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Conflict, Terror, Spectacle: A Closing Conversation with Edmund Clark

Date May 02, 2018
Type Panel

Edmund Clark is joined by performance artist and scholar Elise Morrison, assistant professor of theater studies at Yale; Thomas Keenan, director of the Human Rights Project and associate professor of comparative literature at Bard College; and Dror Ladin, staff attorney at the ACLU National Security Project, for a discussion on the intersections of conflict, policy-making, and new forms of visualization in our globalized, surveilled culture of spectacle. This exchange draws on themes from the current ICP Museum exhibition Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died, enriching the conversation around Clark’s work about the impact of the War on Terror during the final week of the show.


Edmund Clark is an award-winning British photographer whose work links history, politics, and representation. He has received worldwide recognition for his work, including the Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for outstanding photography for public service, the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award, a 2017 W. Eugene Smith Fellowship, and, along with Crofton Black, a 2017 ICP Infinity Award and the 2016 Rencontres d’Arles Photo-Text Book Award. His work was the subject of major solo exhibitions, Edmund Clark: War of Terror, at the Imperial War Museum, London, and Terror Incognitus, at Zephyr Raum für Fotogra e, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Manheim, Germany. He teaches at the London College of Communication, part of the University of the Arts London.

Elise Morrison is an Assistant Professor of Theater Studies at Yale. Her book, Discipline and Desire: Surveillance Technologies in Performance was published by University of Michigan Press in 2016. In 2015 Morrison edited a special issue on “Surveillance Technologies in Performance” for the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (Routledge, 11.2) and has published on this topic in IJPADM, Theater Magazine, and TDR. In recent years she has performed her surveillance cabaret show, “Through the Looking Glass,” in Boston and Providence, and, in collaboration with Jamie Jewett, Luke Dubois, and Thalia Field, created Zoologic, an original surveillance-dance-theater piece for FirstWorks in Providence, RI in 2015.Her current research focuses on theatrical performances that stage technologies of contemporary warfare, from military drones to virtual reality interfaces used to train and rehabilitate soldiers, in order to investigate how live performance might intervene in the ethics and aesthetics of war fought “at a distance.”

Thomas Kennan teaches human rights, media, and literature at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson NY. His most recent book, co-written with Eyal Weizman, is Mengele's Skull (2012), on the emergence of human rights forensics. With Carles Guerra, he curated the exhibition "Antiphotojournalism" at FOAM Amsterdam and La Virreina in Barcelona, and he is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Human Rights and Humanity. 

Dror Ladin is a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project. He has litigated numerous cases involving national security, detention, and torture.  His experience includes representing torture survivors and victims in Salim v. Mitchell, the first successful lawsuit arising out of the CIA torture program, and securing the release of previously-secret documents in cases brought under the Freedom of Information Act.