spring 2003
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The Human Condition [After Effects]
(An international photography exhibition created by The Alternative Museum for The Nathan Cummings Foundation)
George Azar
Donna De Cesare
Carol Guzy
Yannis Kontos
David Dare Parker
Lucian Perkins

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Internet Explorer/Netscape 5 or later browser,
Flash 6 player,
min 800x600 monitor

A Catalyst For Change

Art as a catalyst for change is an idea that we at the Alternative Museum have believed in and promoted for more than 28 years. It is with this premise that we present The Human Condition: After Effects, an exhibition that focuses art and photography on children surviving injustice. Importantly, the exhibition visually attempts to fill in the informational gaps that government and the media refuse to close.

This exhibition aims to encourage viewers to work toward positive change. It begs the viewer to contemplate on David Dare Parker’s images of Roma children in Transylvania. These children survive on the gleanings of a putrid garbage dump (while we in the U.S. live in a society bred to consume useless commodities that have a built in obsolescence); to consider Carol Guzy’s esssay on the children in Sierra Leone who must endure the unspeakable horrors of amputations so that we can buy "blood diamonds"; and to consider the portrayals by George Azar and Yannis Kontos of war orphans in Lebanon and Afghanistan. These children survive wars that are fought for control of the profitable petroleum supplies needed to run our urban gas guzzling sports utility vehicles (that incidentally, never see a desert or forest). We hope this exhibition will make us aware of our government’s involvement in the forced bus transfers of the children of Kosovo as photographed by Lucian Perkins. These children suffer family separation and dislocation because outside interests insist on profiting from the balkanization and rebuilding of Eastern Europe. Donna De Cesare’s photographs give us an insight into the life of Guatemalan street gangs who emulate Los Angeles gangs and admire America’s organized street criminals for their entrepreneurship and continued economic successes, in spite of the U.S. "wars on drugs and/or poverty."

The photograhers in this exhibition reveal to us what the news media often will not. When the major networks report on the "blood diamond" market, they pay little attention to the amputations committed by "armies of liberation" to keep children from mining the rivers. If mothers and children die from chemical weapon attacks it is the media’s responsibility to inform the public how the American pharmaceutical industry and U.S. military have created, sold, and to this day, stockpile the world’s largest supplies of these same weapons of mass destruction. The networks should let the public know that the use of depleted uranium tipped bombs in Kosovo and Iraq contaminated villages for 4 billion years; that children there are often born with three eyes or with missing brains.

We can begin global change by re-informing ourselves with alternative sources of information. I say alternative because our traditional streams of news have been compromised, if not corrupted, by the captains of the media industry. I believe the Internet is a good place to start. In this topsy-turvy world we must commit ourselves to informing our fellow citizens if our democracy is to survive.

For their courage and commitment to informing the world, I am indebted to the photographers in this exhibition. For its support of art as a catalyst for change, I thank the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Geno Rodriguez

Sponsor: An international photography exhibition created by The Alternative Museum
for The Nathan Cummings Foundation.
Support for this Internet exhibition was provided by the Starry Night Fund of the Tides Foundation.