Date: 15 March - 20 April, 2014
Location: Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY
A show curated by Sarah Lookofsky
Participating artists: Bani Abidi, Khaled Barakeh, Carla Herrera-Prats, Alfredo Jaar, Pia Lindman, The Otolith Group, Maria D. Rapicavoli, Bruno Serralongue and Liselot van der Heijden.
Neil Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon; the destruction of the Berlin Wall; planes hitting the World Trade Center in New York; and so on. These images have come to encapsulate, indeed to stand in for, larger and more complex global, historical processes. In their capture, and their subsequent elevation to symbolic representations, much is lost. Alternative images were either snapped and discarded or never captured in the first place. It is to these surrounding scenes that this exhibition is devoted. Examining a central problematic of the contemporary moment—the dialectic of unprecedented media saturation and the inability to see—every work in the show sidelines a primary media spectacle, capturing instead images unlike those prevalently seen. The viewing experience is thereby situated between what has been overexposed and that which is underrepresented, between what is in the room and what is not. In accumulation, these alter-images serve to rupture common modes of depiction; problematize the assumption that seeing images of horror leads to awareness; and question why and how certain images come to occupy a primary cultural position. The camera, known for its centering capacities, shifts its attention and, in so doing, simultaneously insists on the documentary image’s potential to reveal all that is hiding in plain sight.
Offering a meditation on the relationship of visibility to invisibility, Maria D. Rapicavoli counters Hollywood’s dramatic renderings of her native Sicily, instead showing three realities of the place: the bureaucracy of Mafia trials; the leftover vessels used by refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean; and a massive satellite control system, enabling enhanced long-distance communication with drones, recently installed by the US government there.
Click here to the exhibition website.