Terrordrama on a Friday night: interactive-art installation brings torture home

WHILE visiting an art exhibition on a Friday night for a glass of wine and a gentle meander through the gallery would usually be a relaxing way to end the week, visitors to the Bow Arts Open 2012 exhibition last night could opt to liven-up their evening with a bit of gentle torture.

More in keeping with Abu Ghraib than a Bermondsey art studio, participatory art-piece Terrordrama brings a small taste of the west’s ‘clean-torture’ tactics to those brave enough to try.

After signing a disclaimer, participants were immediately deprived of their faculties with blacked-out goggles and hands cuffed behind their back before even entering the chamber space.

That was enough for one girl who promptly backed out and handed the goggles to her boyfriend.

It was this sense of fear and uncertainty that Brazilian art interventionists Sofia Dawe and Juliana Glam of 6th Hour Productions hoped to install following the shocking revelations of the US Army’s treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘The aim is to create a situation in which the participants are exposed to an emotional experiment, becoming the centre and focus of the work and thus not just another spectator’, they said.

Once in the chamber participants were taken through a sequence of disorienting abuses that handed control of their senses to the interrogators ending with a quite literally breathtaking experience.

Shevonne Cohen, who took part in the piece, said: “It was quite disconcerting. The worst bit was when you couldn’t see, even though you know they are not going to harm you. I think it does give you the slightest insight into [what detainees went through], that sense of having no control whatsoever brings it home to you. Its quite disorientating.”

For more information visit www.6thhourproductions.com/terrordrama

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