University of California Santa Cruz
United States of America
Ian Alan Paul is an artist and theorist living in the Bay Area of California. His past work has dealt with the topics of border violence and prefigurative social movements. His current research focuses on feminist and poststructuralist critiques of human rights discourses. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and Le Monde, and has been exhibited in galleries in Asia, North America and Europe. He received his MFA and MA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2011and he is in the process of completing his Ph.D. studies in UC Santa Cruz’s Film and Digital Media program.
On August 29th, 2012, the “Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History” was opened to the public. The project operates as a critical fiction, specifically in asserting that the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities have been closed and replaced by a museum which critically reflects on the social and political significance of the prison itself. The first iteration of the museum was launched as a website in attempt to engage with the global public and press, and included works from various artists as well as essays from Judith Butler, Harsha Walia, and others. The opening of the project was covered by the Atlantic, Le Monde, and other online publications and the museum was also featured as an official place on Google maps, despite its status as a fiction.
In relation to mobility, the Guantanamo site offers an opportunity to reflect on the radically violent forms of incarceration and securitization which exist in spaces that inhabit states of exception like the Guantanamo detention facilities. These transnational sites of incarceration very much act against claims to the freedom of movement, and globally figure into processes of border securitization and the various structures of containment. In this presentation, the Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History will be positioned as a resistant imaginary space against these historical processes in offering a speculative present that offers a radically different historical moment than our contemporary one. The paper will also assert critical fiction as a discursive and aesthetic strategy in relation to the politics of mobility, considering the work of Ursula Biemann, Société Réaliste, and others.