Josh Klines installation at the Portland Art Museum is divided into four rooms, although the sounds and light sometimes overflow the physical boundaries.
One room has groups of nine 3D-printed or cast donuts attached to the walls. Some have logos on them (NYPD) or police mottos, such as Respect. Some are made of razor blades, broken glass or bullets; some are just different shades of brown and look quite tasty. The old visual pun here, that cops eat donuts, can be ignored if you think of the donuts as a metaphor for how we ingest news and information as merely empty nuggets.
All the while you can hear the sobbing and keening of actors on the video in the next room. They portray W, Cheney, Condi, Rummy and Tony (Blair) all apparently wracked with remorse and complaining about all those people, presumably people dying in their Iraq War. Or maybe not. They have prison jumpsuits on, if you believe in justice.
Another corridor shows a video of a flying eagle that resembles a Stephen Colbert news graphic. The biggest room has mannequins of riot cops with Teletubby faces and TV tummies, on which off-duty cops read out 2012-era tweets, some banal, some not. A large screen shows a remix of Obamas 2008 inaugural speech reimagined as a Bernie Sandersesque diatribe.
Wishful thinking or not, the show ruffles the silky hair of recent history and leaves one wondering not just about surveillance and incarceration, but how complicit we are in our own numbing down of political will.