Santiago Sierra is known for exploring the relationships between labour, capital, empire and oppression through poetic and frequently controversial actions. His representations of the exploitative transactions of everyday life often involve contracting people to perform useless, degrading or repetitive tasks.
The work issues a critique of the brutality of capitalism, using capitalism’s own logic and methods. It touches on a range of related themes including immigration, exclusion, separation, invisibility, war, exploitation, dignity, resistance and the art market. Offering little by way of apology or solution to the predicament of those involved, Sierra’s work presents ethical dilemmas for both spectator and art institution and often implicates the audience in the events they witness.
In two new site-specific works commissioned by Void—Veterans and Psychophonies—Sierra addresses the legacies of the conflict in Northern Ireland through an engagement with demilitarised sites and former soldiers. Employing flying drones, video, sound recordings and postering, Sierra’s latest interventions engage provocatively with how the conflict has been presented.
Veterans is a development of an ongoing project, in which Sierra employs military veterans to stand facing the corner within gallery spaces. In this instance, five British Army veterans were contracted to stage the action in Ebrington, a former army barracks located on the banks of the River Foyle. A flying drone camera captured the performance of the veterans, most of whom served in Ebrington, within the deteriorating decommissioned still images from Veterans will be presented in public spaces throughout the city. A related work buildings dealing with the legacies of conflict, the sound installation Psychophonies, will consist of three high fidelity recordings of locations in and around the city where torture is alleged to have been used.
Curated by Sara Greavu & Jonathan Cummins.