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 21st century has brought about a security doctrine which permeates all aspects of everyday life. A new military urbanism projects life itself as war— no longer fought between soldiers on remote fields, but in the streets of our cities, in our smart phones, cars, infrastructure and social behavior. The contradictions that emerge on the blurred lines between security and control are defining of our time. HRTLND is a work of photographs and written essays that tries to cut through to those contradictions.
The photographs are made, with few exceptions, in Europe and the United States between 2013 and 2020. From metropolitan street scenes and private homes, to desolate border zones in Arizona and south Europe, back into city centres and sites of protest juxtaposed with artificial spaces of both real and virtual war simulation.
HRTLND exists in various forms, appearing both in and outwith spaces delegated for art. It also exists as 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.