when we made photo op in 2005 we were intent on making a set of anti war posters ahead of the G8 summit in scotland. We were against the invasion of iraq by the us and it’s allies, we had demonstrated on the streets of london alongside a million other citizens and millions more worlwide. The invasion went ahead a month later and by 2005 the civic structure of iraq was destroyed and daily life for civilians across iraq devastated.
In the montage of blair we were making clear our opinion of the depth of his reason for invading Iraq, extremely shallow, and heavily criticising his flagrant abuse of power.
There has been ongoing censorship of the image in the corporate sector but the freedom of press laws are strong in the UK and are perhaps the one area of civil liberties that has not been successfully attacked by the terrorism bill laws brought in by blair and his government and continued by cameron and the conservatives.
Freedom of speech and freedom of press is a fundamental off democracies – without it any claim to democracy is just gestural not practical and has no chance of progressing.
It allows nasty violations of human rights to go uncriticesed and unchallenged.
It heads towards dictatorship.
We strongly condemn the authorities in turkey for attacking nokta magazine and questioning their right to criticise government actions – nokta’s work is vital to all turkish people and vital to government and citizen alike. Without freedom of press what is government but an unchallenged, deaf, old power.
Photo Op is currently on show at The Imperial War Museum, Manchester in Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War exhibition.
The IWM chose it as the lead image for their exhibition campaign, to be posted on bus shelters and hoardings around Manchester. The corporations who own the advertising space, CBS Outdoor, ClearChannel and JCDecaux banned it.
CBS stated to the IWM that it would not run anything deemed to be “involving explosions” on public transport media, JC Decaux gave no reason but refused to reconsider. These three multinationals own all the public advertising space in Manchester and almost all the rest of the country (CBS own the licence to all advertising space in the London Underground). They arbitrate on what the public can see in the streets of our cities and in public space. They deem violent images okay so long as they are selling a product (see an advert currently up on the London Underground for Frederick Forsyth’s book KILL LIST the image is a drone flying out of a massive explosion with the strapline SEARCH.LOCATE.DESTROY. ).
Harold Pinter reading WAR at kennardphillipps' opening of 'Award' exhibiting at Henry Peacock Gallery, London, 2004.
WAR is an anthology of poems published by Faber and Faber, 2003 ISBN: 9780571221318
Harold Pinter's response to world events is always pure and simple: he writes with an economy that throws the stark light of truth onto any given subject. There is no fudge, no dallying, no compromise.
The eight poems and one speech published here testify to the strength and lucidity of his unwavering view on war and provide a declaration for humanity.
see here to see Hamed Yousefi’s interview and review of our work, in persian……….
BLUE MURDER at HangUp Gallery, Dalston, London