In this commissioned web project for Creative Time Reports, the experimental archive Index of the Disappeared—Mariam Ghani’s and Chitra Ganesh’s collaborative, ongoing exploration of the costs of post-9/11 detention, secrecy and disappearance—provides a portal into some of its current research, centered around Guantanamo as both a reality in place and an idea in circulation.
The U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay has, over the last 11 years, become much
more than a place. In the sphere of U.S. domestic politics, it is an irresolvable problem over which pitched partisan battles have been fought. Its continued existence is a snarl in the larger geopolitical fabric, an irritant that constantly recalls the role of the United States in theorizing and proliferating a state of global war.
This digital archive has been visualized as a rhizomatic, relational, hyperlinked card catalogue. When a topic card is clicked, a related image or image sequence appears. Linked information includes a broad cross-section of publicly available archival resources—a mix of the official and the mundane that includes autopsies, affidavits, correspondence, interviews, invoices, legal analysis, media accounts, NGO reports, transcripts, testimony, treaties and more.
Like the physical archive maintained by Index of the Disappeared, this web project uses idiosyncratic categories and descriptors to trace new relationships between existing documents, and pays close attention to slippages in usage of language and definition of terms as well as omissions, ruptures or oddities in the records. Explore to the interactive website here.