Revolution: An Unconscious (Deeper)

My present work is an investigation into my early formative years. I was born in 1963 in suburban New Jersey. Revolution: An Unconscious (Deeper) is a current project that explores how iconic media images (both print and televised) have shaped my present world view. I am using printed copies of images taken during this time period (i.e. a flag burning, an iconic image from the Kent State shootings, Vietnam combat, Hippies dancing, the Black Power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics, and the execution of a Viet Cong prisoner, etc.), creating collages with these, scanning them and then reproducing each as a large 4 ft. x 5 ft. vinyl banner. These works draw inspiration from 1960s protest posters, psychedelia, and album art. It is a series of vinyl banners that are in response to our current state of affairs in this country. These have been inspired by art to use while I attended political protests recently.


I believe that these works question the very nature of freedom and censorship. As an educator and instructor of Critical Thinking at the City University of New York’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, I spend a lot of time discussing the First Amendment and issues surrounding censorship and the freedom of expression. Revolution: An Unconscious (Deeper) utilizes controversial imagery and calls into question the aestheticization of quite gruesome events and images that are lodged deeply within my mind. To quote Susan Sontag in Regarding the Pain of Others, “A photograph has the advantage of uniting two contradictory features. Their credentials of objectifying were inbuilt. Yet, they always had, necessarily, a point of view.”


I see these works as a synthesis of deeply buried remembrances and personal connotations. Images are freeze-framed and as I try to recollect, I am a spectator in my own life. I am learning that through this process of creating, many of these images and my recollection of them are indeed haunting, yet reconfirm my personal belief that art and the act of creating is a right of individual freedom leading forward on the path of empathy towards human understanding.