Space, in the context of the so-called ‘war on terror’ has taken on an unmistakable, dark existence – that of Black Sites, and camps of displacement. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben claimed the existence of ‘camps’ reveals something fundamental about contemporary life and the power exercised by the modern State over people. The camps to which Agamben refers were not only concentration camps, but also security holding centres. So when reading his book Homo Sacer (1998) we can see how his ideas are easily transferable to multiple camps and states of existence, especially if one wants to understand the concept of Black Sites and the most notorious of them all, Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. According to Agamben, the propensity to banish and dehumanise, like a spectre, keeps returning in the form of camps: the ‘hidden matrix’ of violence and repression of our age.
The point is to situate man in the painting, rather than in front of it (Theo van Doesburg).
This project takes Agamben’s notion of a ‘hidden matrix’, something within, from which something new originates, develops and takes form, and transfers this notion into an aesthetic concept of Concrete Constructivism. Here the basic Guantánamo prison cell size 2.4 x 2.4 x 1.8 metres is drawn out in a grid of colour shapes. Then, as the so-called ‘detainees’ are said to have been also, the grid of colour form is displaced and manipulated producing new shapes and forms. Following traditional notions of concrete art, and through computer manipulation, this work becomes divorced from realism, the figurative and source. The image refers only to itself: no other meaning than itself and its self is a matrix of 2.4 x 2.4 x.1.8.
Agamben, G. (1998). Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford California, Stanford University Press.
Amnesty International UK. (2020). Guantánamo Bay: 14 years of injustice. https://www.amnesty.org. uk/guantanamo-bay-human-rights.
Doward, J. (2014). UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret 'black site' prison, The Guardian, April 13. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/13/cia-black- site-diego-garcia-uk-role.