Domestic Violence In Art

Recently my mother & I decided to take a trip to cockatoo island where the organisers of the Biennale of Sydney had assembled a sizeable collection of interesting modern art. Cockatoo Island was the perfect setting for this purpose, indeed the old buildings, cranes, and other structures there possess a certain ambience & could be considered objects of art in themselves.

We wandered around aimlessly just soaking in the ambience for quite some time for until we happened to strike up a conversation with a middle aged man who was there with his two young sons who proceeded to direct us to one particular work that had impressed them. So for the first time that day, we were not lost and knew where we were going.

The piece in question was by Ignas Krunglevicius and was called ‘Interrogation’. We we entered a dark room and, in one corner, we were greeted by 2 screens lit up with projectors, featuring a transcript of the “Interrogation” of the title.

The interrogator’s questions were projected onto the left screen, while the answers of the suspect were projected onto the right. Synchronised with the text was music that gave a sense of suspense & building tension. It was gripping indeed.

The interview itself was based on the real 2004 police interview of Mary Kovic who allegedly shot her husband with his own shotgun. Regardless of anything else that the work may have been trying to say, this was, for me, the first time in my life that I’ve seen anything public about violence against men perpetrated by women that was not intended to be comedic in nature, a step forward in my opinion.

Since most people are completely unaware that somewhere between 1/3 & 1/2 of the victims of Domestic Violence are male, I certainly hope it’s not the last. People need to made aware that DV is not a 1-way street & that the current cultural narrative, that men are almost always the perpetrators & women the victims, is a false one. With any luck, some of the people viewing this artwork may come away with that message.

If you’d like to view “Interrogation” for yourself, an online version of it exists here .

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