Image: Kerry Downey, Nothing but net, still from single channel video; 14:33
Curated by Natasha Marie Llorens
February 16 - March 04, 2017
Jody Wood, Kambui Olujimi, Kerry Downey, Sable E. Smith
You don’t know. You don’t know what she means. You don’t know what response she expects from you nor do you care. For all your previous understandings, suddenly incoherence feels violent. You both experience this cut, which she keeps insisting is a joke, a joke stuck in her throat, and like any other injury, you watch it rupture along its suddenly exposed suture. Claudia Rankine, Citizen, 42.
Claudia Rankine’s book makes legible the psychological injury racism inflicts. She argues that yes there are fully conscious policies to maintain the invisibility of non-white, non-normative histories and to undermine the dignity of non-white, non-normative bodies — but there are also a thousand injuries to such bodies that fall below the threshold of consciousness. Injuries that would fall out of political discourse altogether were it not for writers like Rankine.
This exhibition is organized around her insight: that the political subject, or the citizen, is as vulnerable to psychological violence as she is to more “direct” or “physical” forms of violence. The work included in this project pictures the moment of injury as one in which the distinction between “political” violence and inchoate “personal” forms of violence—a badly turned joke, a misspoken pronoun, an off-hand gesture, a misrecognition—is destabilized.