The new exhibition that's bound to be a hit
Friday 18 July 2008
Visitors to Ben Turnbull's new exhibition should prepare themselves for not only a visual assault but an aural one too.
As they browse his latest protest pop art – including a toy model of Captain America wielding the severed head of Saddam Hussein and a barbed wire-encased crib filled with babies dressed in orange jumpsuits (Breeding Terrorism) – they will be serenaded by tunes from the "torture playlist".
These are the tunes used by American interrogators to disorient, shock and induce sleep deprivation in their prisoners in Iraq.
Among those tracks played over and over again, often at ear-splitting volume, there are the obviously angry – "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade", anything by Eminem – and the jingoistic – Don McLean's "American Pie", Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" – to the downright irritating, including the Sesame Street theme tune.
"What we're talking about here is people in a darkened room, physically inhibited by handcuffs, bags over their heads and music blaring at them," says David Gray, whose "Babylon" has apparently been used as a torture instrument at Abu Ghraib.
"That is nothing but torture. It doesn't matter what the music is – it could be Tchaikovsky's finest or it could be Barney the Dinosaur – it's going to drive you nuts."
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