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ungun artist statement

I began breaking stolen digital images of guns in late 2012, after fourteen people were killed in one weekend in Chicago, IL, where I was living. I found and stole images of guns online, glitch-sabotaging them. My only goal was to make the image invoke an imaginary gun that wouldn't work, if it were real.

When I showed people what I was doing, they told me to keep doing it. They told me stories about guns from their lives. I began making animated .gifs of the gun dissolving, disappearing. Make it go away. People kept telling me their gun stories.

I thought about the hunters I knew growing up. I thought about the Native American kid my family saw at the boat launch in Northern Wisconsin in the late 80's or maybe it was 1990. He had a shotgun in the bottom of his canoe. This was perfectly reasonable. That summer, adult Native Americans had been shot and killed by white men in the woods. I thought of the black kid I saw on the bus in Chicago tucking a gun into his red plastic backpack, casually handling this silvergrey metal object disproportionately large to his 3.5 foot frame. I had no framework to evaluate the reasonableness of him owning this thing. It was a thing of his world.

The torn and broken gun images were incredibly popular on my flickr account. I kept making them. 5,000+ glitched images later I built a 6.5 minute animated film, completed February of 2013. For the soundtrack I sampled audio from American movies in which guns have roles as important as human actors. In those movies, the sound of a gunshot is its speech -