Edmund Clark: War of Terror
This thought-provoking exhibition brings together several series of work by artist-photographer Edmund Clark to explore the hidden experiences of state control during the 'Global War on Terror'.
Looking at issues of security, secrecy, representation and legality, the show focuses on the measures taken by states to protect their citizens from the threat of terrorism, and the far-reaching effects of such methods of control.
The exhibition brings together several series of Clark's work including images and documents of CIA operated secret prisons or 'black sites', photographs from the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay, correspondence from around the world sent to a British detainee in Guantanamo that was transformed by the censorship and intervention of the US military, and the experience of a 'controlled person' who was placed in a house in suburban England under the restrictive conditions of a control order – a form of house arrest or detention without trial – introduced in 2005.
An immersive experience, the exhibition uses sound, moving images and large multi-media installations as well as photographs and documents to invoke a sensory engagement with the experiences of observation, detention and disorientation induced by the systems of control Clark explores.
Abu Salim prison, Libya
One of the CIA's captives, a training camp facilitator known as Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, was rendered to Egypt and then held in the CIA's own prison network for several years before being transferred back to Libya in 2006. Information extracted from him was to prove crucial in the Bush administration's argument for the invasion of Iraq. This information was suspected at the time, and later established, to have been fabricated under duress. Ibn al-Shaykh was eventually located in Gaddafi's Abu Salim prison by Human Rights Watch in May 2009. He died a few days later in mysterious circumstances. Abu Salim was emptied of prisoners during the Libyan revolution.
This photograph shows damage caused to the building by a NATO bomb and is taken from the first section of the exhibition, 'Negative Publicity', which explores the CIA secret prison or 'black site' programme, where detainees were sent between 2001 and 2008 without legal process or public records.
Front bedroom in the 'Control Order House' where Edmund Clark stayed
In December 2011 and January 2012, Clark was given exclusive access to a house in suburban England in which a British man suspected of involvement in terrorist-related activity was living under the terms of a Home Office enforced Control Order, a form of detention without trial based on secret evidence.
This photograph is taken from the final section of the exhibition, 'Control Order House', which explores the living environment of a 'controlled person' who'd been relocated and placed under a curfew with restricted movement and communication to the outside world.
Camp 6, Immediate Response Force equipment © Edmund Clark, courtesy of Flowers Gallery
Edmund Clark talks about the War of Terror exhibition at IWM London