Gaming in Waziristan

Art & Culture

Artists have always worked with trauma be it personal or collective and never has it been easier to access other people’s trauma via the volume of imagery available for plunder through global technology. The use of documentary images and ‘found’ footage is endemic to contemporary visual arts practice, often employed by ideologically driven practitioners and sometimes exploited for sensation. Beaconsfield responds to a ‘peaceful call to arms’ issued by the human rights agency Reprieve to cultural practitioners.

21 July 6-9pm
Exhibition launch with Clive Stafford Smith in conversation with Shahzad Akbar

Noor Behram has taken considerable risks to document what we in the democratic west might consider to be abuses of basic human rights, drawing our attention to a huge increase, on Obama’s watch, in the use of unmanned aircraft for the “War on Terror”. Following the example set by the US, within twenty years nearly one third of the RAF could be made up remotely controlled drones. What are the implications of conducting war according to the ethics of Nintendo? Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith, along with Pakistani human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar, speaks to launch the exhibition Gaming in Waziristan. Reprieve will be promoting their new arts initiative Bugsplat at the event. (Bugsplat is the official term used by the US authorities when human beings are successfully killed with drone missiles).

Clive Adrian Stafford Smith OBE is a British lawyer who specialises in the areas of civil rights and the death penalty in the United States of America. He is the founder of the human rights organization Reprieve and in 2005 received the Gandhi International Peace Award.

Noor Behram, Documents from the Frontier, 2007-2011
A cache of hitherto unseen images taken by a local journalist in the tribal regions of Pakistan reveal the unequal human cost of remotely controlled war machines.

Butler Brothers, The Ethical Governor, 2010
Butler Brothers employ the codes and aesthetics of 3D animation to provide a satirical critique of Western capitalism and its imperialist imperatives.

Nooshin Farhid, Conic Studies, 2010
Farhid sifts through information-overload to construct elusive collages of moving image, alluding to the structures of power.

The exhibition Gaming in Waziristan is curated by Beaconsfield to deliver a cultural context in which to debate the issues raised by documentary photographs in possession of Reprieve. With special thanks to Alexa de Ferranti, Iben la Cour and Southampton Solent University.

Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantnamo Bay.

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Beaconsfield is a Regularly Funded Organisation of Arts Council England and looks forward to working with ACE as a National Portfolio Organisation.

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