Is the representation of violence also violent?
The French poet Eugene Guillevic, whose ‘Charnel House’ (1947) is one of the first, and finest, poetic responses to the Shoah (Jewish, meaning Holocaust), once wrote,
"Yes, even horror can be lived out in poetry. This is not to say that poetry weakens or diminishes horror – what it perhaps means is that poetry translates horror to that level where, lived out through poetry, it is no longer degrading."
How does one be unflinchingly neutral in the face of unprecedented violence? How do we look at a photograph or a video of violence and conflict without identifying a victim or a perpetrator? Without either condemning or condoning, without judgment or a feeling of aligning ourselves to either side? Do our placement within our respective cultures affect our perspective and understanding of an image of violence? Is such a culture specific reading desirable or does it further cultural alienation? Do images of violence emphasize the tragedy of loss or do they inflame feelings of hatred and vengeance? Can we measure our understanding of conflict and violence through the lens of moral righteousness; based on the validity of the cause as we understand it?
Is any of it real?
IS/NOT: Sculpture for the Post-Truth Era
Aalto University Learning Centre, Helsinki
It is said that we have moved into a “post-truth” era, as scientific fact has made way for opinion and belief. Are we humans returning to a pre-enlightenment society ruled by priests and monarchs, where the masses are kept ignorant of facts, and ruling elites use fear to keep in power? Can science and reason prevail in this new/old world, or will we enter a new dark ages?
The exhibition is open in the Learning Centre Lobby on 14-25.2.2017.
Simona Di Giovanni
Jernej Čuček Gerbec
Lucia Marisa Gruber
Johan F. Karlsson
Ali Akbar Mehta