In an appeal to save Iraqi’s academics, the BRussells Tribunal, a group made up of activists, intellectuals, and artists who organized a series of hearings by the same name, wrote: A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic liquidation of the country's academics. Even according to conservative estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain, the secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the US occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences for the future of Iraq. The wave of assassinations appears non-partisan and non-sectarian, targeting women as well as men, and is countrywide. It is indiscriminate of expertise: professors of geography, history and Arabic literature as well as science are among the dead. According to the United Nations University, some 84 per cent of Iraq's institutions of higher education have already been burnt, looted or destroyed. Iraq's educational system used to be among the best in the region; one of the country's most important assets was its well-educated people. This situation is a mirror of the occupation as a whole: a catastrophe of staggering proportions unfolding in a climate of criminal disregard. As an occupying power, and under international humanitarian law, final responsibility for protecting Iraqi citizens, including academics, lies with the United States. Though the death toll is not known, the BRussells Tribunal maintains a list of recorded killings of academics and administrators. List is currently at 471. (August 2012)
Wipe the Slate is a temporary memorial dedicated to the academics and professors who have been murdered or disappeared in post-2003 Iraq. The work is the writing and subsequent erasing of the 471 names and lives on separate chalkboards that mirror protective blast walls.
ART OF ARMISTICE
TARGET GALLERY TORPEDO FACTORY OCT 27 - DEC 2 2018
“That was when I came close to insanity,” Binyam Mohamed said, describing his detention at Guantanamo Bay: There were loudspeakers in the cell, pumping out what felt like about 160 watts, a deafening volume, non-stop, 24 hours a day. They played the same CD for a month, The Eminem Show. It’s got about 20 songs on it and when it was finished it went back to the beginning and started again.
In 2003, the US Department of Defense (DoD) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began approving and using music as an “interrogation” tactic within the broadly defined War on Terror. The practice of acoustic bombardment, dubbed music torture by critics, is where music (in this case, artists like Metallica, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Queen, and Bruce Springsteen among others, along with the Sesame Street and Barney theme songs) is repeatedly played at deafening and maddening levels and lengths. The technique became common practice as psychological torture in prisons and detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and secret (or black) prisons such as the one used in Rabat, Morocco. In a declassified CIA report, Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities, specifics of the technique are laid out for soldiers and agents:
As a practical guide, there is no permanent hearing risk for continuous, 24-hours- a-day exposures to sound at 82 dB or lower; at 84 dB for up to 18 hours a day; 90 dB for up to 8 hours, 95 dB for 4 hours, and 100 dB for 2 hours.
This passage from the report is one of the few pertaining to the use of music and white noise that has not been redacted. Along with this report and others released through Freedom of Information Act requests as well as interviews and first-hand experience from former detainees and soldiers, there is a picture that is painted of detainees being shackled in stress positions within dark rooms that were extremely cold or hot while being forced to listen to deafening music for hours and days. Ruhal Ahmed, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, described his experience in a 2009 interview, “It makes you feel like you are going mad. You lose the plot, and it's very scary to think that you might go crazy because of all the music, because of the loud noise, [ . . . ] So after awhile it just plays with your mind.” Though music has been used before in war and psychological operations, the recent development in the method is much more scientific to quickly remove a prisoner’s identity, making them more malleable, and to “maximize his feeling of vulnerability and helplessness.”
The audio component captures, within seconds, the disorientating psychological effect that the detainees experienced during the music. It is a selection of the music used during the torture, where the songs are overlaid upon each other while being played at the same time, as an orchestra of confusion and psychosis. The corresponding visual work is the sheet music for each song used, but also layered upon each other until the musical notation redact and remove any readable information completely.
At the height of their use during the War on Terror, there were least 50 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, hovering over Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Drones are remotely operated aircrafts used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as attack missions. Though the plane and ground crew remain in strategic locations throughout the Middle East and South Asia, the pilots that operate the drones are located over 7,500 miles away linked by a satellite connection.
YouTube War is a series of drone videos, collected from YouTube and other online video sources, overlaid with the soundtrack of the video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops. The videos are posted as war porn by soldiers and meant to excite the viewer at the climax of destruction and death. The videos also display the lack of clarity and understanding of the circumstances, and offer war as a video game; completely disconnected from the violence and the victims.