Monday, 1 November 2010

BATTLESPACE - unrealities of war

Battlespace: The environment, factors and conditions, which must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space, and the included enemy and friendly forces, facilities, weather, terrain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and information environment within the operational areas and areas of interest.
—US Department of Defense.

Battlespace, an exhibition of photographs from Afghanistan and Iraq that brings together the work of twenty-five photojournalists around the world, comes to London this November.

The exhibition presents an unsanitised view of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to a public that has been shielded from disturbing images of war. Battlespace questions the perceptions, agendas, and narratives of the military and the media, and attempts to offer an unfiltered account from a group of photographers who saw it firsthand.

These photographs were made in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they don’t claim to depict either country. They are glimpses of an alternate reality built upon those countries. The images do not provide a comprehensive account of these wars, or an understanding of these nations or their peoples. They are fragments, seen in off-moments behind the walls of concrete super-bases, or outside them, through night-vision goggles and ballistic eye shields.

Counter insurgency theory, once again fashionable, holds that the prize of modern warfare is not the territory but the minds of the population within. The battlespace is not solely defined by map lines or grid squares, but also in the areas of perception and illusion. In this shifting, human terrain, there are no facts or truths, only competing agendas. Messages are shaped and transmitted, from bunkered press officers to journalists who report from behind blast-walls and cubicle partitions. Unpleasant, complex, or off-message images are filtered by both sides, and war stories are recycled through the echo chamber. Battlespace aims to present unfiltered and uncensored images and thereby give the viewer a real opportunity to discover, for themselves, the realities of war.

BATTLESPACE – unrealities of war
Photographs from Afghanistan and Iraq by
Andrew Cutraro, Ashley Gilbertson, Balazs Gardi, Ben Lowy, Christoph Bangert, Eros Hoagland, Ghaith Abdul Ahad, Guy Calaf, Jason Howe, Jehad Nga, Lucian Read, Luke Wolagiewicz, Moises Saman, Petervan Agtmael, Rita Leistner, Stefan Zaklin, Stephanie Sinclair, Teru Kuwayama , Yuri Kozyrev

Battlespace runs from November 9th to 30th 2010 at Great Western Studios, 55, Alfred Road, London W2 5EU. Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday: Noon – 5pm

Battlespace will be accompanied by a programme of talks, film, poetry and Q&A events related to the exhibition and its subjects. Details TBA – Watch this space for full details:

For further information, please contact / 07984 462 358 or / 07814 862 834 ,

Teru Kurayama, the show’s original curator and a participating photographer is available for interview until Nov 8th, when he’ll be traveling back to Afghanistan.

In association with the Photography Course and Media & Communication Department at Coventry University, Great Western Studios & The Frontline Club