NOME Gallery i presents The Glomar Response, James Bridle’s first solo show in Germany.
Immigration, politics and surveillance, as well as the intersections of contemporary technology with older forms of imperial power, comprise the main axes of the show.
The “Glomar Response” was formulated in 1975 by the U.S. Government, in reference to the prerogative of power to “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of information.
In the shadow of this statement is all of the uncertainty of contemporary life: the ever-increasing opacity of political and social processes accelerated by computer code and secret law, countered by the rising ability of individuals and activists to use those same networked technologies to investigate and act with ever greater agency.
The exhibition tests the limit of that augmented vision, using law, research, and code to penetrate enclosed and classified spaces while recognizing and attempting to visualize the boundaries of its own potential.
With The Glomar Response, NOME presents a series of works which use computer code, investigative journalism, and visualisation to explore hidden spaces and classified information:
Seamless Transitions, commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery, London, is a simulacrum of three unphotographable sites of immigration judgment, detention, and deportation in the UK: the Special Immigration Appeals Court, designed for the presentation of secret evidence; Harmondsworth Detention Center, a privately run prison outside of London; and the Inflite Jet Center, a private terminal at Stansted Airport. Reconstructed from planning documents and eyewitness accounts, the film uses architectural visualization to portray physical space and the complex legal and social framework which generates it.
The Fraunhofer Lines are a new series of visualizations from a variety of sources, including the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture and the UK Information Commissioner’s reports on automated police surveillance. These documents, released following Freedom of Information requests, have been analyzed with custom computer vision software to reveal the extent of redaction and the discrepancies between different documents. They are named and patterned after the gaps in the sun’s spectra discovered in 1814 by German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer, which both revealed the absence of certain frequencies of light reaching the earth’s surface and pointed towards new methods of analysis and understanding.
Waterboarded Documents presents a series of research documents surrounding the operation of websites and domains linked to the British Indian Ocean Territory, an archipelago forcibly depopulated in the 1970s and subsequently used as a US base during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a CIA black site and rendition transit point. Reproducing the effects of water damage claimed by the British Government to prevent the release of information relating to the rendition program, the documents illustrate the complicity between contemporary technological networks and older forms of entrenched and imperial power.
James Bridle is an artist, writer and theorist based in London. With a longstanding investigative interest in modern network infrastructure, government transparency, and technological surveillance, his artistic practice positions itself at the intersection of art, science and political activism. Bridle’s artworks have been shown at major international institutions such as Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Art Center, Tokyo; and ZKM, Karlsruhe, and the Barbican, London. He received an Honorary Mention at the Prix Ars Electronica 2013 and an Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival 2014. His New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work across multiple disciplines and continues to inspire critical and artistic response.
«The Glomar Response, James Bridle», NOME project, Berlino, 24.07 – 5.09.2015
[nggallery id=77]image (cover 1, 5) Chagos (Waterboarded Documents 002), 2015. James Bridle. Mixed Media, 119cm x 72 cm x 110cm Photo by Bresadola+Freese/drama-berlin.de (2 – 3 ) Seamless Transitions, James Bridle, 2015 Animation by Picture Plane. Digital video, 5:28, 1920 x 1708. Commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery, London Seamless Transitions was supported by Nome, Berlin, and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. (4) Fraunhofer Lines 002 (TfL Emails January – March, 2013), 2015. James Bridle. Inkjet print, 120cm/80cm. Photo by Bresadola+Freese/drama-berlin.de