Pleasure in poverty
Renzo Martens ran into photojournalists in Congo who told him their publications paid well for imagery showing how bad things were there - malnourished children, refugee camps, evidence of violence, etc. Martens relayed this to a group of men who had previously made $1 a month photographing weddings and parties. Maybe they could make more if they photographed violence and poverty? There are lots of problems with this scheme - the men point out that they don't have market access, for one. The video, playing in a gallery at the Box - which also includes Marten's neon "Enjoy Poverty Please" sign and three photos the men he trained took of starving children - can and should be cringe-inducing. But it's not really Martens who's offensive. It's the whole situation, and the artist treats his subjects with genuine interest and respect, even as he comes up with impossible schemes for them to profit from poverty. 805 Traction Ave., dwntwn.; through March 1. (213) 625-1747, theboxla.com.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Jan. 25. Continues through March 1, 2014 (Expired: 03/01/14)
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