Artist and photographer Richard Mosse tells the story behind the making of his latest film, The Enclave (2013), shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been shown in the Irish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, and exhibited at Jack Shainman Gallery this year.

Thanks to a special Kodak 16 mm infrared film color, green turns magically into pink. Let it entchant you!

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Richard Mosse: The Impossible Image from Frieze on Vimeo.



The Enclave

Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 W 20th St, New York

22 February – 22 March, 2014

Mosse was drawn to eastern Congo because of the inherent problems of representing its cancerous cycle of war. Struck by the absence of a concrete trace of the conflict on the landscape, Mosse documented rebel enclaves and sites of human rights violations in a way which attempts to overturn traditional realism, and see beneath the surface.

Using an extinct type of infrared film once employed by the military to detect camouflaged installations from the air, Mosse renders ‘The Heart of Darkness’ in irradiating Technicolor. With a significantly slower life than images constructed by photojournalism, Mosse’s highly aesthetic approach considers problematic imagery from an oblique angle that strategically allows a different temporality in seeing.

Mosse embraces the infrared medium’s subtle shift in wavelength in an attempt to challenge documentary photography, and engage with the unseen, hidden and intangible aspects of eastern Congo’s situation – a tragically overlooked conflict in which 5.4 million people have died of war related causes since 1998.

To produce The Enclave, Mosse worked collaboratively with the cinematographer Trevor Tweeten to evolve a style of long tracking shot made with Steadicam, resulting in a spectral, disembodied gaze shot on 16mm infrared film. The piece’s haunting, visceral soundscape is layered spatially by eleven point surround sound, composed by Ben Frost from recordings gathered in North and South Kivu.

The Enclave comprises six monumental double-sided screens installed in a large darkened chamber creating a physically immersive experience. This disorienting and kaleidoscopic installation is intended to formally parallel eastern Congo’s multifaceted conflict, confounding expectations and forcing the viewer to interact spatially from an array of differing viewpoints. The Enclave is an experiential environment that attempts to reconfigure the dictates of photojournalism and expanded video art.

16mm infrared film transferred to HD video
39 minutes 25 seconds across six screens

Director / Producer: Richard Mosse
Cinematographer / Editor: Trevor Tweeten
Composer / Sound Designer: Ben Frost
Production Assistant: John Holten
Colorist: Jerome Thelia
16mm processing: Rocky Mountain Film Lab
16mm scanning: Metropolis Film Labs
Audio Visual Installation: Eidotech

(text and images Richard Mosse)