THE RIGHT ARM OF THE FREE WORLD, 2002.
The masses will come up with a way to deal with the problem of their enemies, with those who have harmed them both on the individual and the collective level. They will invent methods of retribution ranging from punishment to rehabilitation, without having to resort to the institution of the courthouse, which is to be avoided. (Michel Foucault, On Popular Justice, a Discussion with Maoists).
The right arm of the free world, 2001-02, video, 3 minutes
The Right Arm of the Free World is a work based on a simple assumption. It assumes that the average citizen is armed and has taken it upon himself to ensure his personal safety as well as to see that justice is done both on the individual and the collective level. Guns become a common commodity and a necessary tool for survival.
Bleed, 2002, 139x132,25 cm, mixed media
Although the end result is a work that belongs to the realm of fiction, it nevertheless makes use of certain data drawn from real life to support its initial assumption; data on guns and the way they are sold on the internet, as well as the respective slogans used to promote them (the title of the work is in fact the slogan used by www.fnfal.com, an arms dealing company).
Sources for such data are sites that preach the necessity of the average citizen being armed with a view to ensuring self-protection (the truth about gun control myths etc.). These sites also give rise to questions as to whether the desire for modifications to existing legislation regarding the possession and use of guns stems from a need felt by citizens terrorized by the prospect of survival in the big cities and by their lack of trust in the police and the justice system or whether this is indeed an indirect way of propagating and justifying the reality of guns by the arms industry.
Shopping cart, 2002, 68x68x110 cm, mixed media
The second body of data used is drawn from the world of news and journalism. The text of the titles that accompany the work is inspired by the style of newspaper writing. A distortion of the truth through dramatization of facts, a novelistic attempt at attracting the interest of the reader by emphasizing a kind of popular heroism that might sometimes even manifest a disregard for existing legislation but that succeeds in obtaining wide social approval. (It is also interesting to note how the way the truth is perceived changes by the application to an image of an exaggerated title and how this affects the readers emotional response to the facts and, consequently, the shaping of public opinion.)
Shopping cart, 2001, design for installation
The snapshots that have been used depict everyday scenes from the street market. Women between 50 and 70 years of age have been selected as a representative consumer sample. Women buying at the street market can be considered as food bearers. Their dynamics and general disposition manifest that families, or other people in general, are in their care. Most of them look tired and although they do not seem to be particularly concerned about their appearance, they exhibit a remarkable likeness in terms of style (1).
The street market is a vibrant theatrical quest for the discovery of good and cheap food (2).
At first one could perhaps assume that women buying food at the street market would be the last to succumb to a merciless advertising campaign, even a hypothetical one, aiming to persuade them to buy guns. However, we could turn this hypothesis to a question, namely what would these women do if they found themselves in the midst of adverse conditions, if there was no food, if crime in their neighbourhood threatened their children, or other members of their family, with death (3)?
Bleed, 2001-02, design for installation
In the course of recent events at Scopje (an example of an area in a state of war) we watched television broadcasts showing citizens gathered on a square in front of a government building calling for guns to be handed to them. What can you do if you cannot or will not escape? The battle between a male logic of violence and gun and power fetishism with a female logic that clings on the concept of safety and survival, void however of all power to intervene and change things, may signify yet again the adoption on the part of women of a male way of fighting based on war and replete of death.
In the animated part of the work this hypothetical case is presented as a fact. The ladies are perfectly trained and ready to fight. War in the cities has begun. The last fort has fallen.
1. The body of these women seen as reaction to the body as war machine in simulated form as the aesthetics of the era, from video games to the matrix, dictate.
2. A semiotic transition from a refined market for guns with the respective license, to the creation of a popular market where the surplus of guns is freely distributed.
3. Taking the law into ones one hands is not an immediately acceptable concept, however Greek society is relatively tolerant in the face of it.