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Pink Discretionary Command

Pink Discretionary Command (2017) is a series of paintings by Navine G. Khan-Dossos.

The paintings Pink Discretionary Command (2017) are part of Navine G. Khan-Dossos' project Shoot the Women First!

Shoot the Women First was reputedly the direction given in the 1980s to members of West Germany’s elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist squad. It subsequently became standard advice offered by Interpol to other European agencies in the wake of the Baader-Meinhof, Red Brigade, IRA and other paramilitary attacks carried out by groups including female terrorists.

The paintings reflect on the role of women regarded by society as both perpetrators and victims of violence, questioning what it means to be both a menace and a target. The violence represented is not merely physical, but embodies a wider threat to society by those who exist on the periphery of mainstream politics and culture.

The works draw on a heterogenous range of historical, ongoing and future scenarios. Within a` Greek context, they were shaped by the 2012 arrests of suspected sex workers in Athens, the forced HIV testing of these women, and the imprisonment of those suspected of intentionally transmitting the virus. The release of the suspects’ personal information by the police to the media led to further stigmatisation and terrorising of female sex workers. The ongoing imprisonment of Irianna under Greece’s questionable counter-terrorism law, albeit the evidence being in dispute is also an important point of reference. The unchecked use of guns against civilians by the police in the US has been another major influence, as have the recent social media campaigns drawing attention to the widespread and normalised sexual harassment of women on a global scale. In each scenario, forms of terrorism and bioterrorism mingle, and viruses and virality emerge as weapons.

The paintings reference several symbolic systems and languages, from the distinct shade of pink which demarcates the brothels of central Athens, to the brightly coloured shapes of ‘discretionary command’ training targets that abstract and standardize the human body as a series of points to be shot. ‘Discretionary command’ training requires the shooter to listen to commands and shoot the shapes and colours in a given order. This system complicates responsibility for the act of shooting: the person giving orders, or the person holding the gun. The paintings dramatise the impulse to standardize and control bodies that frighten or threaten the state, by abstracting and processing them as diagrams and targets.

More: www.khandossos.com/works/shoot-the-women-first/pink-discretionary-command/

Photo: (at V2), Fenna de Jong

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