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Irish Artist Richard Mosse Uses Thermo Camera for a Unique Portrayal of the Urgent Refugee Crisis

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 15 March 2017
Art & Design Editor, Freire Barnes, spoke with Irish artist Richard Mosse about his major film installation, Incoming, at London’s Barbican Centre.

After the success of his phenomenal project, The Enclave, which was originally shown at the Irish Pavilion as part of the 2013 Venice Biennale, there was no doubt that Richard Mosse was not only an exceptional conceptual documentary photographer, but that he had a unique way of using technology to draw attention to urgent global issues.

Portrait of Richard Mosse | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images
Portrait of Richard Mosse | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images

For his latest project Incoming, he used a weapons-grade camera to capture the truly haunting epidemic of the refugee crisis in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The immersive multi-channel video installation is accompanied by an all-encompassing score, composed by Ben Frost, which only enhances the intensity of the monochrome visuals that depict the thousands of displaced human beings seeking a better life.

Installation view of 'Incoming', Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost. The Curve, Barbican Centre | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images
Installation view of Incoming by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican Centre, 2017 | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images

‘All of this work bears witness, bears testimony to events in recent history,’ Mosse explained when we met up to talk about the show that beautifully blends ethics and aesthetics, and the way in which his work challenges documentary photography. ‘So it is documentary but it also transcends the conventional visual language of documentary, or it tries to through an unorthodox approach, examining the medium by using a military surveillance camera.’

Installation view of 'Incoming' by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican Centre, 2017 | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images
Installation view of Incoming by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican Centre, 2017 | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images
Installation view of 'Incoming', Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost. The Curve, Barbican Centre | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images
Installation view of Incoming by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican Centre, 2017 | Photo by Tristan Fewings / Getty images

Richard Mosse: Incoming is at Barbican’s Curve Gallery, Silk St, London, EC2Y 8DS until April 23, 2017.