I make art installation objects with small embedded computers. I wanted to make an upright monitor piece! I love the way all the upright monitor display systems are based on horizontal operating systems - so when they break - which they do - you get system messages at right-angles to the picture. Well my piece, it turns out, is no different.
I found myself looking for information on the existence of countries that still outlaw gay sexuality. I came across ilga.org a fascinating and thoroughly researched web-site. On the site I found the document State Sponsored Homophobia by Daniel Ottosson. I have had to interpret the information in the document - sometimes the legal phrasing does not make it clear exactly what sexual act is being described and therefore punished. There are confusions in many legal utterances about rape and under-age sexual activities. In some cases the proposed sentences are vague and confusingly wide-ranging.
I have added reported punishments carried out unofficially. Some of these are disgusting - I have to remind people that is art, not an automated legal advice display device. I have quoted some colourful phrases “Anus Locking” and “Haffi dead”, found in press reports about anti-gay murders .
“Anus Locking” How Islamist gangs use internet to track, torture and kill Iraqi gays
“Haffi dead” The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?
I first started researching the piece in September 2010 - though it was finished in Febuary 2011, and has had radical changes since, both in structure and contents. It is now a series, each year it has been re-made and kept current – sometimes with new technology, officially, with an upgrade number.
The first version at Kinetica had sound! There was a subtle long-cycled sonic element to Departures (1.00). An airport stytle chime can be heard every two minutes, sounding out mashed-up fragments of “I Am What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles. According to Wikipedia, the song was composed in 1983 by Jerry Herman, an openly gay man.
Links to important campaigning groups :-
The Peter Tatchel Foundation & Movement for Justice ...