This project entitled Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition is a collaboration between photographer Edmund Clark and investigator Crofton Black. Negative Publicity confronts 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, over a hundred people suspected of links to al-Qaeda were secretly held by the US Central Intelligence Agency in a worldwide network of hidden detention centres, the CIA’s “black sites”.
The arrests and transfers were conducted without any legal process. Nevertheless, these extraordinary renditions left a paper trail of invoices, documents of incorporation and billing reconciliations, all produced by small-town American businesses enlisted in prisoner transportation. Locations included Poland, Romania and Lithuania, as well as Thailand and Afghanistan. Psychologists and interrogators were authorised to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” to question the suspects.
Negative Publicity is a complex portrayal of the bureaucracy behind the network and the research process that traces it. Black and Clark’s work evokes the appearance of disappearance: they searched for and expose the strikeouts and redactions of official accounts, and in so doing explore the vanishing points of accountability, knowledge, and the law. The pictures do not show the secret journeys or the interrogations that punctuated them, but reveal a glimpse of the places and network linking victims and operators. It is the opacity of these images that reveals something of the condition of extraordinary rendition. They are veneers of the everyday under which the purveyors of detention and interrogation operated in plain sight.
Krakow Photo Month
May 25 to June 24, 2018