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Media Punishment: At Intersection For The Arts

By Charyn Pfeuffer

Victor Cartagena's exhibition Media Punishment is the artist's reaction to the ongoing national debate about capital punishment and the recent media frenzy on the issue via the trial and execution of Timothy McVeigh.

The exhibition is the result of an exhaustive 18-month exploration of American media coverage of capital punishment. Cartagena has archived, researched, gathered, clipped, recorded, and stored any story produced through print or broadcast media on capital punishment. What started out as a daily search through local newspapers for relevant articles, became an obsessive quest. Cartagena subscribed to numerous magazines, listened to countless hours of radio talk shows, and watched hundreds of hours of television news programs. Cartagena is interested in uncovering how people form their opinions in relation to one of the most morally and politically complex modern-day issues. No matter what your stance on capital punishment is, chances are that you receive most of your information via media sources. According to Cartagena, where we seek out information and how we process found information is as critical as the actual context of the information.

Media Punishment Cartagena's exhibit utilizes sculpture, video, audio collage, and mixed media to brilliantly demonstrate how media-saturated our culture has become. This exhibition queries where the "truth" can be found amongst the incessant barrage of recycled news stories. Highlights of the installation include 7-foot talking stacks of newspapers, wall-sized collages, condensed loops of television news broadcasts, and talking mannequins. The exhibit is a concentrated experience, with visuals, messages and sensory stimuli everywhere you look-similar to what we absorb on a daily basis.

Media Punishment, an installation by Victor Cartagena will be on display at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia Street (between 15th & 16th) through October 20. Phone: 415.626.2787

A parallel exhibition of Cartagena's mixed media works will be on view at Ampersand International Arts, 1001 Tennessee Street (between 20th & 22nd) through October 7. Phone: 415.285.0170