Food For Weapons showcases contemporary works by artists working on the current manipulation of power in Venezuela and its relationship to the body. The current regime in Venezuela has fabricated an extensive list of methods to keep control of the people and prevent them from uprising. Besides food, medicines, water and power shortages, the Venezuelan government controls most mass media resulting in a univocal, repetitive discourse in which the only valid voice is the one of the government in an attempt to destroy diversity of opinion.
The works presented here in Trinidad question the manipulation of power through intimate narratives, touching issues of violence, genre and memory, and undermining established discourses that are either taboo or simply ignored. Several of the artists in this exhibit have been politically persecuted by the current regime in Venezuela for their works – some of which are deliberately shocking and are only suitable for a mature audience.
This show is also about violence and its relationship to the body. All of the artists in this exhibit work with their body as an instrument. The body has always been the battleground where violence is enacted. Whether through instrument of hunger, torture or menace, it is in the body upon which violence is enacted. It is also upon the body that concepts of beauty are imposed … These artists believe that the body can be a channel of liberation, and it is a democratic, universal, and accessible to all.
The title “Food For Weapons”, food for thought, refers not only to the food shortages and violence situation in Venezuela, but also that ideas can be seen as food, that we need to reflect on what is happening in Venezuela and not repeat the same mistakes here. A reminder that hunger can be both a dangerous oppressor and the most dramatic motivator for ultimate liberation. The idea that ideas can be both food for thought and thoughts can be weapons of change.
-Sandra Vivas,Curator-Food For Weapons/Experimental Filmmaker
Epistolary Directed by Max Provenzano (2016)
Epistalory is a reflection on the Venezuelan violence situation.
In this work, the explicit sexual connotations creates a dual discourse on submission and power, pleasure as shown in porn iconography and pleasure as it relates to power. Most of Venezuelan feel they have no control on how to stop the current violence spiral, the access to guns keeps increasing and so do robberies and murders.
Migracion Selectiva 2 / Selective Migration 2 Directed by Luis Poleo (2015)
The apparent comedic nature of this animation is loaded with references from Art and Venezuelan History: the main character is heavily ‘migrating’ along with the weight of a history that is cyclically repeated. The ‘messiah’ is represented by the ‘King Vulture’ which is a repeated figure in Latin-American Art Iconography, the ‘new hero’ is the focal point, and it illustrates the cult to the personality and caricatures the promotion of the past as the only solution for the future.
R.E.D Directed by Raul Rodriguez (2014)
This gif is an animation made out of 300 photograms as a critical apology to the violent saturation and objectification of the human being in Venezuela. It illustrates the multiplication of anti-social beings stripped of their own thoughts, animals trained to execute and repeat actions.
Ichtys II Directed by Carlos Salazar Lermont (2014)
With the screen split in half, the artist simultaneously performs the same action on himself and on a fish, pressing his finger for several minutes to contrast life and death, using symbols related to Christian iconography as a form of exorcism of the cultural weight of martyrdom and guilt.
Marx Palimpsesto Directed by Deborah Castillo (2015)
In this performance/installation/video the artist erases quotes from Marx written on the walls and floor with an eraser, also made also by the artist, with the shape of Marx’s head. The written text is replaced by the gesture, the action and becomes a perennial movement, a forever unfinished process, a discourse that deconstructs itself and dissolves the separation between a corporeal action and written text.
Oblivion Directed by Anna Rosa Rodriguez (2016)
In this intimist and poetic performance/video, Rodriguez documents non verbal experiences of abuse without using any violence or directly addressing the issue. In this case, the mapping of personal memory becomes a transgression against amnesia and the mass produced messages
of collective memory.
Cetrinez / Sallow Directed by Erika Ordosgoitti (2012)
By urinating directly into the camera, in a supine angle, the artist distorts the image of the vulva and turns it into something unintelligible, while playing with the sound of the stream. Breaking behavioral codes assigned by society in surprisingly simple gestures has always been the strategy of Ordosgoitti, in this case we also find it reminiscent of ‘The Origin of the World’ by Courbet.