This is an excerpt from No Man’s Land, a print magazine, podcast, and brainchild of The Wing, a network of work and community spaces designed for women, with stories rolling out exclusively on the Cut.
In response to shootings across the United States, and in sympathy with students’ demands for more gun control, artist Jenny Holzer wrote text that animates issues of the firearms industry and gun violence. Her hyperactive black-and-white writing flashed on mobile LED screens, with text popping in quick succession like free-association poetry, and sometimes in the awful rapid-fire of semi-automatic weapons. Words such as RED BLOOD and WHITES OF EYES contrast with tender evocations like SHIELD HIM / SHIELD HER / STAY WITH ME CHILD, and are woven with dark talk samples of a weaponized society GREAT AIM / GUN SHOW / BULLSEYE / DEAD EYE/ FISH IN BARREL, along with the reality, THE PRESIDENT BACKS AWAY.
Throughout March and April 2018, trucks launched in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Tallahassee, Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas, each truck displaying text on three LED screens mounted to the sides of the vehicle. The trucks delivered the anonymous content from early afternoon through late evening — staying in front of government buildings and city landmarks, stopping in public squares and parking lots, and weaving through rush hour traffic in the cities’ main arteries. The project aims to realize timely dispatches of trucks in key cities throughout the U.S. for students and respected gun-control organizations.