my first rifle

video installation, mixed media
light box
5 monitors in 5 arrow-shaped sockets overlapping sound
5 video loops, Youtube Found Footage / 16:9, color, stereo
The Princely Armoury / Thuringian State Museum in Schwarzburg
2016
 

The installation my first rifle was commissioned by the Thuringian State Museum Schwarzburg and means to be an interface between the historic weapon collection of the Princely Armoury and the present age. my first rifle thematizes the weapon as object of desire in a contemporary context without fading the fact that the function of a weapon always remains that of an instrument of power that leads to significant social consequences.
The act of play is a universal human need, regardless of culture or upbringing. During social play children develop their physical, mental and interpersonal skills and they learn how to resolve conflict. Playing war, mimicking the hunter or heroic warrior is as old as play itself. A simple stick, coloured by the active imagination, becomes sword or gun in the hands of competing children.
But the relationship between childhood, games and violence finds another dimension with production of toys incorporating symbols of political propaganda and patriotism. “My First Rifle“ is the trademark for a line of weapons manufactured for children by the US gun manufacturer »Keystone Sporting Arms«. According to the manufacturer the weapons introduce children to the responsible handling of weapons.
The worldwide web offers a vast array of possibilities for armament purchase. It also facilitates the sharing of gun culture with others globally. Before the First World War, photographs of a German Prince dressed in military uniform, equipped with war toys, served as a role-model and call to arms. Today, homemade videos, shot on Smartphones, reach out through the internet to a potential audience of billions, offering new role-models to the next generation.

 

 © 2019 by Anna Baranowski

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