Armed Citizen, 1998-2006

Questions of access are central to notions of the Internet as a new
space of freedom. The Chinese government is criticized when it blocks
certain websites, and the Internet is globally celebrated when activists
in the Middle East share their videos via social platforms like
Facebook. Most people will probably agree that accessing material
goods through online shopping is not only cheaper but easier than
going to the shopping mall. Armed Citizen is a series of images of one
hundred handguns that can be bought online like the millions of
other consumer goods the Internet has to offer. The images provide
no information about the guns, their type, price, or where they can be
bought. They simply present one gun after another as objects of desire
made available by the new economy of digitalized networked transactions.
The “armed citizens” that the title of the work refers to are,
regardless of why they buy the guns, the products of the commercial
logic embedded in contemporary access culture. The work furthermore
reflects a general loosening of the restrictions of gun control,
which most tragically has manifested itself in the many school shootings
in both Europe and the United States. The main argument for
more lenient gun laws is the need for personal protection, yet again
and again we are confronted with evidence that this object of security
primarily leads to an increase in violence and death.

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