Friday, September 24, 2010

Deptford X

Mitch McEwen at the Old Police Station; photo by Val PhoenixDeptford X, which declares itself "London's foremost contemporary visual arts festival", returns tonight for a ten-day run in sunny south London. The full programme is online, but last night I interrupted artist-unlicensed architect Mitch McEwen as she wired up her installation Black Site #2 at the Old Police Station before the opening tonight.

Based in New York, McEwen works with spaces and how people think about them. For this work, she has re-created a full size representation of a black site used by the CIA for interrogating prisoners. We had a bit of a chat, will go out next week on Odd Girl Out, but McEwen explained her starting point was imagining that the CIA asked her to design such a site. Basing her construction on legal depositions given to the ACLU, McEwen used plywood to construct a cell draped with transducers, used to pump music in to induce sleep deprivation. With a laugh, she acknowledged that visitors to the installation will not experience anything like the discomfort of the real thing, but the work questions the relationship between military and civilian society.

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