The Violation of Thémis

This multi-channel video is one element of the installation Damage is Done (The Violation of Thémis). Unflinchingly, Daniel Dallabrida explores the impact of relentless multiple loss and the futile, exhausting effort to recover without the solace of community. He offers neither resolution nor relief.

Presented within its installation The Violation of Thémis adds to a multi-media environment where the viewer is subjected to the dread, solitude and hopelessness of multiple loss. Within a black box, the viewer is confronted with the video as well as surrounded by thousands of the ceramic covered bundles of sticks (faggots) arranged on the walls in a systematic order. Each faggot suggesting a body or a life that is yet to be damaged.
During times of war or plague, the terror of insistent, unpredictable death lives among us. There is no pause for recovery; only the effort to clean up the mess. We come to anticipate loss upon loss. Hope is hidden away so it will not die. The unreleased rage, disenfranchised grief, and unsorted identity of post-crisis existence reverberates across generations.

To encounter such a deluge of death, evil, and horror makes one forever different. To become aware that the custodians of order are flawed and negligent, if not malevolent, disrupts our sense of stability. The loss of an assumptive world contributes to an identity disruption, which correspondingly impacts how/if individuals reestablish a meaningful life. This violation of thémis, of “what’s right,” triggers a physical and psychological reaction trapping the injured in a futureless time warp. Our present is hell. We cannot get back to where we once belonged.

The Violation of Thémis as video and installation are elements of Dallabrida’s ambitious Damage is Done / Danno é fatto cycle. With these works the artist addresses the wreckage inflicted on the gay community by the Crisis Years of the HIV/AID epidemic. With its multiple elements Damage is Done / Danno é fatto lives simultaneously as community engagement, process, performance, installation, and artifact. The full cycle positions the audience/participant in a cloverleaf of order and chaos; rage and control; past and present, damage and communal recovery. Dallabrida offers an interactive healing meditation on the cycle of community demolition, trauma, and reconstruction.