Can a picture in a museum—even a 67-foot mural -- counter political indifference? Can it provoke us to consider the ways silence amidst a discourse of brutality (whether state-sanctioned, media-driven, or personally inflicted) disconnects us from the individuals living halfway around the world or in our own neighborhoods whose bodies are affected? THINK AGAIN believes it can.*
ACTIONS SPEAK (2008-2010) debuted at the Worcester Art Museum a few days before the 2008 election. This multimedia project featured a 67-foot interior wall mural and a concurrent outdoor projection. The project focused on the connections between political brutality and public policy while reconsidering the social problems of HIV/AIDS and violence against women. ACTIONS SPEAK promoted dialogue between art and public response, between global reality and local action, between media misinformation and lived experience.
ACTIONS SPEAK is a hybrid of photography, drawing, etching, digital design and text. The mural's iconography -- a mass of paper bones entangled in the cords of monumental microphones -- links political discourse directly to individual bodies. Resting on a field of salt and ash, one microphone is covered with a red condom and the other with violently smashed lipstick. The microphone is a signature image for THINK AGAIN and operates as a double-edged metaphor for political possibility, on the one hand, and voicelessness, apathy and censorship, on the other. The microphone's entangled relation to the femur bones -- a proxy for the body -- raises the question: Who gets to speak and who lives with the consequences?
The mural's themes of brutality and stigmatization are echoed in the corresponding moving projection on the museum's facade. Streetside, the image of an open microphone awaiting a speaker is accompanied by a cascade of words from the mural, out of which emerge ideas of empowerment and action.
*Excerpt from museum catalogue by Curator, Susan Stoops. View the video projection by clicking and scrolling down the page.