation of our surroundings and experience, with a voice free from commercialization and competing novelties.
We do this by working with artists, photographers, designers, writers, musicians and creative people in a collaborative manner to make a self-published, biannual printed magazine that offers an alternative viewpoint to the prevailing messages of advertising and commerce in mass print and online media. In the magazine we seek depth, meaning and relevance. We look at how people live, how they face adversity, how they have fun, how they bend the rules, how they seek freedom through acts of dissent, how they make and think about art and culture, and how they love. We do this without fear of showing the unpleasant or unusual, the imperfect, incomplete and impermanent. The ideas and images in the magazine encourage our audience to make a leap into the dark, to rethink their environments, neighborhoods and lifestyles, and to draw their own conclusions from the narrative we’ve presented.
We also question the ownership of cultural exchange, and expanding the space within which this exchange can happen.
This concern stems from our experiences growing up in working class neighborhoods of Philadelphia. We witnessed first hand the terrible effects that poverty, drugs, a corrupt government, political indifference, lack of exposure to art, and a prevailing sense of hopelessness has on a city and its inhabitants.
These experiences led us to ask tough questions with our artwork: Who gets to design, decorate, and use public and institutional spaces? Who has the authority to define how and for whom our cities and our cultural institutions function? Megawords insists that we all do, but that each of us must roll up our sleeves and literally make the spaces—both physical and imaginative—where we want to work, meet, think and play.
In the same way we shun commercialism and celebrity culture, we also deplore culture with a capital C, where the audience is expected to sit back passively, detached from an event that has the potential to be a profound communal experience. We seek a new and inclusive way of experiencing culture and we ask the audience to be active participants instead of passive viewers.