HRTLND (2013-)

The day after a massive demonstration dozens of protesters are awakened early by police officers arresting them in their beds. Investigations have taken place overnight on Facebook comparing personal profiles on the social medium with police footage of the protest. I am in my studio, also looking at images. As I browse through the many stacks of small prints on my table I try to wrap my head around the paradox: the technology, provided as a service to help you find and attend an event, is the same one that gets you arrested the day after. That really is our predicament today.

The double bind between security and control is defining of our time. A new military urbanism projects life itself as war— no longer fought between soldiers in forests and on remote fields, but in the streets of our cities, in our smart phones, cars, infrastructure and social behaviour.

HRTLND is a photographic reflection on the militarisation of urban life. In images and written essays I confront the blur of simulation and real behind the fabrication and celebration of war. From metropolitan street scenes to desolate border zones in Arizona and southern Europe, back into developing city centres and sites of protest—all continually juxtaposed with a new European military training city, Schnöggersburg, in Germany.

HRTLND exists in various forms, appearing both in and outwith spaces delegated for art. It is both a combined site specific urban exhibition, walking tour and live reading performance. It is also a book dummy designed by graphic designer Dario Pianesi. The book is wrapped in a poster-size image and a UTM map of the world. An index on the front and back covers of the book order the photographs by the coordinates of their location of recording. UTM is a Military Grid Reference System which renders the world in rectangular zones ignoring nation states and borders.

© MADS HOLM 2023