Incoming: Richard Mosse on the Refugee Crisis

Incoming: Richard Mosse on the Refugee Crisis

This article appears in SUITCASE
Volume 20: Homelands

the past five years the forced displacement that has occurred
across the Middle East and North Africa has resulted in the
greatest humanitarian crisis of our age.

It is difficult to imagine the complete and utter hopelessness
that could lead someone to abandon their home and undertake such a
dangerous and potentially futile journey. However, millions have
been forced to do just that.

The figures are appalling. Global refugee levels are as high as
they’ve ever been, and since 2012 more than 5million people have
fled Syria alone. Every minute 20 more are forcibly displaced by
conflict or persecution around the world.

The crisis has largely come to be defined by Europe’s response
to this displacement. A massive surge in the number of people
arriving on European shores has fostered an “us and them”
mentality. More and more we tend to see the existence of a
defensive mindset, whereby those who need help the most are
horribly dehumanised.

With no resolution in sight, artists have increasingly looked to
respond to the crisis and engage with the plight of the refugee.
One such figure is the Irish photographer Richard Mosse, whose multimedia work has challenged
the very medium of documentary photography.

For his projects Infra (2011) and The Enclave (2013) Mosse spent
three years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, shooting on
discontinued infrared film, which was first used for reconnaissance
during the Second World War. This unusual format transformed the
conflict-ravaged country into a surreal landscape dominated by
hallucinatory hues of pink.

Incoming, Mosse’s latest body of work, focuses on the refugee
crisis. Working alongside the composer Ben Frost and the
cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, he travelled across the Middle East
and North Africa. Mosse mapped the journeys of refugees in a
multi-channel video installation which was shown at
‘s Barbican Centre earlier this year. A book has been
published using stills from the film.

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