Louie Palu & the New America Foundation, 2012
32 pp., 16 black & white illustrations, 11½ x 15”
Using photographs taken by Louie Palu relating to the Mexican drug war, this project challenges the reader to take apart this newspaper to see the full photographs and view the content. The goal is to force the reader to dismantle the vehicle used to deliver news and facts and thereby empower the reader to begin to think more critically. There are 16 photos in total, eight that do not relate to violence and eight that focus on violence or the drug business.. Each photograph is printed on a single sheet of newsprint, so if you take the newspaper apart each sheet of paper will have only one photograph on each side. Only eight pictures can be viewed at one time. No photo can be entirely seen unless the reader opens and takes the newspaper apart.
Once the newspaper comes apart it can be put back together in any order the reader wishes. The page spreads can also be hung as an exhibition. With violent images on one side and non-violent images on the other, the reader must become editor, curator or even censor, choosing how many violent photos are seen vs. how many non-violent photographs are seen. This forces the reader to face up to the fact that all delivery of news involves choices, of what to show and tell and what not to show and tell. It also forces the reader to face up to the system of institutions that serves as the gatekeepers in journalism and the visual arts. The questions are obvious. Is the editor censoring? Is the edit a true depiction of the news and the issue? Are violent images being used effectively to tell a story, or to sensationalize the story? The actual newspaper as an object forces the reader to engage in a multidimensional exercise in journalism, art, and the politics of representation and message manipulation.