Update: Prison Photography collated a Directory of Photographic & Visual Resources for Guantanamo in May 2009.

Guantanamo Prisoner, Political Graffiti. Banksy

Guantanamo Prisoner, Political Graffiti. Banksy

Anyone who says the recent media tour of Guantanamo isn’t a public relations exercise by the lame duck has not had their eyes open. Global media were given a tour of camps 4, 5 and 6 at Gitmo and all the footage was screened and vetted before release.

Video: Here is the Guardian’s three minute offering. With any hope Obama will put this illegal operation out of action in 2009.

Artistic legacy of Guantanamo

Guantanamo Protesters outside the US Embassy, London

Guantanamo Protesters outside the US Embassy, London

Meanwhile, we can think of the potency that the orange jump-suit has gained. It’s another icon of the Bush presidency. With regard it’s establishment and its bare-faced operations, Guantanamo was far outside of the public’s imagination. Our culture stomached the guilt and under the Bush administration it was never likely Guantanamo prison would be brought back into line with international law. Activist and non-activist art protested Guantanamo by subverting the camp’s own visual vocabulary.

UHC Collective. Art Instalation, Manchester, 2003. Guards with replica guns were on duty 24 hrs and followed a regime copied from media reports.

UHC Collective. "This is Camp X-Ray". Art Installation, Manchester, 2003. Guards with replica guns were on duty 24 hrs and followed a regime copied from media reports.

Back on my home turf in Manchester, UHC, a notoriously bold and inventive art collective, scaled up a version of Camp X-Ray on an unused lot in Withington. It was complete with guard towers, fake guns and orders and activity that replicated the media’s reports of Guantanamo, Cuba. See other UHC Projects here, and read the BBC report here.

Road to Guantanamo (2006). A Michael Winterbottom Film

Road to Guantanamo (2006). A Michael Winterbottom Film, Spanish Release

And while we are not focusing entirely on photography, slightly off topic with video, I cannot recommend Road to Guantanamo highly enough. The film tells the ridiculous story of three young British-Pakistanis who were in the wrong place at the wrong time (southern Afghanistan, November 2003), and ended up in Guantanamo for 2 years. Your jaw will not leave the floor.

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