|Imaging the Systems of Violence|
By Carolina Ponce de León
The understanding of violence is often limited to its most visible expression —aggression to the body, emotional and verbal abuse, weapons, criminal activity, and radical armed conflict. Media representations and narratives of violence—whether real-life or fictional—tend to "explain" these disturbing events through simplified binary relations: us/them, good/evil, victim/perpetrator, fear/dare, and crime/punishment. As a result, violence is perceived as a visible disruptive force that can potentially be singled out and thrown away like the bad apple in the basket, not as a symptom.
However, the cultures of violence and the violence of culture are intimately entwined. They are part of a complex system perpetrated through politics, economics, and culture. Poverty, social inequity, civil wars, state sponsored crime, drug-related crimes, turf wars, corruption, racism, sexism, intolerance and oppression are tightly connected and reveal the degree to which the experience of violence is deeply entrenched in the fabric of daily life. It is not only a manifestation of that system; it is the symptom that reveals the system itself as violent.
From parodies of the entertainment industry’s stylized depictions of aggression to subtle visions rooted in personal experience, the artists in Viology bear witness to the complex experience of living within cultures of violence. Reporting from different frontlines—Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the US—the artists offer a wide range of interpretations while unraveling the contradictory relationships between art, culture, and representations of violence.
As an art space historically linked to the Mission District, home of so many refugees from violence abroad and a site of American-grown violence, we seek to draw connections between the cycles of brutality experienced thousands of miles away and those found at our very doorstep.
Brooke Alfaro (Panama), Claudia Bernardi (Argentina-USA), Luz Elena Castro, Liz Cohen (Colombia-USA), Rocío Con Hong (Costa Rica), Sergio De La Torre (Bay Area), Juan Manuel Echavarría (Colombia), Eric Fajardo (Panama), René García (USA), David Goldberg (USA), Priscila Monje (Costa Rica), Arnaldo Morales (Puerto Rico - USA), Julio C. Morales (San Francisco), Ana Claudia Munera (Colombia), Ivan Navarro (Chile), Yoshua Okon (Mexico), Tatiana Parcero (Mexico), Luis Fernando Roldán (Colombia), and Gustavo Vázquez (Mexico-Bay Area).