YOU ARE HERE II: SHOOT A COP - OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Think Tank Gallery presents
YOU ARE HERE II: Shoot a Cop
February 14–March 2, 2013
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From February 14th, Think Tank Gallery will host the second of its photography festival-like exhibition experiments in YOU ARE HERE II. Los Angeles has long had a reputation as a city with a strong “riot culture,” and a large amount of this culture has come from perceived failures in law enforcement to fairly treat its citizens, in addition to the mistreating of these failures in the public eye by corrupted or misinformed media. While police brutality or unjust treatment of different social groups has been a consequence of a wide variety of governments all over the world, LAPD has unfortunately taken a large amount of blame through sensationalized news coverage and exposed cover-ups. With such events in our past as the Bloody Christmas of 1951 (covered up for three months by Los Angeles law enforcement) and the Chinatown Massacre of 1871 (all but erased from the history books until quite recently), and all the way up to the most recent and well-known event involving police corruption in the LA Riots of 1992 (ironically, sparked by media “cover-up” in a full-circle kind of way by excluding the footage of King charging the officers, effectively demonizing LAPD), Los Angeles is singled out as a location ripe for riots. And even if you have not taken part in these riots, they have affected your life if you live here - you are here, too.
But with cover-ups and the injustices inherent in such acts being pushed deeper into the history books through the advent and increasing prevalence of various technologies like live-streaming, social networks, and camera phones, law enforcement has been forced to respond one way or the other to the fact that their actions are becoming more and more broadcast to the world. Their responses include attempting more forceful cover-ups or attempting to more fully and effectively understand citizens’ rights and the law, and to act upon such understanding. While there are certainly some exceptions, it is Think Tank’s experience that LAPD has responded in a way that boasts upstanding law enforcement pedigree. And it is a crucial check and balance that we as citizens hold those who protect us accountable.
YOU ARE HERE II: Shoot a Cop aims to illustrate the fact that for the first time in history, everywhere that a police officer can shoot into a crowd, the crowd can shoot back. In a city that exposed the world to the power of photography in capturing the incidents surrounding Rodney King, lines of riot control officers stood along the streets outside LA City Hall during the Occupy LA protests, amidst chants that “the whole world is watching,” and in the face of signs printed with images of police brutality in New York, Davis, and Oakland as well as protestors armed with backpacks of up to eight cameras live-streaming in every direction in the occasion that another such image might be captured. But LAPD responded responsibly, and made it evident that even in a riot capitol of the country, and even in a moment that historically exhibits an us-versus-them mentality, the checks and balances of modern technology ensure peace.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
With a long list of photographers who applied for the show knowing only that they would have one month to shoot and print photos in an undisclosed area of Los Angeles and with an undisclosed subject matter, details were released to accepted participants on January 14th. Like part I, 32 photographers were chosen to photograph the same area; some were chosen beforehand to act as “featured” talent and most applied for portfolio review, but all were left in the dark as to this subject matter that revolves around Los Angeles law enforcement until the day of the beginning of time to shoot and print photos.
The theme for YOU ARE HERE II came from the desire to expand upon what was learned in the first such experiment; that is, when tasking 32 talented individuals to train their cameras on the same subjects for an extended amount of time, a certain degree of meditation was necessitated upon the photographers. This meditation, however subjective to each individual, forced them to contemplate the meaning, history, and public perception of those subjects. While the subjects in part I may just have been the people within a certain area, Think Tank Gallery knew that in evolving this project a more meaningful theme would have to be established. The result was YOU ARE HERE II: Shoot a Cop – a Celebration of our Boys in Blue.
Photographers have not been guided as to the nature of their photos, and even some may choose to arrange fictional scenes or edit their photos howsoever they please. Think Tank Gallery hopes only to enforce a meditation on the theme, not to decide what that expression may be. The exhibition is a pursuit of truth on contemporary law enforcement. Shoot a Cop will also include painting by street artist Kaleb Higgins and a performance/food installation piece by gallerist Jacob Patterson and special effects makeup artist Eric Fox, as well as an immersive installation by sculptor Brandon Muñoz. The show is curated by YOU ARE HERE part I participants and professional photographers Rinzi Ruiz and Jordan Dunn. Free donuts for first 200 guests on opening night!
The map that outlines the area in which participants must shoot is defined by the area of the following riots that have shaped the public and media perception of LA law enforcement: Chinatown Massacre of 1871, Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, Watts Riots of 1965, Sunset Strip riots of 1966, and the LA Riots of 1992. Also contained within this area are the Lakers Championship riots at Staples Center in 2000 and 2010, and the Hollywood Skateboard Riot of 2012, as well as the ongoing Occupy LA protests. This map is available upon request.
The featured and participating photographers are as follows: Mark Rosales, Dana Barshun, Ben Molina, Mehdi Bouqua, Ibarionex Perello, Brian Sokolowski, Bret Higham, Rinzi Ruiz, Jordan Dunn, Hector Isaac, Roger Clay, Romeo Doneza, Ton Roque, Jimmy Baxan, Julianna Lacoste, Alex Gitman, David Valera, Walter Morataya, Adrian Augusto, Katharine Hargreaves, Leopoldo Peña, Edgar Herrera, Tom Szabadi, George Byrne, Brian Quisido, Norman Estrologo, Samantha Trauben, Erin Xavier and Willie Gomez
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