How To Do Things With Words


October 30, 2010 - November 9, 2010

Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries

Opening Reception: Monday, November 1, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This exhibition presents work by 15 artists (individuals and collectives) exploring the relationship between language and power, media, action, and socio-political context in innovative ways. It includes gallery works, talks, workshops, and performances. The gallery itself is set up as a space for speech and action, designed by Jordan Parnass as an interpretation of the UN Security Council chamber constructed with laser-cut plywood furniture.

Participating artists: Melanie Crean; Azin Feizabadi and Kaya Behkalam; Andrea Geyer and Sharon Hayes; Yael Kanarek; Carlos Motta; Martha Rosler; the Iraqi/U.S. Cross Wire Collective; Mark Tribe; and the Yes Men.

Artists presenting talks and performances include Wafaa Bilal, Azin Feizabadi, Yael Kanarek, Huong Ngo and Hong-An Truong, Mark Tribe, and Mary Walling Blackburn.

Several pieces in the show relate speech to the urgency of the political process during an election season. Carlos Motta’s Six Acts: An Experiment in Narrative Justice (2010) reenacts a series of speeches concerning the concept of peace, which were originally delivered by six liberal Colombian presidential candidates from the 20th century who were assassinated because of their ideology. Performed by actors in public squares in Bogota during the last presidential campaign, the work emphasizes the transformative potential of fiction as a tool of reparative collective memory. Azin Feizabadi’s The Epic of the Lovers: God, Mafia and the Citizens (2009) muses on the disparity between individual and collective desire for change
during an evolving political movement. Melanie Crean’s The Anonymous Archives (2008-2010) is an online archive of interviews that document the rapid shifts in Iraqi and American desire for political change during the period of U.S. military divestment, beginning before the 2008 election of President Obama and scheduled to finish just after the current U.S. mid-term elections.

Performances and presentations take place in the galleries at 6:30 p.m. 

November 2: Trigger Words by Yael Kanarek investigates the impact of words used to categorize, separate, and wound.

For a curatorial statement and information on individual projects in the show please visit the Shape of Change blog.

How To Do Things With Words is supported by funds from Parsons School of Design and the
Jerome Foundation.

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