Weapon of Choice

On view May 5th-July 21st, 2017

Opening Reception on May 5th, 2017 

Violence – and the threat of it- is a pre-political manner of communication and control. Since the beginning of time, man has depended on weapons to impose hierarchy of some kind in his surroundings and society (and fundamentally to undermine equality).

From the axe over 1.5 million years ago to today’s killer drones, mankind’s use of weapons has been varied and incredibly inventive. Weapons have changed history and helped in the rise and fall of civilizations. For example, gunpowder, a Chinese invention, led to the development of cannons and guns—revolutionizing warfare in the Middle Ages and beyond. In the last century aerial weapons and the atomic bomb altered the course of the second world war and of the globe’s history; shifting the way battles are fought and won, and leading to the unmanned aerial vehicles used nowadays.

Weapons are not limited to inflicting bodily harm, they are also used to obtain power, eliminate adversaries and control opponents. Religion, for example can be considered one of the oldest weapons of mass destruction in human history. Words and insults, economic sanctions, embargos have all been acknowledged and used as weapons as well. The artists featured in Weapon of Choice have generated a wide-ranging body of work that ponder about different types of arms; what they represent and how they affect the way we interact with our opponents and alter our lives. Using a variety of media and approaches these artists consider the role of weapons in areas as diverse as domestic violence, politics, video-games, fashion and warfare.

As long as weapons continues to function as a symbol and a status of power and oppression—a dual role it is not likely to shed in the near future—artists are sure to reflect on their impact, conveying messages that may help gauge a variety of social responses to the use, abuse, and proliferation of arms worldwide.

Weapon of Choice will feature works by Shay Arick, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck in collaboration with Media Farzin, Natalie Baxter, Detext, Harun Farocki, Patrick Hamilton, Jessica Kairé, Gonçalo Mabunda, Priscilla Monge, Edwin Sanchez and Roberto Visani.

Curated by Isabela Villanueva

Image: “Serious Games 1, Watson is Down” © Harun Farocki 2010

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