07 October 2015 – 24 January 2016
curated by john ros
On this fourteenth anniversary of the official US-lead War on Terror, artists@WAR is a visual discussion of war posited as a new antiwar movement.
This exhibition includes the work of Nigel Cox, Madeline Djerejian, Emma Finch, Mikhail Gubin, Aksel Haagensen, Linda Hubbard, Michal Huss, Shreepad Joglekar, Eric Juth, Caroline King, James Moore, Nikkita Morgan, Jad Oakes, Julia Owens, Lara Proctor, Eleana Stoikou, O. Yemi Tubi. Each artist tackles the important issues of antiwar and activism in a variety of different ways. This issue is so much larger than any single one of us. These artists offer a starting place for these discussions in the hope that we can come together to accept our role and discuss these issues.
Terrorism is a word used by the ruling classes to embed fear in the population and retain control of their assets. The word terrorist often implies anyone who is against the Western (or Global Capitalist and Corporate) way of viewing the world. Fear is a key factor here. The use of the word terror keeps populations scared and on their best behavior. We are kept suspicious of anything that goes against the grain of the fabricated normalcy we are all spoonfed in press releases, advertisements and public-relations pieces cloaked as unbiased news. We are asked to serve as eyes and ears, pointing out those who do not conform to our learned cultural ideal. We even self-police, being sure we toe the line of accepted “normal behavior.” Activists, people of certain races, or anyone who questions or does not fit in with the status quo may fall under the watchful eye of an onlooker and be coined a terrorist.
Divide and conquer is the ongoing and unquestioned strategy of the ruling classes. They instill fear based on ignorance and differences to divide us, then rely on apathy and distraction to maintain power. As we squabble over a few minute details, profits and power assure the powerful remain at the top and the poor and powerless remain controlled. The privileged and educated classes are easily swayed to stay on board with the status quo because they have been given just enough status with its semblance of power. They do not question the ruling classes because there is too much to lose if they waver from the monolithic message of dominance. They can be cast aside in a moment and marked as pariahs, useless to the ruling class and rendered mute.
With war so profitable and our people so controlled, there often seems little that can be done. Alternative solutions require the action of an aware, alert, nondistracted and inclusive public. A major problem is that we are deemed terrorists or unpatriotic for even thinking there are alternatives to war and constant consumption.
It is time to rise up and declare a stop to endless war. We must all participate to stop misinformation, and stop corporate self-interest from taking over the globe. We must return to common decency, camaraderie and actual discussion based on facts, truths, and honest debates, not one-handed, fear-based, racist sound bites.
Most important, we all must realize we have a stake in the game. Though politicians and leaders wage war, ordinary folks fight and are the most affected by the constant chaos created by war. It is up to us to stand against the culture of aggression. It is up to us to act as a refuge for those torn and tortured by the ravages of war. It is up to us to be a clear voice against the deliberate pain of others — especially in the misguided name of “freedom.”
This digital exhibition is presented under a series of subcategories offered as a starting point for discussion. Through reflecting on the work itself, a platform is established where the issues can come forward and discussion can broaden.
To think there is one solution to anything in this complex world is naïve. There must be a renewed focus on our local landscapes and communities. Each one of us will need each other which will require strength and cooperation to empower all, not just a few. Rather than look for charismatic leaders we must all lead our communities to health and sustainable vitality. Each and every one of us will bring something new to the conversation. Rather than simply pat each other on the back in agreement, we must work through our differences and come to a place of freedom for all.
Vantage Point IMAGE GALLERY: click on an image below to view this section as a slide show.
Corporate Media Propaganda
We are regularly bombarded by stretched truths, biased research, and corporate press releases masquerading as news. It is a full-time job to remain an informed citizen. Though the playing field is not necessarily equal, we must accept our civic duty to stay informed about the goings-on in our community. We are purposely divided, to keep us fighting about trivial matters so war can be waged while the population is none the wiser. I wrote a piece back in April 2015 about the US Congress having not yet debated our so-called war with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Our Congress, the only body that can legally declare war, has yet to have any real or lasting debate about this issue or any other long-term operations in the area that fall under this distinction, yet the US has been involved in an ongoing war in the region. This is not to mention drones used carte blanche, with the overreaching goal of rooting out terrorism.
We must remain critical of corporate and war propaganda and understand that entertainment and celebrity is a force of distraction used against us.
Corporate Media Propaganda IMAGE GALLERY: click on an image below to view this section as a slide show.
As communities fall and refugees flee, our homes are broken and our landscape is forever changed. Endless war will always mean endless destruction. It will always lead to more war. As war breaks out all around us, hate and fear are propagated. Fighting against the fear and hate will not only preserve our human values, but will also preserve our fragile landscape. When love and empathy can be touted as patriotic and/or when a time comes that love and empathy break down a system of greed, our landscape may once again begin to heal.
Much of our fear and frustration come from the fact that we think it is all too big for us to make a difference, or we just don’t think we are affected by politics. First, the mess we are in is huge. But if we focus on our communities first, we will begin to make small differences that mount up quickly. Second, everything we do is political, from the air we breathe, to the water we drink. Everything is politics because everything is controlled by the elite ruling class. We can make a difference every day and we must in order to begin to heal this broken landscape.
Broken Landscape VIDEO GALLERY: click on an image below to play the video.
Caroline King, Videos (L-R, T-B): Sun Boy Gun Toy; Shock and Awe; tit4tat4tit4tat4tit4tat4tit4tat4tit4tat: Prey: Special Relationship: Right Left: Scrum: Refuse-Refuge-Refuse-Refuge: Omni
Broken Landscape IMAGE GALLERY: click on an image below to view this section as a slide show.
We must practice love, acceptance and peace. These are not lofty goals, or utopic ideals. We are so often told that hate and war are just human nature. I hereby officially denounce that claim. Love and empathy are human traits. Hate, fear and war are traits of the capitalistic, corporate elite that rely on chaos to retain control. Hate, fear and war are traits propagated by the cultural norms and must be challenged every day by the people of the world. Love and empathy are attainable truths to a future of freedom and prosperity for all people. We have to turn everything we know upside-down to begin to understand how we can make these priorities part of our new world culture.