Artist Richard Mosse documents humanitarian crises and environmental catastrophes by making the unseen visible.
What the Camera Cannot See follows Mosse and his collaborators Ben Frost and Trevor Tweeten as they travel across the world to film under-reported world events in zones of conflict, repurposing surveillance technologies and scientific tools to capture stories and scenes that evoke deeper understanding and motivate audiences to act. In locations like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where over 50 armed groups are engaged in combat, or along paths of migration from the Middle East and North Africa into the European Union, the artist works to bring attention to conflict and suffering around the world. “My power, if I have any,” says Mosse, “is to be able to show you the things that I’ve seen in a more powerful way than perhaps the pictures you’ve seen in the newspaper of the same thing.”
Mosse’s work calls specific attention to the tools we use to capture and distribute information about global events. He actively questions why certain conflicts remain relatively unseen, as in the DRC with The Enclave (2012-2013), or interrogates systems of targeted surveillance and dehumanization, as in Incoming (2014-2017). These projects point not only to the problems of the situations and locales in which Mosse and his collaborators work, but also the difficulties that we encounter in perceiving and understanding these events and processes as viewers. The conflicts and crises that Mosse documents are seemingly too opaque and complex to be appropriately described, and so often go hidden or misrepresented. This issue is especially present in his recent projects, which center on the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon is at the heart of his new works Broken Spectre (2018-2022) and Tristes Tropiques (2018-2022), which bring the realities of climate change into focus by revealing both its mundane operations and its catastrophic effects. The artist uses multispectral imaging, cameras that capture ultraviolet light, and tropes of Western media to show audiences the various scales and impacts of deforestation in the Amazon as well as their own implication in it. “We can’t see the climate changing, and that’s really the inherent problem.” says Mosse, “It’s on a scale beyond what we can perceive.”
Broken Spectre is currently on show at 180 The Strand, London.
Exhibition ends December 30th. Tickets available here.