Daniel Shular: Camp Pain, 2016
on display January 3 – 28
Opening Reception during First Fridays on January 6

Daniel Shular: Camp Pain, 2016

Camp Pain, how else to describe this most recent election cycle? In 2016, the hurt moved in early and stayed for the long haul. Registered across real and virtual life in America, Camp Pain featured very little of the coming together behind a candidate that we are used to, while simultaneously promoting divisiveness, scandal and generally offensive rhetoric. This curator’s statement is being written just days before the national election, so I guess it is possible that Camp Pain lives on as you read this- perhaps it is even probable that it does.

On the surface, the major 2016 Presidential Campaign issues are government spending and the economy, foreign relations (ie. terrorism and immigration), citizen healthcare and criminal justice, but didn’t it often seem like these key issues were just thinly veiled memes for greed, prejudice, corruption or other social evils? It appears that no matter who wins, the political apparatus has suffered. Whether or not this is a good or a bad outcome is a question to ask yourself.

This is the first post-Ferguson election, and though much work remains to combat racial inequality, it would seem that considerable progress has been made in raising awareness for persisting civil rights issues, and that those who have awakened are willing to take their message to the streets and hold their politicians accountable. Of course, this just means that those who perpetuate the “old ways” are equally willing to espouse and deliver their views, and are suddenly unabashed at expressing them as loudly and publicly as possible. Because of this, the major fight for President this year was largely not from behind the podium as usual, but from outside the stadium, on the streets, amid clashing protestation chants and political signage.

On the streets is where we find independent photojournalist, Daniel Shular’s camera pointed during this election year. Beginning in April, Shular followed campaign events for all of the major candidates: starting with their rallies in Southern California and the Midwest, then on to the National Conventions for Republicans and Democrats in Cleveland and Philadelphia, respectively, and the Presidential Debate held at Washington University. To gather all of this content, Mr. Shular (who has been published by NBC News, Daily Mail, Fox News, Al Jazeera, and others) crashed on friends’ couches, stayed in some questionable hotels, and even slept in his car, all while staving off the flu, gathering security clearances, overcoming financial struggles, and observing colleagues injured during some especially aggressive confrontations between protesters.

-Curator, Jason Gray