Richard Mosse is to present "The Enclave" at the Venice Biennale as part of the Irish Pavillion. The sound element of this new installation was co-commissioned by ECAS festivals Unsound, CTM, Skanu Mezs and Musikprotokoll.
Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost travelled in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a war zone. The resulting installation, "The Enclave", is the culmination of Mosse's attempt to radically rethink war photography, searching for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten war in which 5.4 million people have died.
Mosse used a discontinued military surveillance film to create "The Enclave", a medium that registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, originally designed for camouflage detection. The resulting imagery, shot by Tweeten, renders the jungle war zone in disorientating psychedelic hues. Frost's audio composition, comprised of organic Congolese field recordings, is also part of the work.
Neither scripted nor directed, Congolese rebels return the camera’s predatory gaze in a distinctly confrontational and accusatory manner. The lens seems to mesmerise and provoke those it encounters in "The Enclave", including rebels fighting under the command of those sought for trial by the International Criminal Court. This precarious face-off reveals inherent ambiguities of masculinity, defiance, vulnerability, and indictment.
"The Enclave" immerses the viewer in a challenging and sinister world, posing aesthetic questions in a situation of profound human suffering. At the heart of the project, as Mosse states, is an attempt to bring “two counter-worlds into collision: art’s potential to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language, and photography’s capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world.”
"The Enclave" at the Irish Pavillion at the Venice Biennal opens on June 1. A special version of "The Enclave" will be presented in October 2013 at Unsound festival in Krakow. CTM plans to present the piece in Berlin in 2014.
The Commissioner and Curator of "The Enclave" is Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland. Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. The sound composition for "The Enclave" was co-produced by the project "ECAS - Networking Tomorrow's Art for an Unknown Future" by ECAS – European Cities of Advanced Sound with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.