“A cage went in search of a bird.”
-The Zürau Aphorisms of Franz Kafka
In this series of photographic interventions images culled from the US Navy’s website, linked to the operations being carried out against pirates in Somalia, are cropped, cut, reassembled and reframed under the headings “Surrender” and “Surround.” The lexicon of the sublime landscape is collided with that of military operations. While the sublime landscape is said to surround the viewer thus enticing his soul to surrender, strategic operations are carried out by the navy in order to surround the pirates and force them to surrender.
The ocean is explored as territory that lies outside the realm of governmentality – a site of awe and threat. Day and night enormous quantities of cargo – the embodied process of the distribution of commodities – ply these waters silently, transparently. It is only at the moment of their disappearance that they suddenly become present to us all. Suddenly, when an oil tanker goes missing, its enormous body comes into focus. It is then that the cage goes in search of the bird. Law must be forced upon the lawless in order to make the absent present. In order to, once again, make the present disappear.
Sreshta Rit Premnath