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CHOREOGRAPHY OF VIOLENCE (2015–2020)

Choreography of Violence is a photographic project that visually reinterprets historical press photographs which depict actual acts of violence, consisting of new works and appropriated photographs.

For the last twenty years, Harri Pälviranta has been highly interested in the images of violence. He has occasionally purchased historical news photographs depicting actual acts of violence. This collection of odd and haunting press photographs now consists of some 120 pictures. They depict incidents such as racist assaults from the 1950s, a man shot in his stomach in front of a super- market from the 1970s, a boy beaten up by the police from the 1940s and a clash between students and the police in a demonstration from the 1960s.

The collection appears as a starting point for Choreography of Violence showing a visual narrative of how actual violence was depicted in mainstream news media in the B&W press image era. Although Pälviranta’s collection is neither comprehensive nor scientifically solid archive, it still reveals certain recurring features. Pälviranta has analysed the photos – paying special attention to how the victim is portrayed and how his body reacts to the use of force – and based on this analysis, created new works. Thus, the collection functions as a reference and a material. Pälviranta conserves, cuts, rephotographs and reinterprets the photos from the collection.

This manifold approach aims to visualize recurrent practices in depicting actual acts of violence. Modes of historical press photos may also mark the contemporary way of visualising violence. The project is research-based from its starting point and thus the ‘research material’ and the ‘results’ could be treated and presented in a very literal manner. However, instead of scientifically analysing the collection and writing an article about the conclusions, Pälviranta’s final statement will be visual. This follows his belief that pictures are able to tell important stories and facts about our society with a very different grammar to texts: pictorial presentations open up alternative ways to ‘conceptualize’ and ‘see’ the world. Whereas written research reports have a tendency to try to rhetorically convince the reader, pictures articulate not only facts but also emotions, carnality, oddities, passions and uncertainty. Pictures appear more contradictory, cruel, intrusive and shocking than texts. They touch differently. In this manner, they may provoke more verisimilitude than conventional research reports.





Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, Latvia 8.10.–8.11.2020




Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, Latvia 8.10.–8.11.2020



Bendix, US 1945
Press photograph, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm


Birmingham, Alabama, US 1962
Press photograph, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm


Buenoa Aires, Argentina 1959
Press photograph, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm


Paris, France 1969
Press photograph, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm


Paterson, New Jersey, US 1964
Press photograph, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm


New York, US 1948
Archival ink print, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm
2020



New York, US 1966
Archival ink print, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm
2020



Alliquippa, Pennsylvania, US 1937
Archival ink print, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm
2020



Flint, MIchigan, US 1939
Archival ink print, framed with museum glass
40,7 x 35,7 cm
2020


Victim # 08
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Victim # 05
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Victim # 01
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Victim # 11
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Victim # 21
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Victim # 12
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Victim # 07
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium
32,2 x32,2 cm
2020



Choreography # 7
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium, framed with museum glass
43,8 x53,8 cm
2020



Choreography # 4
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium, framed with museum glass
43,8 x53,8 cm
2020



Choreography # 6
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium, framed with museum glass
43,8 x53,8 cm
2020



Choreography # 3
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium, framed with museum glass
43,8 x53,8 cm
2020



Choreography # 12
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium, framed with museum glass
43,8 x53,8 cm
2020



Choreography # 11
Archival ink print, mounted on composite aluminium, framed with museum glass
43,8 x53,8 cm
2020



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