The Residue of Arrogance
"The Residue of Arrogance"
Archival Pigment Print on 290gsm Fine Art Paper
14 x 24 Inches (36 x 61cm)
Edition of 50 (Sold Out) These are Artist proofs from my personal archive
This was originally released on September 11th, 2018
"It's September 11th 2018. Seventeen years have past since the events of September 11th 2001. Regardless of how you may feel about the victims of those events, or the men and women who risked their lives to rescue and aid those victims, it's hard to deny that those events have been used in vulgar ways to promote ideas and agendas that are counter to the basic tenets of our constitution. We're a country that's been at war for 17 years, through 3 presidents. We've accepted as a nation that we'll be at war for the unforeseeable future. To me that day marks a rather grim turning point in American history. A point from which we've yet to return. If the events of Sept 11th 2001 were a test of our convictions then we've failed miserably.
I chose to release this edition on Sept. 11th against some fairly good advice. Why? Because 911 initiated a new era of self censorship, a quasi-patriotism considered beyond reproach. That reluctance paved the road for the America we know today. Had I decided against releasing this edition today I would've simply been enabling that kind of unchecked power. “The Residue Of Arrogance” is a piece I made 18 months ago shortly after deciding I would rather live outside of this country. This piece reflects my growing discontent with my country and that current discontent is directly tied back to this day 17 years ago. I am writing this from China where I've been living. Yes China. A place often criticized for its human rights record by the people who brought you Abu Ghraib and The Guantanamo Bay detention camp. A place often criticized for its surveillance state by the people who brought the PRISM program. The same government that works with Google and Facebook and Cambridge analytica to collect share and sell the information of it's citizens. A government that creates propaganda, discredits actual journalism and manipulates the population with misinformation flooded through new and old media outlets. The United States has clandestinely become the very thing consistently criticizes. Our moral supremacy is a facade. The striking difference between the United States and China is that China does not call itself a democracy. Our 2 party system, in many regards, perpetuates the same agenda. It is, for all intents and purposes, a one party system. The excuse for this continued erosion of our basic tenets has been…911.
So here it is 2018 and this is America. For 17 years I have watched our Government use this day to place fear in it's citizens and then used that fear to accomplish all sorts of agendas. Increased military spending and intervention, increased surveillance, increased security, none of which has resulted in a safer more civil society at home. That fear has done what fear always does, it's divided people. It's made people more violent, less reasonable and more willing to accept circumstances and compromise their beliefs. That fear has created a dystopia of obesity, opiates, guns, suspicion, mistrust, aggressive anti-social behavior, xenophobia, and violence. We've gone backwards. That's what fear does, it makes people revert. We have used this idea, that we a constantly under attack ,to see exactly how far we can push our citizens. To see what they are willing accept and compromise in exchange for some false idea of protection. We have utilized this idea of a looming enemy against many different populations in the years that have followed.
So what does the word freedom look like in 2018? It's become an abstract idea, a synonym we use to describe ourselves, removed for it's actual meaning. Are we free? When the police charged with the task of protecting us routinely kill innocent unarmed citizens without consequence. Is that a free society? When it becomes necessary to carry signs that say “black lives matter” are we free? Is that truth not self evident? When the right to bear arms supersedes the rights of students to have a safe learning environment or the right to feel safe in a public place... Is that freedom? When families are broken up, children removed from their parents care and people are imprisoned because of where they are born does that seem “Free”? When our citizens are harassed detained and attacked based on their ethnicity, religion or culture are they free? If the cost of health care, education, and rent are outside of the reach of many people are we free to reach our full potential? When are emails are combed over, calls are monitored, hard drives hacked is that freedom? When a population is so desensitized that a school shooting, tent cities, drug addiction, obesity, neglected veterans become normal are we truly free or safe? When we've elected a sex offender to the highest office in the nation should women feel safe and free in our society?
Are we prosperous? We have everything we need to drastically reduce our dependence on oil, a key factor in this whole chain of events and our efforts are nothing more than symbolic. We are the wealthiest nation in the world and fail to provide a basic quality of life to many of our citizens. We don't suppress our journalist, we discredit them. We don't jail dissidents we simply ignore them. We don't ban protests we send in our police to fire tear gas and assault protestors. We don't enforce protection of privacy, we hire the perpetrators. We don't work for our citizens we use them as a resource.
Freedom, Liberty, and Equality have become terms we throw around to patronize our citizens, while we have conceded many of these principles as priorities. Our actions and our current consequences are evidence to that. If the goal of terrorism is to use fear to achieve some financial, political or ideological gain then that goal has been achieved repeatedly over the past 17 years by countless groups.
So, for the time being my most cherished freedom is my passport. My passport represents the American dream come full circle. My family came to this country generations ago in search of a better life and I have left this country for the same reasons." - Eddie Colla