Roger Grasas (ES) “Ha Aretz (The Promised Land)” - Helphoto 2022



Suspicious Objects
At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, fingerprints and a computer-saved photograph were taken for the data stock of the U.S. immigration authorities upon arrival. A few days later, several bombs were detonated in London, followed by a worldwide chain of suicide bombings. In the New York City Subway, people and their luggage were being checked, because of a mere suspicion. In the streets there were objects, with no apparent owner nearby. But are they suspicious, too? Who or what makes these objects suspicious? A (photo) documentation or a conspiracy?

Hans Magnus Enzensberger describes the apocalypse as a “catastrophe in the mind”, due to its overwhelming multitude of images. In her artistic work, Silke Koch deals with public space as a place of social representation and questions its suitability for the foundation of identity. “If you see something – say something” is a slogan that keeps New York’s citizens alert to the feared bombing of unattended suitcases, backpacks and other objects with the alarm level ‘orange’ (highest warning level). Tracking this warning, a photographic collection of suspicious objects/ sculptures was created according to guidelines listed on the internet. The photos depict (presumably) unattended objects and ‘document’ them, following a system of registration – the objects are given a number, description and location. The phenomenon of Covid-19 has parallels to the slogan, “If you see something – say something”. This is paradoxical, as viruses, unlike (supposedly) unattended objects, are not visible to the human eye. In case of both events, the location of situation-based trust is a public space. Thus, the public space becomes the venue of scenarios that call our trust into question in an unimaginable way.

Silke Koch (b. 1964, Leipzig) studied Photography at HGB Leipzig from 1993-1998 after working in education, childcare, and as a basket weaver (1981-1989). In 2003 she finished her Master’s degree having Prof. Astrid Klein as her personal mentor. Since 2014 Koch teaches a photography class at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig.

Silke Koch (DE) "Suspicious Objects" - Helphoto 2020
Silke Koch (DE) "Suspicious Objects" - Helphoto 2020