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“I was really interested in overturning the generic convention of war photography which for a number of reasons have always been sort of de-aestheticized,” says Mosse. “You know black and white and very grainy, gritty. Photographers have hidden the potential of the medium and for very sound reasons ethically because they don’t want to be seen to have engaged the landscape of human suffering with beauty.”
Richard Mosse: Making visible an invisible conflict By Nicola Harvey and Rachel Storey
Mosse embraces the infrared medium’s subtle shift in wavelength in an attempt to challenge documentary photography and engage with the unseen, hidden, and intangible aspects of eastern Congo’s situation–a tragically overlooked conflict in which 5.4 million people have died of war related causes since 1998.
To produce The Enclave, Mosse worked collaboratively with the cinematographer Trevor Tweeten to evolve a style of long tracking shots made with Steadicam, resulting in a spectral, disembodied gaze shot on 16mm infrared film. The piece’s haunting, visceral soundscape is layered spatially by eleven point surround sound, composed by Ben Frost from recordings gathered in North and South Kivu.
The Enclave comprises six monumental double-sided screens installed in a large darkened chamber creating a physically immersive experience. This disorienting and kaleidoscopic installation is intended to formally parallel eastern Congo’s multifaceted conflict, confounding expectations and forcing the viewer to interact spatially from an array of differing viewpoints.