Stop Colonizing Our Futures

It may be nothing, but it could be something... 

2021 

Working alongside 4 other artists and academics from Humanities, Engineering and Social Sciences to develop projects that critically examine counter-terrorism measures in Birmingham and experiment with alternative notions of security I have produced a series of sculptural works incorporating, isolating and re-presenting academic reports, which analyse the PREVENT/CHANNEL de-radicalisation processes. Stop colonizing our futures, the illuminated sign installed on the front of Eastside Projects, builds on 8 years of working in the context of the public urban space; disrupting the everyday and questioning perceived threats. The set of illuminated bollards which guide your route through the exhibition space are representative of the reordering of cities for ‘protection’; repositioning and reconceptualising their purpose and function. The text chosen evokes emotive responses and questions the terminology and often racialized nature of the legislation.

'Terrorist violence is ubiquitous, we hear and read about it daily in the media and so are encouraged to think about it constantly, some of us have been directly affected and in urban environments we are all potential targets. How are we to respond to this ‘substantial’ threat?

Often the solution offered is more surveillance, more concrete bollards and barriers, more counter terrorism measures. Like many cities Birmingham has responded to the terrorist threat with a range of urban counter-terrorism architectures and preventive security measures.

Some of these are highly visible, for example steel and concrete barriers in the city centre, others less so, for example community engagement that seeks to ‘prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’.

However, research has shown that security features designed to make people feel secure can have a paradoxical effect: rather than making people feel safer, they may arouse feelings of fear and terror.'

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