Type A Exhibit at the MCA Denver

Camille Breslin

Type A and Gun Fetishes In America

Artists: Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin

            The exhibit, Type A, has to do with our nation’s fascination and narcotic mindset. Somehow our nation has this overwhelming glorification for guns and the power it can obtain. Our country is also in a state of panic and anxiety with airline security and questionable carry-on items. This Exhibit mainly was focused around the concept of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the twenty-one most common items that they list as “dangerous”. Those twenty-one items included water bottles, aerosol hairspray, snow globes, fireworks, guns, knives, ski poles, match boxes, baseball bats, bow and arrows, just to name a few.

In the first room of the exhibit, there was a name dressed in traditional TSA uniform with a utility belt with all his security and defense items on hand. He was seated with multiple monitors placed in front of him. They were constantly changing to show images of the twenty-one listed items categorized as dangerous. He proceeded to lecture and talk about where is the line between safety and paranoia. He proceeded to point out the three-lit neon officer with their guns point straight towards the viewer, known as Target (2012). They were in the order of Red, White, and Blue, representing our nation’s colors.

It was interesting to see what the TSA lists as dangerous objects and the “on duty” security guard had to mention as well. On the other side of the exhibit there were eight different images that were abstractly shaped. These images consisted of some unrecognizable grey ashy looking substance with traces of copper. Each smeared mark photographed created an aesthetically pleasing image to the viewer’s eye. On the plaque card on the left hand side of the images gave a list on image names. They stated Shot (Slug 1-8), 2012. It was interesting to put the pieces together to realize that these abstract images really were bullet shells after they have hit their target point and the physical and chemical reaction that they create upon impact. Another plaque shown underneath the names stated,

“These photographs depict spent bullets collected from a firing range. When seen through a camera’s lens, these discarded afterthoughts become aesthetic objects. While the bullets refer directly to the firearm carried by the on-duty security guard in Guarded, they also introduce a broader theme about the fetishizing of gun culture in American life.” (Courtesy the artists MCA plaque card).

It is interesting to see images of bullet shells post firing and the reaction that is cause. With the new laws past in Colorado saying that persons over the age of twenty-one with the correct paper work are allowed to carry concealed weapons on University campuses. This also makes the viewer recall some other instances that have really realize that danger of guns in the wrong hands including Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, and the most recent St. Patrick’s day incident on the hill in the past couple of years. This newly passed law not in favor of my opinion, but now as a citizen, I am more concerned about gun control and strict regulations on obtaining permits and possessions.

As artists, Ames and Bordwin created an installation that covers the severe neurotic tendencies based off of terrorism and the precautions it will take to create a safe country, but also the freely and widely accepted views on America’s natural gun fetish. Ames and Bordwin want their viewers to question their feelings on the fear and sacrifices it will take to create a “safe” American at airport and in public. This exhibit really makes the viewer think about what should be prioritized in our country in regards to our safety and our rights as citizens.

2 Responses

  1. Wow. That was well written. You and the artists bring up interesting topics that people often disagree on. What I like even more is how you connected it to the new law passed about carrying. I wish you had described a few more pieces but other than that, nice job!

  2. I found the images of the spent bullets to be very interesting. Visualy they remain ambiguous yet appealing. “The aethetics of viloence” is an interesting analysis. Guns are amazing feats of machinery, perfectly engineered. These images are essentially the final product of this machine operating. The associations of a bullet have a vast range of negative connotatins, but its interesting to see an aesthetic appreciation for the chaos of a bullet’s demise.

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