Friday, 11 March 2011

Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out

Award-winning photographer Edmund Clark gave a lecture on his project 'Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out' at Goldsmiths as part of my Art-War-Terror course. The talk was amazing as was his work, (right up my street!) His photographs didn't dehumanize or demonise, rather they sought to bring back such events into our frame of reference. The artist himself was very down to earth and engaging. And nice enough to take a look and comment on my own work.

The Project:
‘When you are suspended by a rope you can recover but every time I see a rope I remember. If the light goes out unexpectedly in a room, I am back in my cell.’
Binyam Mohamed, Prisoner #1458

This is a study of home, of a very particular idea of home at a very particular time in our history, and the lives of people whose paths crossed on 45 square miles of Cuba, cut off from the rest of the world by razor wire and water.

Rather than an attempt to monumentalize the historical fact of the Guantanamo camps, these images illustrate three ideas of home: The naval base at Guantanamo which is home to the American community and of which the prison camps are just a part; the complex of camps where the detainees have been held, and the homes, new and old, where the former detainees now find themselves trying to rebuild their lives.

The narrative of these images aims to evoke the process of disorientation and dislocation central to the techniques of incarceration at Guantanamo, and to explore the legacy of disturbance such experiences have in the minds and memories of these men. The viewer is asked to jump from prison camp detail to domestic still life, from life outside to the naval base and back again. From light to dark.

For more info check out the website: