Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition
By Edmund Clark and Crofton BlackEssay by Eyal Weizman
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British photographer Edmund Clark and counterterrorism investigator Crofton Black have assembled photographs and documents that confront the nature of contemporary warfare and the invisible mechanisms of state control. From George W. Bush’s 2001 declaration of the “war on terror” until 2008, an unknown number of people disappeared into a network of secret prisons organized by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency—transfers without legal process known as extraordinary renditions. No public records were kept as detainees were shuttled all over the globe. Some were eventually sent to Guantánamo Bay or released without charge, while others remain unaccounted for.
The paper trail assembled in this volume shows these activities via the weak points of business accountability: invoices, documents of incorporation, and billing reconciliations produced by the small-town American businesses enlisted in detainee transportation. Clark has traveled worldwide to photograph former detention sites, detainees’ homes, and government locations. He and Black recreate the network that links CIA “black sites,” and evoke ideas of opacity, surface, and testimony in relation to this process—a system hidden in plain sight. Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition, copublished with the Magnum Foundation, its creation supported by Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund, raises fundamental questions about the accountability and complicity of our governments, and the erosion of our most basic civil rights.
Edmund Clark (born in London, 1963) studied history and French at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, and the Sorbonne, Paris, before gaining a postgraduate diploma in photojournalism at the London College of Communication. His books, Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out (2010) and Control Order House (2012), engage with state censorship to explore hidden experiences and spaces of control and incarceration in the global “war on terror.” His most recent work, The Mountains of Majeed (2014), reflects on the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history. Clark has received worldwide recognition for his work, including the Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for outstanding photography for public service, and the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award. He was also short-listed for the Prix Pictet and W. Eugene Smith Award and nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and Henri Cartier-Bresson International Award.
Crofton Black has spent several years carrying out in-depth international investigations into counterterrorism tactics on behalf of the human rights group Reprieve, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and other organizations. He has a doctorate of philosophy from the University of London on the topic of early modern hermeneutics and was formerly an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Eyal Weizman (essay) is an architect; a professor of spatial and visual cultures, and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London; and a Princeton Global Scholar. He is a founding member of the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour, Palestine. He is the author of several books, including Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth (2014).
Ben Weaver (design) is the art director for the Wire magazine and cofounder and publisher of Here Press.