Conscience the Ultimate Weapon

Benedict J. Fernandez (American, b. 1936).
DISSENTERS [at United Nations Plaza], 1967.
Gelatin silver print.
George Eastman House collection.
 

In the 1960's America erupted into an expression of First Amendment rights. As the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement escalated, so did tensions across the country. Ultimately these tensions exploded in 1968 with the assassination of the country's most dynamic leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Documenting what he calls "an American's right to dissent," photographer Benedict J. Fernandez closely followed the Protest Movement throughout the 1960s. Juxtaposing images of the Poor People's March with those of Neo-Nazi's, and draft card burners with signs that read "Bomb Hanoi," Fernandez carefully portrays each side’s opposition to one another capturing the tumultuous spirit of the times.

In 1968, in response to the events and emotions of the decade, then curator Nathan Lyons mounted Conscience the Ultimate Weapon at George Eastman House. A departure from more traditional exhibitions, this audio-visual slide presentation combined Fernandez's photographs of protest with popular music, such as Bob Dylan's "The Times are A-Changin'," and recorded speeches of King and Kennedy. The result was a profound multi sensory experience.

In recognition of the 40th anniversary of this exhibition and the assassinations of King and Kennedy, George Eastman House revisits Conscience the Ultimate Weapon. Using modern digital technology, the original 8-track audio and slide transparencies have been converted to MP3 and DVD. Showing this historically important work in a contemporary social and political context serves as a reminder that history tends to repeat itself. As our country continues to grapple with civil liberties, foreign affairs, and human rights, the emotional and visual content of Conscience firmly grounds us in the conflicts of our times.

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Quick Facts
Booking8 or 12 weeks
Size1000 sq. ft.
ShippingVenue responsible for RT shipping
Rental Fee$3,000

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Olivia Arnone
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