Digital Frontiers Conference 2019

A Work-in-Progress: Behind the “Silenced” Gun Violence Series

My participation in the conference is a studio visit of sorts (my own version of Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise— Atelier-en-valise, my studio in a suitcase). It is a peek into the development of a series in progress “Silenced” from 2018 onward. The series was inspired by a one-off installation I created for the 2013 Contain It! exhibit at the Dunedin Fine Art Center in Florida, “Do You Know Where Your Guns Are?”  featuring “Missing Gun” posters based on reports of guns stolen from private homes and vehicles.

I moved on to other projects, but the headlines kept coming— more stolen guns, more incidents of domestic violence involving guns, more mass shootings. The headlines pushed me to statistical research in late 2016, in an attempt to better understand gun violence in the United States. I share what I have been able to find, and how difficult it has been to find reliable and comprehensive sources.

For the “Silenced: Records Series,” I use the GVA information to create temporal data portraits in a series of mixed-media drawings.

In 2019 I returned to the headlines, focusing on how news media and government agencies are telling the stories of gun-related domestic violence incidents. “Silenced: Domestic Report (this is an isolated incident with no threat to the public),” is a new mixed-media series that pairs the data of domestic gun violence incidents with a critical eye toward the images and language used in such reports. Much of the language is either clinical, naïve and/or irresponsible, and reinforces social, racial, and economic inequalities even though domestic violence crosses all demographics. How are these reports helping or hindering our understanding of the statistics, such as: more than two-thirds of intimate partner and family murder victims are committed with guns, and domestic violence assaults involving a gun are twelve times more likely to result in death. The “Silenced” series is evolving to utilize digital as well as historical print formats in the spirit of a “cultural jamming” artistic practice.