Events & Courses

Artist Talk: Lewis Bush, Shadows of the State

Thursday 1st June 17

Lewis Bush is a photographer, writer and curator interested in power and the ways it is created and contested.

Shadows of the State

Officially the Cold War ended in 1991, but it’s reverberations continue to this day. One example of this continuity are Numbers stations, shortwave radio broadcasts of coded messages believed to be intended for undercover agents. While the height of their activity was during some of the tensest periods of the twentieth century these stations continue to operate today, transmitting their oblique messages to persons unknown.

Shadows of the State adapts open source research and satellite image interpretation techniques in order to investigate these mysterious broadcasts and to locate the likely transmitter sites of thirty of these stations. These sites are then mapped using high resolution satellite imagery and the signals themselves are made visible to in the form of radio spectrograms alongside recordings and extensive information about each station.

Shadows of the State is partly about the possibility of turning the practices and technologies of espionage back against their users, and in doing so bringing some light and accountability to a world which exists in stark contrast to these things. But it is also about the difficulties of exploring a topic where certainty is almost impossible to come by, and where paranoia and conspiracy collide constantly with objective fact.

Shortlisted for the LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2015, the Bar Tur Book Award 2015, Self-Publish Riga Dummy Award 2016 and the LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2016. Forthcoming in 2017 from Brave Books.

View the Shadows of the State book dummy

Artist Bio

For his first major work The Memory of History (2012) Bush travelled through ten European countries documenting the way the past was being manipulated to political ends in the context of the economic crisis and recession. In War Primer 3 (2013) he appropriated an appropriative work of photographic art to question the method of its production and the wider inequitable economics of the world. More recent works include Metropole (2015) in which he critiqued the architectural transformation of London and the city’s growing inequality by subverting the imagery of London’s luxury and corporate developments into a dystopian vision of the city’s future. Alongside Bush’s photographic practice, he writes extensively on photography and visual culture, curates exhibitions, and is a lecturer in documentary photography at London College of Communication and a visitor at other institutions around the United Kingdom.

Venue: Belfast Exposed
Start Time: 14.00 - End Time: 15.00


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