Upon opening the doors to the exhibition, the viewer is instantly captivated by the silence of the room, contrasted against the phantasmagoric art and its dramatic effect. Signals in the Dark is an eye-opening exhibition in the heart of Concordia’s downtown campus.
It is a controversial showcase that explores the connection between war and politics. Each artist aims to demonstrate the contemporary phenomena of global war by employing overtones of horror, comedy and mockery. One such example is a film in which animated depictions of Adolf Hitler are meant to offer comic relief.
Serbian artist Sonja Savic’s visual production piece, Play, illustrates the underground culture behind the World War II regime, offering a disturbing, yet comical, approach to Nazism and genocide.
In another display, war is embodied by a young man sitting in a chair as he records the sounds of violence that he heard as a young boy. The sounds of artillery, missiles and bombs bring chills as they lay bare the horrific realities of mass destruction, famine and chaos.
Sections of the exhibition demonstrate how the type of quantitative research used by the military uses quantitative research. One section in particular deals with the management, development and profiteering the University of California does concerning weapons of mass destruction.
Other portions of the exhibit display young soldiers sharing their experiences of war. “It’s not everyday that something happens, sometimes you’re just there,” says a soldier of his experience in Iraq.
Other works express vulgar interpretations of sexual experiences in war, simultaneously showcasing photography and cinematography throughout history.
The art on display at Signals in the Dark not only depicts global wars, but also the struggle of the millions of faceless individuals who live in a constant state of conflict. The exhibition has a symbolic title that evokes the sorrows of war and the hidden human perspective living in its shadows.
The artistic interpretations of violence are those that many of us can learn from. Signals in the Dark contains powerful visual representations that are potent enough to change preconceived notions on war. Through conspiracies and personal struggles, the artwork challenges our views of violence and conflict by showing us the less presented truth hidden behind the media machine. It offers an obscure but influential voice on global war and the controversies that surround existing hierarchies of power.
Signals in the Dark: Art in the Shadow of War runs at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery (1400 Blvd. de Maisonneuve W) until Oct. 11. Admission is free.