Gatling (America) takes a deeper look at the critical issue of gun ownership from an alternative perspective, using portraiture, audio recordings and the writing of gun owners. It examines the gun as an object and as a practice in our country, not just as it relates to violence, but in reference to the deeper nuances of what compels an individual to have a gun in the first place. I want to raise the questions: What is our obsession with this object and the action of this object? Furthermore how do we resolve our relationship to this object that is so intertwined within our cultural identity? I am also interested in exploring the role of guns in popular culture. As we know the only way to influence people’s behavior is to understand their motivations.
Guns and other weapons exist as symbols of identity and icons of civilization. At one point in history it was very common for people to pose with their gun amongst their other possessions, when having their portrait made. Interestingly, there are ten firearms dealers in the U.S. to every one McDonald's restaurant.
Too often the image of a gun owner sways between the extremes of the romanticized action hero and the evil criminal. Rarely is there a depiction of an ordinary citizen devoid of sensationalism, even when you consider TV shows like "Sons of Guns". Nor is their story told within the context of daily life with their voice given priority in defining them. Ultimately this work examines how we draw the line between recreational violence and deplorable violence. One person's Bernie Getz or George Zimmerman is the next person's Billy the Kid or Nat Turner.