The ubiquitous sounds of protest filled the intimate, transparently constructed exhibition space: people yell, groups chant, impatient drivers honk their horns, police blow their high-pitched whistles. These are the familiar noises that greet you when you enter YoungArts' Basel exhibition, "Zero Tolerance." Curated by MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach, the title references the infamously ugly police policy adopted by New York City in the 1990s.
Zero tolerance was meant to drastically reduce crime, but the human toll was immediately evident: thousands were incarcerated for minor drug offenses and the policy targeted the city's most vulnerable citizens. The phrase itself -- "zero tolerance," rife as it is with authoritarian overtones -- is now common enough in schools and the workplace, a kind of seepage of tyrannical abuse into the domestic sphere.