Redact This! Artists Against Torture is a collection of artwork made in response to acts of torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and CIA Black Sites. I have designed it as a tribute to those who continue to suffer from, and to fight against, acts of state sponsored torture.
About the Project: In 2009 I was seized with an idea: to create an art historical volume that could serve as a response to the acts of torture committed as part of the “War On Terror”. My foremost goal was to address the over-saturated image culture that had arisen since the release of the May 2004 Taguba report, and the subsequent reportage by Sy Hersh and 60 Minutes.
In these first glimpses of the extensive torture programs, we were confronted with the iconic images of torture orchestrated in the Abu Ghraib prison; images that went from shocking to blasé after a relatively small number of news cycles. Like the many thousands of images we see each day, the images found in the Taguba report had lost their potency with each casual viewing and were thus met with indifference by the majority of Americans.
“Art does not have the power to bring about social or political change. But it does have the power to perpetuate the memory of an episode over time … Art serves as a testimony that endures over time, and in the collective memory.” – Fernando Botero
Redact This! Artists Against Torture was designed as a corrective for this indifference. By elevating the subject of torture to the realm of fine art, we are invited not to consume the images, but to contemplate them. They serve to “perpetuate the memory” of these acts so that the people of the world never halt their struggle to end torture. In each of the pieces found in this book, there is a richer meaning than the formal qualities or subject matter can convey; each stands on its own as a unique protest against the use of torture, anywhere, everywhere, for any reason, always.
About the studio: If we are successful in our funding campaign, we will be working with animation studio and eBook developer FlickerLab LLC. FlickerLab is an animation and production studio in New York City that brings together an interdisciplinary team of storytellers, producers, technologists, composers and educators to create stories with the world’s leading brands, agencies, publishers and networks. They are pioneers in transforming complex ideas and story-worlds into effective and moving experiences that translate across today’s rapidly evolving, multi-screen media environment.
In addition to its more commercial work, FlickerLab is currently creating an animated breakdown for the ACLU on the modern surveillance state, as well as a series of animated videos explaining UN human rights structures with the UN Office of the Special Reporteur on Human Rights in Iran. In the past, FlickerLab has created a series of music videos for Kids for Global Peace. It also developed a citizen journalism and publishing platform for use with Peace and Reconciliation processes in Latin America.
Finally, FlickerLab has worked on Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story.
About FlickerLab's Harold Moss: Harold is the founder and creative director of content, education and technology creation studio FlickerLab, who has spent his career fusing storytelling, technology and a passion for change-making media. Notably, he created the three-minute cartoon, A Brief History of the USA, in Michael Moore’s Academy Award winning, Bowling for Columbine (2003); was a producer of the 2008 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning and Oscar nominated documentary, Trouble the Water; and has produced and directed over 100 interactive eBooks for Barnes & Noble, Penguin and others.
Harold has committed his life to changing the world one cartoon at a time.
What am I going to do with the funding?: Working with FlickerLab, we are going to develop this ebook so that it includes:
• The Artwork: The book features over one hundred unique and original works by artists such ad Fernando Botero, Jenny Holzer, Richard Serra, Dread Scott, Steven Powers, Daniel Heyman, and many others, presented as a detail-rich gallery and e-experience.
• Installations and performance: With a print publication, it’s difficult to successfully present installation and performance art, and nearly impossible remain true to the medium. With video, however, it’s a snap! This eBook will be able to include much of the excellent – though difficult to print – multimedia work that has been done on the subject of torture. Artists include Steve Powers, Coco Fusco, Jenny Holzer, Peggy Weil, and many others.
• Interactive pieces: The money we raise from this campaign will allow us to create an interactive work of art, as well as informational pieces to be included in the book.
Assuming this project is funded, we anticipate this ebook to be completed at the end of 2014, with fulfillment of ebook orders shortly thereafter.
I made this short doc for the Bronx Children's Museum's 3rd annual Dream Big Initiative, shown at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. Bobby was a ton of fun to work with! His response to the film: " You do good work!"
Redact This! Artists Against Torture is an artistic response to the torture programs that have intensified in the wake of September 11 and have been justified by the "War on Terror". This evocative volume includes the work of artists such as Fernando Botero, Jenny Holzer, Daniel Heyman, Sandow Birk, Richard Serra, Malaquias Montoya, Frances Jeter, Art Hazelwood, Lou Netter and many members of the War Criminals Watch community. The idea for this book came to me in a dream and, in collaboration with my friends at WorldCantWait.org and WarCriminalsWatch.org, I decided to go ahead and produce it. We are currently looking for a publisher and have recently decided to seek for funding to self-publish as an interactive e-book.
This is a proof-of-concept demo for the documentary Out From Plato’s Cave by Anna Purves. It is an interweaving of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave with the real life experiences by college students on their path to enlightenment while at Lehman College/City University of New York. As her editor and collaborator, I worked closely with Anna on developing the edit from her original cuts. I also often sat in back of the camera on many occasions, asking the kind of questions that got the best answers out of our interviewees – including Anna herself!