Multimedia Artist Exposes Realities of Torture

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Coco Fusco, a multimedia artist who uses performance, writing, and video, pushes the boundaries of what is accepted in the cultural realm through her most current work titled A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008), a book that offers a mirror image of America's current use of torture.

In order to not only expose the realities of torture via interrogation abuses, but to also provide a critical commentary that reveals political truth, Coco Fusco underwent instruction and training in interrogation techniques at the Prisoner of War Interrogation Resistance Program run by a private entity Team Delta, which consists of former intelligence interrogators in the United States military who seek to provide "authentic military experiences" by allowing trainees to play prisoners of war and instructors to take on the role of interrogators. By the end of the simulation program, each trainee has been interrogated several times to experience what these interrogation tactics feel like.

Immediately after this simulation course, Fusco made the video "Operation Atropos," (2006) which emphasizes through repetition the image of women prisoners being forced to their knees, yelled at, pushed, prodded, and insulted by all-male interrogators. By the end of the film, the detainee women are shown to have been psychologically abused as a direct ramification of threats of death and violence. The film exposes the inevitable results of interrogation that confine prisoners within strict boundaries as they are strainfully forced to give confessions.

coco.span.jpg"Americans need to grow up and admit that as adults we are responsible for what we do, and so are soldiers in uniform. That does not mean that I fail to recognize that orders to engage in abuse came from above -- I believe they did, and I would argue that all those involved in authorizing abuse at Abu Ghraib should also be held responsible." --Coco Fusco: A Field Guide for Female Interrogators

Fusco expanded on this video work further by augmenting the role of women in interrogation abuses and how female-bodied interrogators use their sexuality on male-bodied detainees. In her book, Fusco underscores the abusive torture tactics currently being used by drawing on actual accounts of detainee treatment in US military prisons. By constructing images based on verbal and psychological abuse, Fusco provides a complex analysis beyond the exposure of images from Abu Ghraib. Fusco explores the "psychology of capture" through interrogation abuses that subject prisoners to believing via threats and insinuations that physical violence will be used. Furthermore, detainees are led to believe that nearby screams of trauma and pain are coming from fellow prisoners, a tactic that Fusco learned is particularly useful against women.

This critical exposure of abuse addresses how interrogation tactics are being used as weapons against human lives. We must continue to expose torture as a method to fight against a prison torture state. We cannot back down; we cannot compromise until NO TORTURE is on the world agenda!

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This page contains a single entry published on August 1, 2008 6:30 PM.

One Detainee's Heartbreaking Story of US Torture was the previous entry in this blog.

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