I search for ways to make power visible, and intelligible.
I am not an artist, nor a photographer. I draw ideas from both practices and also from my training and experiences as a historian, humanitarian researcher, documentary photographer, and social scientist, to create works which blend aspects of visual arts, social science, and advocacy. The projects I produce span different media, combining elements of photography, film, installation, and appear in a range of forms, includings as books, exhibitions, online and in augmented reality.
Each of my projects focuses on a specific form of power, ranging from the hard power of opaque security organizations and advanced technological systems to the more abstract power to reshape collective memory or manipulate international laws. However, while each project is designed to be a discrete, self-enclosed work, they are all elements of a much larger and connected inquiry into the nature of power in the time in which we live.
This larger inquiry reflects the reality that these individual forms of power never exist in isolation but are bound closely together. One form of power is often only possible because it is facilitated and supported by another. Therefore, to speak of any one form of power requires an awareness of the larger networks of which it is a part.
But why focus on power? Because I believe it is the thing most definitive of life today, as it is concentrated into ever fewer hands, its mechanisms become more powerful, and it is mobilised to change the lives of greater numbers of people than at any other point in history. Power and its consequences are everywhere, in the cities we inhabit, the devices that we use, the ideas that we consume, and even in the food we eat and the air we breathe.
Yet power itself is invisible, it has no tangible form of its own, and always inhabits something else. It is, in this sense, something both very pure but also very elusive. This quality also poses profound challenges to many traditions of representation, including that of the socially concerned documentary photography which often claims to speak ‘truth to power’ and address power relations, but often ends up in fact becoming complicit in them.
My practice spans twelve major projects, six completed, two in progress, four planned. Together these works seek, in however small a way, to address this contemporary failure to represent power.