The Glomar Response is the term that refers to the prerogative of the United States government to “neither confirm nor deny” the existence and the possession of certain intelligence. The expression has inspired the new exhibition of James Bridle, who believes The Glomar Response is the source of all the uncertainty present in contemporary life. The London based artist explores hidden information and its visual potential with the use of computer codes, investigative journalism and Freedom of Information requests. The exhibition will be on display at NOME gallery in Berlin and will present a series of artworks dealing with the political information that are marked as classified.
The Glomar Response also known as Glomarization or Glomar denial was formulated by the government of the United States in 1975 as a way of withholding data from the public. The lack of transparency has increased since the seventies and is backed with the creation of computer code and secret law. The artist also portrays an opposite effects of new technologies that can be used to retain but also to investigate the secluded information and act with greater efficiency. The Glomar Response exhibition is divided in several conceptual units one of which is a Seamless Transitions, a video work commissioned by The Photographer’s gallery in London. Seamless Transitions uses witness testimonies and architectural know-how in order to reconstruct the physical space of three unphotographable sites where authorities of the United Kingdom decide the faith of its immigrants. The film reconstructs the appearance but also the legal and social context of the Special Immigration Appeals Court, a privately run prison and a Inflite Jet Center private terminal at Stansted Airport.
The Fraunhofer Lines are a series of artworks named after the gaps in the sun’s spectra that was discovered by a German scientist Joseph von Fraunhofer. Although designed as the sun spectra The Fraunhofer Lines artworks deal with rather gloomy topic. The title is chosen to describe the discrepancies between different official documents including torture and police surveillance reports. Waterboarded Documents represent an analysis of websites and internet domains connected to the British Indian Ocean Territory. This ocean archipelago belongs to the United Kingdom but is often used by the United States as a military base and a CIA rendition site. While mimicking the water damage that supposedly destroyed evidence of UK role in CIA rendition, James Bridle depicts the collusion between technological networks and various forms of deeply rooted imperial power. In a statement for Widewalls, James Bridle describes his several years long creative process:
"The Glomar Response is the result of several years of thinking about technology, secrecy, transparency, architecture, law and networks. It operates at the limit of what is visible and not visible, drawing connections between military and civilian discourses, between empire and the internet, and the digital tools which can empower and oppress us. Addressing these issues is one way of seeing the world around us more clearly, and thinking about how to act within it.“
The Glomar Response exhibition at NOME gallery in Berlin will open on July 24th. This will be the first solo exhibition in Germany for the London based artist and theorist. The Glomar Response exhibition represents a culmination of James Bridle’s long term investigative interest in computer network infrastructure, transparency and technological surveillance. Artworks that will be presented at NOME gallery in Berlin positions themselves at the confluence of opposite yet interweaving areas of art, science and political activism. The Glomar Response exhibition closes on September 5th, 2015 at NOME gallery in Berlin.
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Images courtesy of NOME gallery