MOSCOW — The weight of violence hangs, hovers and floats around the viewer of “Real and Implied,” the latest exhibit at the Prichard Art Gallery in Moscow.In one room, 15 toy cap guns hanging from the ceiling are set to go off anytime the U.S. military carries out a drone strike. In another, delicate tissue paper rubbings of handguns take the shape of snowflakes.
Neither work is a statement for or against war or guns. Instead, artists probe mankind’s use of violence and technology to solve conflict. Here’s a look at the four parts of the exhibit that moves from abstract threat to the human face of war.
The exhibit begins with a large-screen projection of the looping video “24 Drones.” The original dance performance features three women in diaphanous gowns dancing under a series of 24 drones that slowly descend from the sky like space invaders. The dancers are from Elevenplay, a Japanese dance troupe that uses advanced technologies in its work. The troupe created the video with Rhizomatiks Research, a Japanese company of visual artists, computer programmers, engineers, architects and others blending design, art and entertainment.
“Artificial Killing Machine”
“Artificial Killing Machine” is an interactive installation by Jonathan Moore and Fabio Piparo. An apparatus hanging from the ceiling contains 15 toy cap guns and a box computer linked to websites that monitor U.S. global drone strikes. The guns are aimed at a metal folding chair below. Anytime the U.S. carries out a drone strike the guns fire, signaling the minimum and maximum number of deaths. The computer prints data from the strike onto a ribbon of paper. The viewer can sit in the chair and read the results of past strikes in piles of accumulated paper. There are cities, names and ages of dead targets and civilians and descriptions of attacks.
“On the one hand it’s a data visualization project but it turns it into a very visceral experience,” said Roger Rowley, gallery director.
The guns have not yet gone off during the exhibit, he said.
From a distance, what appears to be snowflakes on paper up close are rubbings of handguns arranged in an array of shapes. After 9/11, artist Rosemarie Fiore worked with New Mexico gun and pawn shop owners using their inventory to create a series of 100 detailed rubbings on Japanese silk
tissue. As a New Yorker, Fiore felt conflicted by her desire for revenge after 9/11 and her uneasiness at the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Rowley said.
Suzanne Opton’s large-scale portraits feature extreme close-ups of American servicemen taken between their second and third deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Opton wanted to “get beyond the photographic mask,”
said Rowley, and so she waited until soldiers had relaxed before capturing her image. The soldiers lie on their sides in the portraits.
“You can read all sorts of things into their expressions,” Rowley said.
If You Go
What: “Real and Implied”
When: Through Jan. 28
Where: Prichard Art Gallery, 414 S. Main St., Moscow