CONFINED THE CAPTIVE AND KEEPER IN CONTEMPORARY LIFE
CONFINED THE CAPTIVE AND KEEPER IN CONTEMPORARY LIFE
JUERGEN CHILL EDMUND CLARK JOHN DARWELL DORNITH DOHERTY BEN GRAVILLE DAVID MAISEL DAVID MOORE 13 MAY – 10 JULY 2011
FOREWORD BY PETE BROOK Today, the image is its own battlefield. Photographs are manufactured, disseminated, manipulated and replaced ad infinitum. There used to be ideals and hopes for ‘the power of photography’. Now it may be more apt to talk about ‘the strategic use of photography.’ Authoritarian governments, street protestors, corporate propagandists and grassroots activists all leverage images for ideological gain. Information wars are waged all around us and the image is central to any arsenal. “Terrorism is a war of images,” says W.J.T. Mitchell, Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, “and it can only be ended by a counter attack at the level of images.” One need only look to Guantanamo and to the untraceable prisons used by allied forces in the global war on terror. On the one hand we have military-censored press junkets and official military photographers, on the other we have the knowledge and testimonies of abuse from extrajudicial prisons but no geographic coordinates, let alone visual record.
The image has become both control and resistance. In the 21st century, even when photography does not depict an overtly political subject, it is a political act. The seven photographers in Confined would seem to be aware of the stakes. They’ve made decisions of where to point their lenses and committed to travel long distances for not only the shot, but also the political issue at hand. They show us things to which we would otherwise never bear witness. As viewers, we must ask how we will respond to the privilege. Often it is upon societies’ most hidden facts that most consequences hinge. The segregation of organisms (human and non-human) is always wrapped in legalese, itself wrapped in the doctrine of a sitting authority. Such is the life-changing impact of confinement that it should be used sparingly and gravely. It should be used with moral and intellectual integrity consistent with the stated ideals of a society.
No matter the stated purpose of confinement, its structures must always remain open to repeated assessment. Photography has a key part to play in informing the public of the disciplinary manoeuvers carried out in their name. Boxes, cages and walls will divide, but they should never obscure or obliterate the viability of people. What should we make of this group of seven photographers? Their work presents videolinked cells for perpetrators of chemical attack; the mechanics of large-scale animal control; the incinerated remains of mentally-ill persons erased from history; storage facilities as contingencies against global starvation or nuclear holocaust; the pressurized, hypercolour order of TV-fed incarcerated space; confrontational custody-van portraits by the baying media; the physical reality and psychological memory of a super-max prison impervious to international law.
The subjects in Confined stack up like the elements of an apocalyptic sci-fi horror movie. Alas, this is our current reality set against a backdrop of extreme tensions. For now most tensions are contained, in time they may dissipate or they may detonate; either way it will probably have less to do with the strength of the confining structure and more to do with the will of global society toward transparency and common good. PETE BROOK is a freelance writer and photography researcher. His blog, Prison Photography (prisonphotography.wordpress.com), concerns itself with civil liberties, ethics and social justice as they relate to photography and photojournalism. He is also the leadblogger at Raw File, Wired.comâ€™s photography blog. Originally from Lancashire, Pete now lives in Seattle, USA.
At the time of going to press the whereabouts of Ai Weiwei, Chinaâ€™s best known living artist, remain unknown. He was detained at Beijing Airport on April 3rd and has not been heard from or seen since. Ai now is one of a growing number of critics of the Communist regime who has been incarcerated in Chinese jails in recent months. His situation is not uncommon and it brings into focus the disturbing fact that many people are detained, imprisoned or confined for all kinds of reasons and in various circumstances around the world on a daily basis.
Unlike Ai, the fate of the majority of these people will never make headlines or come to the attention of the mainstream global media and wider audiences. That is unless someone â€“ it could be a human rights activist, a journalist, a photographer or a politician â€“ speaks out or disseminates evidence to draw attention to injustice. It is these seldom heard voices that are often the most captivating; quotidian utterances that illuminate the experience of confinement.
So on the occasion of Look 11, Liverpool’s inaugural international photography festival, it is timely that the Bluecoat’s contribution is an exhibition on the theme of confinement in contemporary life. In response to the festival’s theme - - photography as a call to action - the artists selected for Confined engage with a range of subjects that negotiate control and containment. They consider the experiences of captive and keeper in circumstances of imprisonment and detention, the ethical treatment of animals, ecological conservation and the history of psychiatric care. At the core of their efforts is a humane examination of how we treat each other and our living environment.
Confined features the work of some of the most celebrated international and national photographers working today, and includes several new bodies of work as well as photographs that have never been shown before in the UK. In support of the idea that photography has a strategic use, as Pete Brook suggests in his foreword, the exhibition is organised around a series of pairings and juxtapositions based on style, scale and subject. This has the potential to create additional meaning in the photographs and provide a richer contextual experience for audiences. The photographs in Confined share unique stories and reveal places never usually seen. Their strength opens the doors to compassion and, hopefully, action.
SARA-JAYNE PARSONS Exhibitions Curator at the Bluecoat April 2011
JUERGEN CHILL Prison life has been explored as a serious documentary subject by photographers for decades. One of the most renowned bodies of work in this area is Danny Lyon’s book Conversations with the Dead, a series of black and white photographs depicting various aspects of life in Texas State Prisons in the late 1960s. The series includes shots of the infamous maximum security facility Ellis Unit, which at the time housed death row. More recently Carl de Keyzer’s startling colour photographs of Siberian prison camps (2002 – 03), which house over a million prisoners, have revealed shocking details of contemporary incarceration.
Within this context, it is perhaps clear to see why Zellen (2007), Juergen Chill’s colour photographs of German prisons cells, has received such critical attention.1 Chill’s unique approach results in a central overhead view of the cells, a perspective that he describes as being akin to a Google Earth view. Initially viewers might be forgiven for thinking they are looking down into a room in a budget hostel or college dormitory. But then, with slow fascination, it becomes apparent that the institutional spaces are personalised for a particular type of daily living beyond a backpacking trip or academic term.
The prison cell itself as a subject has, however, received little scrutiny. Often the notoriety or prominence of the inhabitant of the cell is the reason for its focus when pictured; take for example popularly published photographs of Al Capone’s cell at Alcatraz or Nelson Mandela’s on Robben Island, South Africa. Donovan Wylie’s photographs of the Maze prison in Northern Ireland perhaps offer the most vigorous consideration of the individual space of the cell. In their anonymous stark uniformity and grey-white emptiness, they infer an oppressive relationship between architecture and psychology.
Chill’s photographs show, in extreme detail, a place most of us will never see. As voyeurism is overtaken by practical curiosity, we start to imagine how a prisoner lives in the space; what it must be like to live day after day in a room where you sleep, eat, read or watch TV and go to the toilet. In broad terms the images are pragmatic documents of prison life revealing how prisoners arrange their belongings and furniture in a space roughly 8m². Form and function suggests a collective institutional order and demand for tidiness; the maxim “a place for everything, and everything in its place” appears firmly applied, right down to the very particular placing of a toothbrush.
Zelle 06, 2007
Zelle 01 (detail), 2007
Zelle 01, 2007
Chillâ€™s process for photographing the cells was similarly rigorous. He began by talking to the prisoners to get to know them a little and explain his project. Then, and only with their permission, he took a series of overhead photographs of their cell using a single-lens reflex camera mounted to a boom. On returning to his studio, Chill then digitally collaged multiple images of the same cell in a seamless fashion to create a single view. From an aesthetic perspective the final photograph is a beautiful formal study in composition. Indeed, the orthogonal relationships in line, shape and colour are reminiscent of strategies employed in abstract painting or photography.
As representations of prison life, the photographs function as a combination of still-life and portrait. They are an examination of identity and the personal through material objects, revealing intimate details about the people that live in the cells. Collectively the photographs show how uniform spaces are made individual. In this way Chill could be regarded as presenting an alternative to the archetypical view of prison as a dehumanized institution. Even so, that the photographs depict cells devoid of their inhabitants should remind us of the largely anonymous life prisoners lead. As a metaphor of the panopticon, Chillâ€™s photographs certainly raise critical questions about the relationship between identity, privacy and control in contemporary prison life. 1
In 2007 Chill received the prestigious European Architectural Photography prize for Zellen. 9
Zelle 04, 2007
Zelle 09, 2007
EDMUND CLARK Located in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay is the site of an American detention centre that was established by the Bush Administration in 2002. It was devised to house detainees arrested during the war in Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11, 2001; they were claimed to be 9/11 plot leaders, senior AlQaeda operatives and Taliban members. Many had fallen prey to a US military policy of paying a bounty for anyone the Pakistani secret service, border guards or village leaders on both sides of the blurred AfghanistanPakistan border considered a possible or potential “suspect.” The detainees effectively became currency in President Bush’s “War on Terror.” Guantanamo was chosen because it was believed to be beyond the reach of American legal jurisdiction. It was a place where it was thought new military processes could be set for the incarceration, interrogation and prosecution of “enemy combatants”: where conventions about the treatment of prisoners of war did not apply. Intelligence officers and military personnel used a variety of methods to extract information from detainees. In 2010 now former President George Bush acknowledged waterboarding was exercised at Guantanamo. Recognised as a form of torture, the procedure involves water being poured over the face of a restrained captive resulting in the sensation of drowning.
Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Reprieve and Amnesty International have repeatedly called for the detention centre to be closed. But after more than two years in office, President Barack Obama has yet to deliver his campaign promise to close the facility. To date, 172 detainees remain at Guantanamo. In this context Edmund Clark’s series of colour photographs Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out (2009 –10) presents a unique view of an internationally contested and controversial place. Focused on three very different experiences of “home” in the environment of political imprisonment, Clark’s photographs record the naval base at Guantanamo which is home to the American military community; the complex of prison camps on the base; and the homes, old and new, of the former detainees who are now trying to rebuild their lives. Breaking with traditions of narrative in documentary focus, Clark’s tripartite consideration of “home”creates a juxtaposition of experiences that weave together to form a compelling landscape. The institutional and the personal are portrayed through examination of different living spaces and private possessions such as letters and other documents. The absence of the detainees and military personnel from these images forces the viewer to envision the life of the captive and the keeper. Seen together, Clark’s photographs suggest a confusion and disorientation that many detainees must encounter, a state which military personnel were encouraged to create.
Camp One, isolation unit, 2009
Camp 6, mobile force feeding chair, 2009
Hunger strikes by detainees in protest at their living conditions have been a regular occurrence at Guantanamo. Clarkâ€™s photograph of a mobile force feeding chair is unsettling, but when presented alongside an image of a small plate of fruit in the home of a released detainee, even more so. One can only surmise the difficulties that some detainees must face when returning to normal life after imprisonment. The simplest daily action of holding a knife and choosing what to eat may become a profound experience. Similarly, Clarkâ€™s juxtaposition of an acid-green isolation unit against the comfortable living quarters of military personnel raises questions about the effects of solitary confinement,
control and a duty of care. Sensory disorientation has been a feature of detention at Guantanamo with detainees being exposed to extremes of temperature, light and noise. Clarkâ€™s work alludes to the complicated associations of light and dark at Guantanamo. In this regard it seems apt that he uses a quote by Binyam Mohamed as a subtitle for his series. Mohamed is a British resident who was released from Guantanamo after four years of detention. He said: 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.
JOHN DARWELL For over 20 years John Darwell has pursued an interest in social and industrial change, a concern for the environment, and latterly, issues surrounding the depiction of mental health. Along the way several of his projects have involved a particular engagement with animals. Sometimes the motivation has come from horrific events. Darwell’s Dark Days series documented the devastating effects of the Foot and Mouth epidemic that swept through Cumbria in 2001, including working portraits of farmers in the midst of catastrophe and haunting scenes of burning pyres of millions of farm animals. At other times Darwell’s animal observations are more humorous and everyday as highlighted by his recent portrait series of discarded dogpoo bags. While taking a daily walk with his own dogs Darwell noticed, with increasing fascination, the growing number of discarded bags in urban areas and open country. Used and neatly tied-up, the bags were often left alongside paths, hung on bushes or gateposts. Darwell was intrigued by the odd discrepancy between dog owners’ responsibility and carelessness. What does this simple action say about our society?
Subsequently Darwell’s new series Dogs in Cages (2011), commissioned by the Bluecoat for Confined, also considers responsibility with respect to dogs and attempts to address wider issues of incarceration. Produced in cooperation with a shelter in the North West, the photographs feature a variety of portraits of dogs where the foreground of the image is dominated by their cage. Sometimes the animal is barely recognisable and exists merely as an evocative shadow or outline. In this instance Darwell’s use of differential focus is extremely effective in drawing attention to the dogs as a subject; he keeps only the foreground or another small area of the composition in focus allowing him to blur the background. In other images it is clear the dogs have pawed the cage in an attempt to get as close to Darwell as possible. These plaintive images are perhaps the most poignant of all, but collectively all the photographs provoke a polemic about how we as a nation of ‘animal lovers’ treat our ‘best friends.’ Often dogs end up confined in shelters because they are abandoned or given up by owners who can’t or won’t care for them. They have been classified as problematic, deemed destructive, aggressive or too expensive. Other times dogs simply get lost and are cared for in shelters until such time as they might be reunited with their owners. In most all cases though, it is the actions of the owner (or keeper) that have resulted in the dog being caged.
For Darwell the photographs of dogs in cages also present an allegorical comment about human imprisonment or detention. Recent figures from HM Prison Service indicate that just over 87,000 people are currently imprisoned in the UK. Darwell suggests that as a society we have a moral responsibility to pay attention to that statistic and to ensure that justice is properly provided for people who may have found themselves imprisoned because their behaviour was deemed abnormal, for example people with physical and mental difficulties. In the international arena Darwell’s photographs could well be understood as a stark response to the treatment of prisoners and political detainees. In 2004 the US media reported on the torture, rape and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The commander at the centre of the scandal, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, told the BBC that her superiors had ordered her to “treat detainees like dogs.”1 She claimed that the method was practiced at the US detentions camps at Guantanamo Bay. At the time Karpinski’s allegations were refuted by higher ranking generals. 1
Interview with Brigadier General Janis Karpinski on BBC Radio 4’s programme On The Ropes, June 15, 2004.
DORNITH DOHERTY Since 2008 American photographer Dornith Doherty has been working in collaboration with renowned biologists at some of the most important international seed banks. These privately and publicly funded facilities store a variety of seeds, from everyday food crops to rare species. They function as a type of gene bank in order to safeguard biodiversity and to insure the survival of plant species should a catastrophic event affect a key ecosystem. Through her ongoing project Archiving Eden, Doherty has explored the seed banks and their preservation efforts in the face of accelerated climate change, the extinction of natural species, and decreased agricultural diversity. She documents and responds to the process of the collection of botanical species, and her photographs reveal a complex set of issues surrounding the role of science, technology and human agency. Then and Now, Potato Diversity and the Irish Diaspora (2011) speaks eloquently to the importance of efforts to preserve genetic diversity and the humane significance of seed banking. For this series Doherty used on-site x-ray equipment to photograph potato plantlets grown from tissue samples from the collection at the USDA ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
On returning to her studio in Texas she created a digital collage of the x-rays. For Doherty the resulting photographs also respond to her personal history as well as wider concerns, as she describes: The failure of the potato crops in the mid 1840s in Ireland was one of the major causes for a global population displacement. During the potato famine approximately 25% of the population of Ireland was forced to emigrate to countries around the world; my family was one of many who moved to the United States at that time. Recently a blight-resistant gene was found in a species of wild potato and it has been successfully used in genetic engineering of cultivated varieties of potatoes we eat today. Doherty’s use of the x-ray is a strategic and poetic device. It not only allows her to engage with the scientist’s equipment but it also records that which is invisible to the human eye. There is something extremely humbling about the resulting, enlarged photographs that depict tiny seeds -- many the size of a grain of sand or smaller -- which generate and sustain life. The affective simplicity of Doherty’s exquisite images reflects the delicate yet powerful purpose of the seeds, suggesting that beauty and aesthetics can play a significant role in the determination of the photograph as a call to action.
Opposite: Then and Now, Potato Diversity and the Irish Diaspora, (detail), 2011
From diseases and pests, to drought and climate change, to manâ€™s continual need to utilize the globeâ€™s precious resources, one of our largest challenges is to keep genetic diversity alive for future generations so that they have the tools to enable humanity to survive our ever evolving environment. DAVID ELLIS, Curator and Lead Scientist, Plant Genetic Resources Preservation Program, USDA-ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden, 2011 26
Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden, 2011 27
Vault Interior, Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2009
Similarly, Dohertyâ€™s combined use of the x-ray and lenticular photography functions on a metaphorical level. For Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden she made digital collages from x-rays of seedlings and seed heads photographed onsite at the Millenium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The collages were then made into lenticular prints, and the resulting animations present still-life images of an archive that appears to change colour or move when viewed from different angles.
This tension between stillness and change is a reflection of how seeds are grown but then effectively kept on hold at a certain point of perfection. Seed bank scientists try to stop time, as it were, to prevent the botanical materials from changing or growing further. However, as the lenticular images highlight, perfect stasis is not always possible. Dohertyâ€™s photographs remind us that just as fine art curators are to museums, the seed bank scientists are keepers with a duty of care to contain, maintain and protect their collections. The stakes are high. Seed banks function as the worldâ€™s insurance policy against starvation. In this instance confinement and conservation of a species may save lives.
Incubator, National Center for Genetic Preservation, 2009
BEN GRAVILLE From 2002 – 2009 Ben Graville worked for several press agencies and specialised in the subject of criminal and civil law. His beat was the Old Bailey in London, the UK’s Central Criminal Court, where criminal cases from all over the country are heard. As part of his remit, he photographed people as they arrived and departed the court - - defendants, plaintiffs, lawyers - - and he also attended trials and made notes about the cases. Typically Graville’s photographs were used alongside national broadsheet newspaper reports that covered details of the court proceedings. In and out the Old Bailey is a collection of colour snapshot portraits that feature remand prisoners who are being kept in custody during their trials. As it is illegal to photograph in court or in the precincts of a court, Graville photographed them from the street as they were being escorted to court from prison in a security van. Accompanied by guards, the prisoners were secured in individual cells within the van; each cell has a small, darkened window which allows the occupant to look out, but makes it impossible to see in. Graville held his camera to the window as the van passed him and in the moment of the shutter release the flash penetrated the dimly lit cells, capturing the spontaneous reactions of the prisoners.
Graville is clear that he is not judging the subjects of his photographs; he never knew who he was photographing or what the resulting images might be. His practice challenges the effort to obscure prisoners from public view during the court process. While some of his images portray prisoners turning away from the window or shielding their face from the camera, others depict prisoners who rejected their imposed anonymity. Indeed Graville has described how sometimes prisoners banged on the sides of the van or the windows to attract attention or provoke a reaction from the press and public. The majority of Graville’s photographs support this notion and present a typology of behaviour. They expose the various efforts prisoners took to identify themselves by making rude gestures, exposing parts of their body, expressing gang signs, pulling faces or scratching graffiti on the inside of the cell door. The results are simultaneously shocking, funny and pitiful, and the garish colours produced by the tinted window and the halo spotlight from Graville’s flash add to the disconcerting drama of the captured moment.
In and out the Old Bailey, 2002â€“05
In and out the Old Bailey, 2002â€“ 05
In and out the Old Bailey, 2002â€“05
In and out the Old Bailey, 2002â€“ 05
As documents used in a photojournalist context, Graville’s photographs provide witness to the daily process of the legal system and present a temporary view of confinement, albeit in a raw and candid style. And this is the basis for their controversy. For many viewers the photographs tread a fine line between news and spectacle; the voyeuristic nature of these works would seem to align Graville’s practice with reality TV or the territory of the paparazzi. However it’s important to note these photographs are not indicative of his entire oeuvre and his approach is not new. Arthur Fellig, otherwise known as Weegee, was renowned for his unflinching street photography in New York in the 1930s and 40s. Some of his most iconic black and white works include paddy wagon shots of offenders shot through the open back doors of the van. This is not to imply that Graville is merely copying Weegee, but rather that the subject he explores 80 years later is similar, though with very different results. Like Weegee, Graville’s work makes for uneasy viewing, whether in a newspaper or in a gallery, but ultimately its provocative nature proves to be its inherent strength. In and out the Old Bailey, 2002–05
DAVID MAISEL Library of Dust (2006) by American photographer David Maisel engages with a somewhat disturbing definition of confinement in a manner that is poignant and poetic. In the field of psychiatry, the term has been used to describe the forced placement of people into asylums or mental hospitals. This practice increased in popularity in the 19th century, to the point where unfortunately asylums became more like custodial institutions than places of medical assistance. Confinement was applied to criminals and people regarded as societyâ€™s misfits, as well as those with genuine mental illness. Often people were committed to asylums because they did not fit conventional ideas about how to behave, and their diagnosis was based on a wide ranging spectrum, from unruly or spirited behaviour to extreme psychosis. Maiselâ€™s series is predominantly comprised of colour photographs of old, corroded copper canisters. Each contains the cremated remains of psychiatric patients once resident at the Oregon State Insane Asylum who died between 1883 and the 1970s.1 The remains were never collected by families or friends. Other photographs from the series document abandoned rooms of the old asylum, including the room where the canisters were kept, lined up on simple wooden shelves. Collectively Maiselâ€™s elegiac photographs provoke a contemporary discussion about loss, memory and mental illness.
Photographed in profile, isolated against a black background, the canisters assume metonymic value as funerary portraits. Thanks to exterior corrosion and the chemical reaction of human ashes against metal, no two look the same. Just like people. Ironically, even after death when confinement is still enforced by the institutional uniformity of the canisters, the patients and their illnesses are individualised by natural forces. Maisel has presented us with mineralogical portraits of the interred. Covered with delicate feathery trails and patches of furred corrosion that follow leaden seams and irregularities in the surface of the copper, the canisters are like clocks measuring time by oxygen instead of minutes. Hours, days and years are indelibly marked by a colourful patina of vibrant rich blues and greens, and ghostly white. Knowing their contents it is impossible to look at the canisters and not consider issues of matter and spirit in life and death. The physical and chemical reasons for the decay of the canisters become metaphors for the deterioration of mind and body.
Library of Dust, 2006
Library of Dust (and opposite), 2006
Library of Dust, 2006
Library of Dust, 2006
Maisel has appropriately described Library of Dust as an index or archive of trauma. Some canisters still retain their paper labels indicating the names of the dead, and the lid of each is cryptically stamped with a number ranging from 01 to 5118. However while some records remain of this catalogue that correspond to medical files, the system is inconsistent and incomplete as a means to comprehensively identify the remains.2 With this in mind, Maiselâ€™s photographs then play a symbolic role in the reconstruction of identity and memorial of forgotten lives. 1
Incidentally, the Oregon State Insane Asylum was the setting for One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1962), the novel by Ken Kesey, which was made into a film in 1975 starring Jack Nicholson. The plot follows the life of a disobedient prisoner who is transferred to an asylum where he befriends the other patients and then leads a rebellion against the repressive practices of the hospital, with tragic results.
The Hospital has released all the names of the individuals they believe are interred in the canisters according to the best assessment of records available.
DAVID MOORE In his seminal essay ‘A Means of Surveillance: the Photograph as Evidence in Law,’ John Tagg draws attention to the notion that the early years of photography coincided with the introduction of the police service in the UK, and that the two have been inextricably linked ever since. The use of photographs by the police has revolved around documentary purposes of identification and evidence.1 David Moore’s work suggests a contemporary consideration of the relationship between photography and the police, but from an inverse position. Rather than focus on the subject of ‘what’ the police might photograph, Moore investigates the context of their activity. Through documenting state institutions such as the police and the procedures of government, Moore attempts to make the covert visible. In doing this he reveals significant power relations that exist in daily life that might otherwise go largely unnoticed or unchecked by the general population. In his new series 28 Days (2009), Moore continues his investigations of the apparatus of state through a series of photographs of Paddington Green Police Station. Located in central London, it is operated by the Metropolitan Police who provide assistance for members of the public on a daily basis like most other stations around the country. But, significantly, Paddington Green serves as the most important high security police station in the United Kingdom. Prisoners suspected of terrorism are brought there from all over the country and held for questioning.
Built in the 1960s, the station complex was originally used to hold arrested members of the IRA in the early 1970s. But by 2009 when Moore received permission to take photographs in the station (it took him over six months to obtain the necessary clearance) the building was in the process of being refurbished. Its more recent prisoners had been British nationals released from Guantanamo Bay and suspects accused in the 2005 London bomb attacks. A 2007 report by Lord Carlile that reviewed the government’s terrorism laws had described facilities at Paddington Green Police Station as inadequate to hold prisoners who were considered high-risk. Recommendations were made to the Metropolitan Police Authority to upgrade the station complex in response to the extended powers of detention without trial, which at that time was a period of 28 days.2 People arrested under the Counter Terrorism act were being held in cells designed for just a couple of days detention at most, a practice that Lord Carlile’s report suggests was inhumane.
Moore was given just two days to photograph on-site at the end of the refurbishment project before the station became operational again. 28 Days records, interprets and negotiates the anomalies of the refurbished complex; the photographs document the mundane in very cool, formal terms. Certainly upon first glance the photographs do not reveal anything that purports luxury or comfort that in any way reflects the nearly £500,000 spent on refurbishment. The offices and cells are extremely sparse. Shabby, old institutional furniture burdened with history remains in evidence. Yet prisoners can now watch films or listen to music in their cells, a move recommended in Lord Carlile’s report to provide stimulation for prisoners, but derided by the fabric of older police cultures.3 This tension, between old and new ways of policing and treating detained terror suspects, was also highlighted for Moore when officers ‘dressed’ some of the spaces by, for example, arranging duvets and placing books in the cells to make them appear more hospitable.
Tagg, J. “The Burden of Representation. Essays on Photographies and Histories.” Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988, pp 66 – 102.
Earlier this year, after Moore’s project was completed, the government scrapped the 28 day limit and reverted to 14 days.
Hughes, Mark. “£490,000 to make Paddington Green habitable,” The Independent (London), 26 May 2009. Untitled, 2009
ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES JUERGEN CHILL. Born in Essen, Germany, Juergen Chill completed his fine art studies in video and photography at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Anrhem, The Netherlands in 2002. Since then he has exhibited widely in Germany and The Netherlands, and recently, in Singapore: Borden und Zellen, Dagmar Schmidla Galerie, Cologne (2010); State of Prison, Fotodok Utrecht, The Netherlands, (2010); My Favourite Place, Goethe-Institute, Singapore (2008); and, Custody: Spaces of Surveillance, Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt, Germany (2007). Last year Chill’s work was exhibited in the German Pavillion at the World Expo in Shanghai, China. In 2007 Chill received the prestigious European Architectural Photography prize for Zellen. Juergen Chill currently lives in Germany and Confined is his first exhibition in the United Kingdom. www.juergenchill.com EDMUND CLARK originally studied History at the University of Sussex and The University of Paris, La Sorbonne, before completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism at the London College of Communications. His work has been exhibited internationally including Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out, Australian Centre for Photography (2010), Mutations III, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin / Museum Auf Abruf, Vienna / MACRO Testaccio, Museo D’Arte Contemporanea, Roma (2010–2011) and Prime Years, Houston Center for Photography, Texas / Gallery of Photography, Dublin (2010–2011). Clark’s work is included in collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the National Portrait Gallery, London, The Imperial War Museum, London, and the National Media Museum, Bradford, and he has published two monographs: Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out (2010) and Still Life Killing Time (2007). Clark has won several significant awards: Editorial Photographer of the Year at the International Photography Awards / The Lucies (2010); British Journal of Photography International Photography Award (2009); and a Terry O’Neill / IPG Award for Contemporary British Photography (2008). In 2010 he was also shortlisted for International Photographer of the Year for 2010. Edmund Clark lives and works in London. www.edmundclark.com www.ifthelightgoesout.com
JOHN DARWELL received a B.A. honors degree from Manchester Polytechnic and recently completed a PhD in photography at the University of Sunderland. To date seven monographs of his work have been published including Legacy: Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (Dewi Lewis Publishing 2001), Dark Days (Dewi Lewis 2007) and Committed to Memory (A twenty five year retrospective, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, 2007). He has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally including shows in Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands and the United States and his work is included in several key permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford; Maritime Museum, Liverpool; Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle; and Manchester City Art Gallery. Darwell lives in Carlisle where he is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Cumbria. www.johndarwell.com DORNITH DOHERTY was born in Houston, Texas and received a B.A. from Rice University in Houston and a MFA in Photography from Yale University. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University of North Texas and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Photographic Education. She has received major research grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Japan Foundation and the United States Department of the Interior. Doherty’s work has been featured in exhibitions in the Encuentros Abiertos Photography Biennial in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2010), the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado (2008), FotoFest 2006 in Houston, Texas, and Earth Now: American Photographers and The Environment, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe (2011). Her work is in numerous permanent collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the Yale University Library in New Haven, Connecticut and the Museet Fotokunst in Odense, Denmark. www.dornithdoherty.com
BEN GRAVILLE was born in Epsom, Surrey and worked as a press agency photographer 2002 –2009, including a three-year period at The Independent newspaper. His work has been featured in several other publications including the Sunday Times and the photography journal Source. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and recent shows include Antennes and Voies, Off des Recontres d’Arles (2010), the Royal Academy Summer Show (2008 & 2010), Fotonoviembre, Tenerife, (2007) and Format Festival, Derby (2006). Ben Graville currently lives in London where he works as a freelance photographer covering criminal and civil law, news and documentary subjects. www.bengraville.co.uk DAVID MAISEL was born in New York City and received his BA from Princeton University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts, in addition to study at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has been the recipient of an Individual Artist’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was short-listed for the Prix Pictet in 2008. Maisel’s photographs, multi-media projects, and public installations have been exhibited internationally, and are included in many public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria & Albert Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His work has been the subject of four monographs: The Lake Project (2004), Oblivion (2006), and History’s Shadow (2011), all published by Nazraeli Press; and Library of Dust (Chronicle Books, 2008). David Maisel lives and works in the San Francisco area.
DAVID MOORE. Based in London, David Moore has been a practicing photographer since 1989 after graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including group shows in 2010 at the Thessaloniki Photo-Biennale and Les Photaumnales in Beauvais, France. The Last Things, a publication and touring solo exhibition, travelled to Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Belfast Exposed, Impressions Gallery Bradford and UH Galleries, Hertfordshire, 2008–09. Moore’s work is held in public and private collections including Nuffield College Collection, Oxford University; the Ranstad Collection, The Netherlands; and, the Ministry of Defence Art Collection, London. David Moore is currently Senior Photography Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College, London. www.davidmoore.uk.com
EXHIBITION CHECKLIST JUERGEN CHILL 1. Zelle 01, 2007 Lambda print 95 x 127.5 cm 2. Zelle 04, 2007 Lambda print 95 x 143 cm 3. Zelle 06, 2007 Lambda print 95 x 132.5 cm 4. Zelle 09, 2007 Lambda print 95 x 153 cm All works courtesy of the artist
9. Home, 2010 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 10. Home, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 11. Home, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 12. Home, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 13. Naval Base, Commanding Officer’s Quarters, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 14. Naval Base, guest quarters, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 15. Camp 6, mobile force feeding chair, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm
EDMUND CLARK Selections from the series Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out 1. Red Cross calendar, 2009 C type, 30.4 x 25.4 cm 2. Hand censored letter from a daughter, 2010 C type, 30.4 x 25.4 cm 3. Red Cross letter form, 2009 C type, 30.4 x 25.4 cm 4. Administrative Review Board Letter, 2010 C type, 30.4 x 25.4 cm
16. Camp 5, interrogator’s call button, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 17. Camp One, exercise cage, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 18. Camp One, isolation unit, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm All works courtesy of the artist and Flowers Gallery, London
5. Naval Base Museum, model of 1990s refugee camp at Guantanamo, 2009 C type, 86.3 x 67.3 cm
Selection of 12 works from the series Dogs in Cages, 2011 Chromogenic colour prints 76 x 76 cm each
6. Home, 2010 C type, 86.3 x 67.3 cm
All works courtesy of the artist Commissioned by the Bluecoat
7. Naval Base Galley, 2009 C type, 86.3 x 67.3 cm 8. Fence separating the Naval Base from Cuba, 2009 C type, 152.4 x 121.9 cm
1. Then and Now, Potato Diversity and The Irish Diaspora, 2011 Archival pigment photograph, 25.4 x 76.2 cm each (series of 5 prints)
Selection of works from the series In and out the Old Bailey, 2002–05 Lambda prints 29.7 x 42 cm each
2. Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden, 2011 Digital chromogenic lenticular photograph, 2000 x 920 mm each (4 panels)
All works courtesy of the artist
3. Door, Svalbard Global Seed Vault, 2010 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 97.7 cm 4. Cryogenic Racks, National Center for Genetic Preservation, 2009 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 59.6 cm 5. Interior, Svalbard Global Seed Vault, 2010 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 59.6 cm 6. Incubator, National Center for Genetic Preservation, 2009 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 59.6 cm
DAVID MAISEL Selection of 12 works from the series Library of Dust, 2006 Chromogenic colour prints 33.5 x 27.9 cm each All works courtesy of the artist and Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas
7. View of the bay and airport from Svalbard Global Seed Vault, 2010 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 377.1 cm
8. Bag of Seeds, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 2009 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 59.6 cm
Selection of 11 works from the series 28 Days, 2009 ‘lightjet’ print on aluminium 101.6 x 76.2 cm each (4 prints); 61 x 50.8cm (7 prints)
9. Drying Seeds and Pliers, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 2009 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 98.2 cm
All works courtesy of the artist
10. Vault Interior, Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2009 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 59.6 cm 11. Nordic Genetic Resource Center Seed Vials, Svalbard Global Seed Vault, 2010 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 93.8 cm 12. Greenhouse, Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2009 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 59.6 cm 13. LJ’s research notebook, 2010 Archival pigment photograph, 76.2 x 97.7 cm With special thanks to the USDA-ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation and the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew All works courtesy of the artist, Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas, and McMurtrey Gallery, Houston, Texas
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to all of the artists for their commitment to Confined: Juergen Chill, Edmund Clark, John Darwell, Dornith Doherty, Ben Graville, David Maisel and David Moore. I also wish to thank the following for help in securing works for the exhibition and providing administrative or financial support for the artists: Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas; University of the Arts London; and Flowers Gallery, London. Thanks to Pete Brook for his spirited words. Thanks too must go to my colleagues at the Look 11 Photography Festival for their encouragement and assistance: Stephen Snoddy (Festival Director) and Daniel Cutmore (Festival Manager). I am grateful to the Staff at the Bluecoat for their support, in particular Bryan Biggs and Laura Pilgrim, and especially Denise Courcoux, Barry Charlton and the gallery team for their hard work in producing such an elegant installation. SARA-JAYNE PARSONS Exhibitions Curator at the Bluecoat
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