THE HORROR SHOW
Dorsky Gallery, 11-03 45th Avenue (at corner of 11th Street), Long Island City, NY, 718-937-6317
“FACING PANIC: PANIC HITS HOME” BY RENATE FERRO
OPENING: FRIDAY, AUGUST 7TH FROM 2PM TO 5PM
SHOW RUNS THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2, 2009
For directions, gallery hours, and a show catalog go to www.dorsky.org
In her installation, Renate Ferro questions what happens when the federal political bureaucracy maps out messages of panic via the media in a way that disrupts the balances of the boundaries between private and public, the psychic and the social. The impetus of Facing Panic: Panic Hits Home inspired by 1950's panic during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the public's paranoia after 9/11. ”I was struck by the eerie similarity of the urgency for ordinary citizens to be prepared for impending doom that Washington promulgated in light of the tragic events.”
Playing on the retrospective confusions between trauma then and now, juxtaposed television footage and public service announcements promoting “duck and cover” and bomb-shelter protection are projected with the high tech television media documentation and web directives of our contemporary Department of Homeland Security. A television monitor becomes a metaphor for a sheltered psycho-space which “houses” the series of videotaped interviews of cross-generational subjects who reveal stories about their personal responses to the panic of both time periods. There is an ironic similarity to the psychological tone and content of these interviews retelling anecdotes from each period.
Combining and connecting analog imagery from the fifties with contemporary digital pulses, allows the viewer to maneuver through imagery from the past and present to contemplate, reflect and formulate the politics of panic. In government-conducted research in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, social scientists determined that the “real” danger from devastation to our cities would be in the form of the panic and flight of its citizens not from nuclear fall out. It was determined that as citizens fled the urban cog, its entire economic and social structure would collapse. At that time the government with the help of Hollywood cinema, funded educationally based films to educate every social demographic. How ironic it was shortly after 911, when President Bush on national television, encouraged citizens not to be afraid but to be bold, spend, and go to Disney World. The Department of Homeland Security was born. The television media, the internet, and government funded web directives such as www.ready.gov took up their mission.
Whether regarding security and protection from the fallout of impending nuclear warheads or the possibility of additional panic years later, we are wise to critically assess the messages via the media especially in today’s climate of environmental and economic panic
“Facing Panic: Panic Hits Home” is part of a curated exhibition by Debra and David Tolchinsky, who have assembled a group of work including painting, video, sound, interactive sculpture, photography and new media. The curators explain that the work is less “about eliciting a scream than about inducing anxiety by presenting horror from the inside out.”