Mark






︎ Duty or Freedom | (In)Security
     (2020-2021)



Using Birmingham and London as a case study for broader developments and issues in urban planning, counter-terrorism and security this project considers how research can both inform and benefit from artistic exploration and seeks to encourage critical conversations about counter-terrorism measures by exposing and challenging prevailing assumptions about what – if anything – can make us feel more secure in urban spaces.

The exhibition presents diverse research produced by artists as part of (In)security – a collaboration between academics, led by Doctor Katharina Karcher, from the Humanities, Engineering and Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham and a group of five artists based across the UK. Alejandro Acín was one of the commissioned artists to research and develop new work. 

ALEJANDRO ACÍN (b.1984, Spain. Lives and works in Bristol) has developed a mixed media installation including a visual essay and a sculpture, which explores the malleability of the Terrorist legislation and its definition in the UK as something vague, broad and widely criticized by experts, courts and academics. Using text, sculptural objects, photography and video, Acin highlights the blindspots of what can be considered a terrorist object. Through this work, Acín intervens archival photographs from various online sources like The War on Terror Archive extracting shapes of combat knifes to construct a suspected terrorist object. 

The video essay is inspired by the academic article entitled The ghosts of state terror: knowledge, politics and terrorism studies by Richard Jackson, 2009 responding to ideas of silence, discurse and perception.
Richard Jackson


Install shot from Duty or Freedom, Mixed media. Eastside Projects gallery, Birmingham (UK) 2021.
© Photo: Stuart Whipps

Install shot from Duty or Freedom, Video essay 5’15’’, Eastside Projects gallery, Birmingham (UK) 2021. 
© Photo: Stuart Whipps

Install shot from Duty or Freedom, Mixed media. Eastside Projects gallery, Birmingham (UK) 2021.
© Photo: Stuart Whipps

Install shot from Duty or Freedom, Mixed media. Eastside Projects gallery, Birmingham (UK) 2021.
© Photo: Stuart Whipps




Urban Terrorism in Europe (2004-19): Remembering, Imagining, and Anticipating Violence



Katharina Karcher (Senior Lecturer with a research focus on political violence) commissioned Alejandro Acín to produce a series of photographs to illustrate the London Bridge and Finshmonger Hall attack in 2019 as part of her long term project research Urban Terrorism in Europe (2004-19): Remembering, Imagining, and Anticipating Violence. The series were produced in collaboration with Darryn Frost who fought off Usman Khan with a narwhal tusk, to end the attack. 








Install shot from Duty or Freedom, Legislation Knife, photocopy sculpture. Eastside Projects gallery, Birmingham (UK) 2021. 
© Photo: Stuart Whipps





Visual documentation of Alone with Empire: The Counter Archive, Bizkaia Regional Library, Getxo Photo 2019. Curated by Monica Allende.

Mark