Friday, June 19, 2009

Reflections on Did You Kiss The Dead Body?

Thursday, June 18, 2009 Catalyst Project Room, Berlin

These images are from the exhibition, Did You Kiss The Dead Body? The title of the exhibition comes from a larger project I am working on that incorporates drawings, sculpture, sound and video. The project comes out of a four year reflection on U.S. Military Autopsy Reports of Afghan and Iraqi men that died in U.S. custody. These reports were first posted on the ACLU's website and released under the Freedom of Information Act. The exhibition is made up of projections of Autopsy Reports and ink anatomical drawings made directly onto the autopsy texts, music derived from the "Torture Playlist" - a list of the top 21 preferred songs used by American soldiers and interrogators to torture prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba, first published in a Mother Jones article by Justine Sharrock last year, and an installation that incorporates a group of cast mouths and autopsy tools on loan from the Berlin Medical Historical Museum. I've been opening the exhibition 3 nights per week from sunset until Midnight. In the next post I'd like to write about and reflect on some of the responses I've received making me understand the exhibition as more of a performance and dialogue between myself and the audience which prompted my costuming last night. Consistently the viewers transfer their thoughts about the "othered" bodies encountered in the autopsy texts onto me. For the viewer I become the site of the othered body and automatically, unconsciously the exhibit becomes conflated with my individual identity.