“Words work as release–well-oiled doors opening and closing between intention, gesture. A pulse in a neck, the shiftiness of the hands, an unconscious blink, the conversations you have with your eyes translate everything and nothing. What will be needed, what goes unfelt, unsaid-what has been duplicated, redacted here, redacted there, altered to hide or disguise—words encoding the bodies they cover. And despite everything the body remains.
Occasionally it is interesting to think about the outburst if you could just cry out—
To know what you’ll sound like is worth noting—” Claudia Rankine, Citizen, 2014
Alexandra Bell’s work bears a critical resemblance to Lubaina Himid’s Negative Positives series in that they both examine language as a tool for shaping perception. Bell created a series of public installations designed to specifically interrogate journalism’s proclivity to subtly shape narratives beyond the stories they report. In her Counternarratives series, the artist deploys the analytical skills of a copyeditor to annotate and redact newspaper articles in a process that uncovers bias contained within the stories.
Her wheatpaste murals are posted as a diptych, with the edited original article with visible redactions and comments in red on the left side and the final counternarrative on the right.
Bell’s work is a critical deep dive into the overt and covert hypocrisies resident within journalism and her work challenges viewers to analyze their own consumption of media more critically.