"Domination, Hegemony, and the Panopticon"
              Dina Ibrahim
              “Domination, Hegemony, and the Panopticon” is the fourth installment of “The State,” a series of exhibitions at Traffic, curated by the gallery-library-design studio’s founder Rami Farook. “The State” also includes a socio-historical journal and forum, a platform for dialogue and exchange about the state of the world today. The current exhibition, with works from nearly fifty artists, focuses on mechanisms of power as explored in the writings of Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault. With a plethora of both international and Middle Eastern artists such as Jenny Holzer, Huda Lutfi, and Gilbert & George, the viewer is immediately made aware of a multitude of power struggles upon entering the space. The works are hung salon style, and that’s not the first challenge of contemporary art norms: there are no labels. Nothing indicates the artists’ names, nor the materials employed—thus key information used to link the works to a larger context of art history are denied us. This strong gesture of anonymity shifts any projection of knowledge (thus dominance, according to Foucault) from the works themselves to the viewer, who finds himself placed in the center of a Panopticon. Surrounded by the artworks like anonymous cell inmates, the viewer stands in the center …

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