Probative Pictures

Image Proofs in Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure

Standard Operating Procedure directed by Errol Morris offers a concise example of a methodological shift — what we (in Forensic Architecture) have elsewhere called a forensic turn within the investigation of human rights violations and war crimes. The film examines the central role of photography in registering the torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison (2004) as both a technical practice out which discrete image-objects emerged — the scandalous photos of the hooded man and naked human pyramid — and a social technology that produced a series of image-events, which brought US military actors, Iraqi prisoners, and digital technologies into new political configurations organised by various forms of coercive power.


Essay by Susan Schuppli

Ciel Variable (Montreal) guest edited by Vincent Lavoie 

Special Issue Fall 2012 : Contemporary Art and Forensic Imagination