Did You Kiss the Dead Body?
Did you Kiss the Dead Body? is an ongoing project which makes reference to the last line of Harold Pinter's poem Death, read by Pinter during his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, a speech marked by deep criticism of American foreign policy, and the nature of truth, language and power.
Did You Kiss the Dead Body? grows out of an eight year reflection on the nature and social implication of autopsy reports and death certificates emerging from U.S. military bases and prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, first made public on the ACLU's website in 2004 under the Freedom of Information Act. The texts highlight relations of abuse and power through descriptions of anonymous Iraqi and Afghan male prisoners, young and old, that have died in U.S. custody. The reports employ a rational scientific language cataloging the internal and external details of the men's bodies while attempting to determine a cause of death, ranging from "natural" to "undetermined" to "homicide."
Did You Kiss the Dead Body? is a conceptually linked series of works comprised of ink anatomical drawings on marbled autopsy texts, sculptures which draw on the tradition of medical wax castings of the body and a series of site specific installations. Marbling, with its origins in Iran and Turkey, is employed in the context of this project as a visual referent to the internal body. The European anatomical illustrations provide a second and simultaneous view of the inner and outer body and create another circuit of meaning that is endlessly looped between the text and the image.