TORTURE performance/installation
@ DUMBO Arts Festival 2008

Against the backdrop of an animated skull-spangled American flag, and with animated projections underfoot, a performer, covered with images of tortured U.S. war detainees, endures while onlookers strip away the images with forceps.

Set up on the streets of Brooklyn at the intersection of Pearl and Front Streets, the animated flag, undulating across a galvanized steel fence, surrounded by razor wire, blinks between displaying stars and skull-&-crossbones. The sidewalk is also alive with projected animations showing forceps wandering in a field of torture images, picking them up and clearing them away, only for the images to return and fill the area, starting the process all over again. The artist, splayed in frisk position against the fence, saturated in images from the projections and covered head to toe with the same torture photos, remains fixed while examined by onlookers and while viewers, now participants, tear the images from his flesh, using provided forceps. Performance duration: 2 hours. Alongside endurance issues of standing in a fixed position and having stickers pulled off the skin, the artist also endures cold and light rain.

Animated flag backdrop features blinking stars that alternate between being stars and skull-&-crossbones. Artists body is covered in photo stickers depicting torture at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
Animated ground projection features a field of photo stickers being grabbed and taken away by animated forceps
Viewers are encouraged to take a pair of forceps from the first tray, go to the performer and remove a sticker and place it on the second tray.
Torture performance/installation location

© Gearóid Dolan, 2008. All rights reserved