Artur Zmijewski – “Them”

“Them” 2007

Zmijewski invited participants from very different and conflicting social groups to take part in a series of workshops. In the first session he asked each group to create a mural that they felt represented their ideology. For the second meeting they were each given a t-shirt with their groups image on the front like a logo. Zmijewski does this to help maintain a barrier between the groups.

They are then invited to take turns in making changes (usually destructive) to opposing groups murals. It all gets rather tense. I feel it is a  sad but apt commentary of how conflict is caused by acknowledging difference only and not embracing similarities.

I thought this was a well conceived piece and it worked extremely well. I would have liked to have seen the follow up….did any of the groups become friend? I doubt it unfortunately. I feel I would not be comfortable creating such a tense space. I would not want to cause anger, hurt of further separation.

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