Uniting some of the biggest names in photography, acclaimed writers, experimental electronic music and absolutely no interest in vowels, PRSNT is a bold new project in the shape of a stunning art book and gatefold vinyl album.
According to those behind the project—media agency Created by Us, which formulated the concept, and the Barcelona-based label Modern Obscure Music, "PRSNT is a reflection of how we consume as a society today." They continue, "We're caught in a chaotic, frenzied spiral of a new addiction. Constantly chasing money, power, success and a wilder, faster pace of life. We've become a society that lives in the fast lane."
As such, PRSNT invited creatives working across photography, music and writing to submit their own interpretations of "our modern lives"—an open brief if ever we heard one. The project came about when Created By Us and Modern Obscure Music read a study showing that the vast amount of information that's instantly accessible today has significantly shortened attention spans and altered how audiences engage with music digitally: it turns out that, according to that study, around a third of all listeners using digital platforms skip to the next track within the first 30 seconds of it playing.
They read a study that identified that the overwhelming volume of instantly accessible information online is shortening attention spans and altering how audiences engage with music digitally. Their curiosity about the state of online consumption developed further on discovering that around a third of all listeners using digital platforms skip to the next track within the first 30 seconds of playing.
The list of photographers whose work appears in the artbook is a glittering one indeed; and includes Juergen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jack Davison, Joel Meyerowitz, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Adria Canameras, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Nobuyoshi Araki, Elizaveta Porodina, Larissa Zaidan, Zhong Lin, Dani Pujalte and Javier Tles.
When it comes to the album, things get more unusual: while a 12-track LP would usually clock up anywhere from half an hour to an hour or more, this one is just 6 minutes 32 seconds long in total. That's because each of the electronic musicians who were involved in the project submitted tracks that were each approximately 32 seconds long—perhaps a hint at the brevity of 21st-century attention spans. The artists who created brand new music for the project were Laurie Spiegel, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Pedro Vian & Pierre Bastien, Lyra Pramuk, Chassol, Nicolas Godin & Pierre Rousseau, Pascal Comelade, Visible Cloaks, Raül Refree, Lucrecia Dalt, Kelman Duran and Lafawndah.
The final batch of creatives to have worked on this ambitious and rather beautiful project are the writers who contributed to the art book – Shumon Basar, Francois J. Bonnet (AKA Kassel Jaeger), Maria Chavez and Yves Citton—who each created texts inspired by the music on the album. A trailer for the project can be seen here. The PRSNT album will launch on 16 April as a limited-edition gatefold white vinyl format, accompanied by the glossy art/photography book. All proceeds will be donated to a mental health charity, according to the PRSNT producers, who added that it "acts as a statement on how we, as consumers, engage with music in the 21st century."