Pinhole Pandemonium; Atlanta’s Detonation of Art and the Point We Are Missing

As many people have probably heard, a Georgia State student’s pinhole camera was detonated earlier this week.

Atlanta skipped the “curiosity killed the cat” phase and decided that the soda can–duct taped with a note of its purpose–was going to kill us, even though it wasn’t investigated thoroughly.

What irks me so much is that Atlanta, the U.S., and even other nations are so concerned about this pinhole camera, that never was, never was going to be, a threat to Atlanta; whereas there are other news stories that are far more important that need to be discussed, but since this has been blown far out of proportion, now it’s been forced into discussion.

It terrifies me that the general sense of paranoia goes so far as to suspect a bomb, and resolve to detonate it without trusting multiple sources that said it was a camera. And then after the fact and after the university confirmed it as being a camera, they still required all of the other pinholes from the assignment to be taken down, and are now within custody of the police with no expectations of return.

Those students were making art and the city has denied them the privilege to use public space to create beautiful images.

The news is wondering who’s to blame. The readers of the news are wondering who’s to blame. That doesn’t matter. What matters is why did we respond to art in such a dramatic way? What will people outside of the art world think of art when it now has a history of being a potential bomb threat? What will become of those artists who suffer from a loss of support from those who are ignorant?

A fear of ignorance is why I read everything. Ignorance blows up pinhole cameras; they didn’t know, they blew it up.

Read. Everything. If we stop to absorb in information, we can save time, money, and art.

“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.”

-Edward Steichen

May we let this unborn pinhole photograph reveal to us the gamut of the feelings of the art world, the beauty of what could have been a brilliant image, and the wealth wasted, the absurd confusion. Let this photograph show us what man is right now. Let us learn from this; let’s put our fingers down onto lines from a novel, not onto people.


2 thoughts on “Pinhole Pandemonium; Atlanta’s Detonation of Art and the Point We Are Missing

  1. Reminds me of the politically generated anxiety that the Harper government is feeding Canadians and the Canadian news media. For such a political outlook, art’s only value is either to generate wealth for large companies ( either directly as a product/service or as marketing) or to feed propaganda ( political agenda).

    Perhaps, the students should choose as their subject/theme anxiety and political messaging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think anxiety and politics are on their mind now that they got such a dramatic response to their project. What’s even more frustrating for them is that the professor has assigned the pinhole project for many semesters and no one fussed about it before. Hopefully, people take it to heart that art is more than just marketing and propaganda.


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