The visual discourse against violence can function as a new signification of the reality regarding the lives of people who are subjected to violence. After the first contact, the interpretation starts to play its role, allowing the dialectical integration of that vision. But there is a residual “something” that remains and that helps reconstruct or deconstruct the definitions that are automatically related to those who suffer violence in every day life.
In this case, we are dealing with the work done for the event “International Day to stop Violence against Women” (at the section “Portfolio”).
The exhibition took place at the end of the year 2001, for the National Council for the Women of Argentina, UNICEF and the Pan-American Organisation for Health. It consisted mainly of an installation of panels (2metres x 1) linked with each other as if an open book. This allowed the observer to go through a passage about violence against women, visualising the conceptual development of it with the texts as well as the artistic interpretation in images of the content.
With respect to the display, the criterion used was the physical construction of warm spaces which held the observer within a reading situation, so that it was possible to relate the message. For that reason, the aim of the place chosen and the hand-made materials which carried the images was to mitigate the impact and psychological resistance that arises from the issue.
Thus, the images are based exclusively on the reproduction of objects which, when articulated, create situations to end violence against women, by means of the interaction of its social significance. In consequence, as opposed the words of Adorno, that “artists transform objects into socially desirable products”, undesirable aspects of a social issue such as violence, and the situations that violence generates, take form here through the selection of certain graphic objects.
The idea of showing just photographs of objects was thought up, bearing in mind the unpleasant feeling produced by a photograph of an action or a direct allusion to violence. Certain objects on their own can have the effect of reconstructing the same situations in the observer’s mind, without the initial rejection generated by explicit violence. It was also thought up as a means of broadening the referential frames given by the message, because the abstract expression that certain objects construct as referents could even be more open than that constructed by photographs of actions or models. By including fewer details of the social existence of the people involved with such objects, there is a lower risk of breaking the bond of fundamental identification necessary for the subjectivity of the observer to be involved with the image. So, the negative influence which the filter of the selective perception exerts on the messages about violence would also be voided. By this we mean the psychological filter that makes the observer select exclusively the communications that are of interest or that do not jeopardise the stability of an existential referential frame, then taking them to a conscious level.
Furthermore, with respect to the objects, the way they access the internal world of the observer may be different: a wedding ring, together with the information of its culture of origin, is also directly recognisable for its value of representation by the distinct social groups that may potentially read the book. This coding would allow the future creation of a narration of violent situations that get to be understood as such at the end of the narrations and not at the beginning. The observer thus reaches to the “fortuitous discovery that means to find something that you were not looking for, but that changes everything that came before and will come after” (Dumbar).
In the same way, the fact that the objects have been photographed and not painted or drawn, gives the observer the benefit of credibility, of the reproduction of the sharpness of “what is real”. It is the testimony that certifies that it happened, that the thing was there, proving with its presence that the object has been real and giving what is real a superior and eternal value of certainty. As Barthes says, “I see the eyes (of the photographer) that saw” that situation, which is why there is always a third person, somebody beyond oneself who testifies and does not let us lie to ourselves about the presence of the reality of the objects.