Claudia Rankine’s book Citizen makes legible the psychological injury racism inflicts. She argues that YES there are fully conscious policies to maintain the invisibility of non-white, non-normative histories and to undermine the dignity of non-white, non-normative bodies – BUT there are also a thousand injuries that fall below the threshold of consciousness. These injuries would fall out of political discourse altogether were it not for writers like Rankine.
This exhibition is organized around her insight: the political subject, or the citizen, is as vulnerable to psychological violence as she is to more “direct” or “physical” forms of violence. The work included in this project pictures the moment of injury as one in which the distinction between “political” violence and inchoate “personal” forms of violence – a badly turned joke, a misspoken pronoun, an off-hand gesture, a misrecognition – is destabilized. In this focus, the exhibition makes an effort to address a sexist, homophobic and racist structural violence together.