Thursday, November 29, 2007

Representing Slums

Dionisio Gonzalez, Buraco Quente II, 2006
Bryan Finoki writes,
One of the most intriguing facets of Dionisio Gonzalez's photographic constructions is that they immediately question the viewer's knowledge of what a "slum" actually looks like and what are the political forces that shape slums. To that end, he asks us if "slum" is even an appropriate term at all. Viewers less familiar with these spaces may not detect the careful nuances of his work and instead simply digest these as neither appropriate nor inappropriate images of global poverty, but rather as ones that are simply real...

In my opinion, what is most important about any work of art is the actual effect it will have on culture and public perception. In this case, we are forced to ask what messages about squatter communities are being transmitted through these images? How are we supposed to view them in the first place? Despite the way they may look to us, how is it that those from the outside want to view these images in some way, and digest them as accurate portraits of squatter settlements? More importantly, how does one even responsibly represent global poverty anyway? It's a delicate subject and we need to be mindful whenever a representation like this is asserted for any group, especially one as politically charged as global poverty.

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