444 (police code for officer involved shooting)
CUAC is pleased to present an exhibition that explores the aesthetic language surrounding the very complicated issue of police shootings. In 444, Mitt2020 will present artifacts as well as found photography and video footage from the shootings as art objects. We hope that this exhibition will contribute to this very important public conversation. Our aim is to help identify the rhetorical visual semiotics of the conversation and understand how they function to support or critique various positions in the conversation surrounding this issue.
Our aim is to present artifacts that reflect actual items used in recent police-related homicides, including video footage released by police about those incidents in a way that doesn’t take an ideological position. We feel that presenting those artifacts is a mirror that will reflect what people feel about those events and be a point of departure for conversation about the issue.
As artists who are presenting this exhibition, we have done research about dozens of officer involved shootings in Utah over the past several years. That research has led us to the conclusion that in most cases, we believe the officers were justified in their actions, though there were several we still question. We think the opportunity to exhibit these artifacts in an art gallery context provides a great opportunity for community discussion around an issue that continues to exist in grey area and might need further clarity before there is a final (but needed) resolution.
Mitt2020 is an anonymous group of artists. This is the first public project we’ve undertaken. The anonymity is a convenient way for us to make projects and artworks that don’t affect our own individual practices or sales. Artists, at the end of the day, are brand managers and producers for small-scale retail operations and this gives us an opportunity to step outside that role to address aesthetic, cultural, conceptual, or political issues without affecting our individual brands.