“Instead of viewing violence simply as a set of discrete events,” writes Arthur Kleinman, “the perspective I am advancing seeks to unearth those entrenched processes of ordering the social world and making (or realizing) culture that themselves are forms of violence: violence that is multiple, mundane, and perhaps all the more fundamental since it is hidden or secret violence out of which images of people are shaped, experiences of groups are coerced, and agency itself is engendered.”
The question at the heart of the series of texts to follow considers the systemic, cultural, administrative, institutional, and relational processes so ubiquitous and cloaked in narratives of common sense that they make and mask violence as ineliminable.
The artists and writers in this series investigate the violence that goes unnoticed, too often tacitly accepted as just one more part of life that sucks, and speculate on what new rituals and gestures of reconciliation and self-care could look like. Can art help reconfigure the underlying structures Kleinman identifies? Can we opt out? And what are the risks inherent in such choices?
Christina Schmid is a writer who thinks with art and experiments with prose. She is interested in the materiality of text, haptic criticism, and the ways art generates ideas. Her essays and reviews have been published online and in print, in anthologies, journals, zines, artist books, exhibition catalogs, and digital platforms. She works at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art in Minneapolis as an Assistant Professor of Critical Practice and was just awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board grant for Creative Prose.