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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
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US politicians may be unknowingly using paper with the names of dead Iraqi civilians on it

Matt Kenyon has been smuggling the special micro-printed paper into their stationery supplies…

US POLITICIANS MAY unknowingly be using paper with the names of dead Iraqi civilians micro-printed on it as an artist has been smuggling it into their stationery supplies.

Matt Kenyon’s work is among the many intriguing projects at the Science Gallery’s new ‘Secret’ exhibition.

At a first glance, it looks like a simple stack of yellow legal pads:

Source: Michelle Hennessy

However under a microscope, you can see the full names, dates and locations of Iraqi civilian deaths from the first three years of the war there.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

“I smuggle them into government and coalition stationery supplies so it goes under the individuals who authorised and continue to authorise use of force in that area,” Kenyon explained to TheJournal.ie.

The artists also hands out pieces of the paper to members of the public to write to their local officials.

“Monuments tend to be really big and they tend to be just about our people so I just wanted to make sure we cover the whole spectrum,” he explained, adding that he wanted these names to be circulated so they could “live in the world”. 

The choice of legal pads for this purpose was a practical one as it made sense for the micro-printing and who would suspect paper?

There are only a few things that maybe are common in areas of government like this and yellow paper is something lawyers and lobbyists use too.

Kenyon has priors with this sneaky style of work as he previously removed Tom Hanks from his movie Bachelor Party and then put the tampered-with movies back into store circulation.

Occupy Mark Stone

Another piece at the exhibition that is, in effect, sticking it to the authorities, is called ‘Occupy Mark Stone‘.

Simon Farid was inspired by the story of a Metropolitan Police Officer Mark Kennedy who had spent seven years undercover as an environmental activist called Mark Stone.

This character he created had a passport, a driving licence and a bank card and even developed a serious relationship with another activist.

When the officer’s cover was blown, Mark Stone no longer had a body but because he never really existed, he still lived on. As Farid points out, no one was going to get a death certificate issued for an alias, or call the bank to tell them Stone was dead or never existed in the first place.

He began to explore whether the man still lived on in the different institutional systems that he dealt with during those seven years and whether he could take on the identity Mark Kennedy had abandoned.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

The artists was startlingly successful. Not only did he manage to gather an impressive collection of cards – including a functioning credit card – but he became a member of the Conservative Party as Mark Stone.

He says the collection is the result of “luck, blagging, amateur detective work and gaps in the system.”

The Secret exhibition is running in the Science Gallery in Dublin until 1 November. 

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