Regan Reda

A Community of Chaos and Consumption

I loved the party culture. I was drawn in by the vision of unruly escapades, and a sense of belonging to something. Achieving a real connection to any group requires an active commitment. The greatest connecting factor for participation within my peers was binge drinking. It was intoxicating being a part of the mess, waking up and piecing together a foggy night. However, as many have discovered, the desperate desire for inclusion and distraction has consequences. The light-hearted fun for many was maintained by selective memory, pushing away the moments of abuse, assault, hospitalizations, addiction, and anxiety. It was strange coming to the realization I had some friends I never met sober. Alcohol functioned as a shortcut for social confidence, as well as a ticket for involvement. A Community of Consumption and Chaos manifests the initial fun and inclusion found in a college drinking environment, followed by the terrible fear for myself, and of those involved in this lifestyle.

The photographs in this series are a collection of “vernacular” party pictures referencing the casual and familiar nature of some of the scenes. My images play on the “attractiveness” of alcohol utilizing broken bottle shards arranged on the photographs. From a distance the broken glass appears to be a glittering valuable, however upon closer inspection the sharp and dangerous reality is revealed. A secondary function of the glass is allowing anonymity to the subjects in the photographs. Students attend university to learn, evolve, and create new bonds. What habits will be impossible to shake and how will we find our place in relationships?