Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play, Gitmo on Sale: Debi Cornwall

Gallery 1401

“Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play, Gitmo on Sale” looks at the grim absurdity of daily life for both prisoners and guards at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (known as “Gitmo”) through their residential and leisure spaces, as no faces may be depicted per military regulation. Prisoners’ and guards’ experiences can never be equated. Yet despite the show of fun, they have something in common: life is defined by routine, order and tedium. Everyone, it seems, is counting the days until they can go home. Of course, the detainees do not know if this day will ever come. “Gitmo on Sale” investigates the role of commerce in normalizing the exercise of American military power, by way of gift shop souvenirs sold on base. Her third and final chapter, “Beyond Gitmo,” is almost complete, offering an unprecedented global view of once-alleged terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay, after they are cleared and freed. According to Cornwall, “Gitmo’s prisoners are reviled as ‘the worst of the worst,’ but the majority were innocents kidnapped and sold to American forces. Scores have been released home or transferred to third countries to begin new lives.” Cornwall collaborated with released men to convey the profound alienation of indefinite detention and displacement in environmental portraits in their new surroundings – from the back, replicating the military’s “no faces” rule in the free world.

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Above: "Smoke Break, Camp America."

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