Richard Mosse - The Castle
he Castle is a meticulous documentation of refugee camps and staging sites along mass migration routes into the European Union via Turkey from the Middle East and Central Asia. The result of numerous preparatory visits, often revealing changing immigration policy, Mosse has filmed each site from high elevation to reveal camps that are frequently closed, off limits, or restricted to photographers. By attaching a thermographic video camera designed for long range border enforcement and insurgent detection to a robotic motion control arm, Mosse has gathered the source footage used to composite the resulting ‘heat maps’. These durational photographs are thermal panoramas made up of hundreds or sometimes thousands of overlapping ‘cells’ or individual frames, a truncated spatio-temporal form that speaks to the lived experience of refugees indefinitely awaiting asylum and trapped in a Byzantine state of limbo. Describing space and perspective in ways that seem to echo depictions of medieval cityscapes, such as the Nuremberg Chronicle, these images document the fences, security gates, portaloos, loudspeakers, food queues, tents and temporary shelters of camp architecture. The various ways in which each camp interrelates with adjacent citizen infrastructure are made apparent – by turns marginal, ruderal, isolated, overlooked, concealed, integrated, dispersed, regulated, militarized – allowing the reader to meditate on the situations in which these people are forced to live, and what that shows us about the approach and policies of each host nation and community. Reading heat as both metaphor and index,The Castle allows the reader to meditate on the current conditions of refugees through ideas of hypothermia, exposure, climate change, mortality, and biopolitics.