[…] A Not So Simple Case for Torture – Sam Durant – onestar press
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Sam Durant, […] A Not So Simple Case for Torture
Published 2008

140 x 225 mm
150 pages
Cover: Paperback, color, glossy finish
Binding: glue bound
Interior: black and white
Edition limited to 250 numbered copies
Price: 35 €

ID 517: Special Topics in Art and Politics: A Not So Simple Case for Torture
A project by students at CALARTS with Nancy Buchanan, Sam Durant and Martha Rosler

This book is one result of a class we taught at the California Institute of the Arts in the Spring of 2007. We began discussing the idea of teaching a class together the prior year, to see how young artists would address the human rights abuses and illegal wars the U.S. Government was (and is) committing so openly and, thus far, with near impunity. As an initial focus, Nancy proposed that students up-date, re-make or somehow respond to Martha Rosler’s prescient 1983 video tape, A Simple Case for Torture, or How to Sleep at Night. Martha Rosler generously agreed to join us as a visiting artist, and to discuss strategies for making political art today. A Simple Case for Torture centers on Rosler’s analysis of a Newsweek opinion essay written by Michael Levin, Philosophy Professor at City University of New York. Levin’s arguments in favor of torture would seem to stand morality on its head. To support his argument he employs the “what if“ scenarios of the ticking time bomb and the kidnapped baby, hypothetical situations that virtually never happen in the real world. Rosler’s tape unpacks the arguments and questions about torture and demonstrates that history repeats itself as deadly farce; the issues of fear and ends justifying means have returned in recent years like terrible boomerangs. As we researched the subject of human rights we saw arguments for torture virtually identical to Levin’s being made almost daily in the mainstream media.
(From the foreword of the book)

Participitating artists and students:
Ian Arenas - Hayley Blatte - Nancy Buchanan - Audrey Chan - Sam Durant - Donna Golden - Steven J Golliday - Nicholas Grider - Jomo Jelani Haywood - Joanna Ingco - James McCardell - Elana Mann - Morvarid Moini-Yekta - Tomas Moreno - Chris Revelle - Martha Rosler - Amanda Vigil - Carlin Wing - Chie Yamayoshi