Where there is power, there is resistance


Antonia Wright in collaboration with Ruben Millares, Where there is power, there is resistance, 2021, Steel barricade and fluorescent lights, 80″ x 43″ x 28″

Where there is power, there is resistance is part of a series of works in which Ruben Millares and Antonia Wright explore the sculptural and symbolic potential of standard steel barricades. Though more often associated with crowd control at celebratory events like parades and concerts, these generic objects have recently come to bear heightened connotations related to mass protest and state power. Since last summer, authorities throughout the world from Hong Kong to Chile have deployed them extensively to contain and control protestors, including the large crowds that turned out in defense of Black lives in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Barricades also played an infamous role on January 6, 2021, buckling under the weight of the angry mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in a failed attempt to block the ratification of the presidential elections. By replacing a barricade’s vertical bars with fluorescent lights, the artists neutralize its function, making it easy to shatter. Moreover, barricades rely to a significant extent on their own innocuousness, directing the passage of bodies through urban space in an almost subliminal manner. By transforming the object into a thing of conspicuous beauty, the artists abrogate these insidious psychological operations.