Penal Systems Network (2014) is on display in the exhibition Playing Hide and Law at Tranzit in Bratislava from March 10th to May 13th, 2017.
Playing Hide and Law
A Visual Unraveling of the Latent Power of Law
March 11 – May 13, 2017
tranzit/sk, Beskydská 12, Bratislava
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Curator: Avi Feldman
Playing Hide and Law seeks to expose the latent power of the law. Through the perception of contemporary artists, it searches for and attempts to present new images of the law. By doing so, the exhibition tackles one of the most important characterizations of the law and any legal system, that is, a hidden, undercover system of power and control. Structuring the exhibition on the crux of visibility vs. non-visibility and presence vs. absence, the exhibition is a space in which law can be openly and directly investigated. It suggests an active role for the viewer through which one becomes aware of both the legal and artistic tactics and mechanisms of disguise and transparency, and points to the crucial condition in which the borders between politics, law, economics and society are continuously blurred. In this digital and globalized era in which we live, the exhibition suggests that it is increasingly vital to examine the consequences and effects it holds on our power to comprehend how law determines every aspect of our lives.
In these days of the massive sharing of images and sounds through a growing number of social and media platforms, basic human rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of movement are being put to the test. In the aftermath of Brexit and the US elections and the global war declared by the Trump administration on women and minorities, the exhibition can be perceived as a modest contribution to the re-formulation of political art which demands an engagement between law and art. Now, perhaps more than ever, there is a need to link law and art in order to spur new theoretical and practical measures redefining both spheres in the struggle for justice.
This sense of visual activism is expressed in a variety of artistic mediums and interventions: Lawrence Abu Hamdan questions the role of sound and speech in the court room; Ariella Azoulay calls for a reassessment of the Declaration of Human Rights as a never ending process in the creation of rights in the context of an art exhibition; Tali Keren tackles the legal ratification of a city urban plan through the act of singing; Alona Rodeh created a newly commissioned sculpture in which the image of Lady Justice is juxtaposed with that of the Jester; Burak Arikan, offers the spectator an active map through which the international relations of the penal system is discovered; On the other hand, Carey Young challenges us to re-examine the way law is written and the way it is read, while Dalibor Bača connects the exhibition to the immediate imagery of Bratislava as challenges us to re-think what we know of our immediate (legal) surroundings, and how we want the re-model society in relation to local and global legal systems.