Shadows of the State by Lewis Bush

Thursday 23h Nov 2017, 19:00
£6/4 CONCESSIONS. Free to ICVL Members
Dark Studio, 2nd floor, ARNOLFINI


IC-Visual Lab presents an evening with photographer Lewis Bush. In this specially developed multimedia talk, Bush will discuss how intelligence agencies and militaries put their faith in secret broadcasts, psychic spies, surveillance satellites and doomsday machines. The talk will combine audio-visuals with audience participation and interaction for a (hopefully) refreshing take on the sometimes stale format of the artists talk.


Lewis Bush is a photographer, writer, curator and educator. His practice explores diverse forms of contemporary power, ranging from the destructive impact of corporate redevelopment on his home city of London, to the systemic inequalities of the art world. His recent project and forthcoming photobook Shadows of the State maps the covert radio stations used by intelligence agencies. “Turn on a radio and tune to the right frequency, and you will likely hear mechanical voices reading strings of seemingly random numbers”, says Bush. “These are coded messages, believed to be intended for undercover agents in enemy states.” In an attempt to locate the likely transmitter sites of thirty radio stations, Bush investigates these mysterious broadcasts using high-resolution satellite imagery, radio spectrograms and audio recordings. With broadcasts occurring daily from countries such as Russia, Cuba, and North Korea, his work reveals how many of the activities that we believe disappeared with the Berlin Wall, in fact persist in secret to this day.

Bush originally studied history, was a researcher at the United Nations, and from 2012 began to work increasingly with documentary photography. His projects have been shortlisted for commendations including the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award (2017), the Luma Rencontres d’Arles Dummy Book Award (2016 and 2015), the Photo Espana book award (2016), and the Bar Tur Photobook Award (2015 and 2014). Bush has curated numerous exhibitions, and has published extensively on photography for a range of print and web titles. Between 2011 and 2016 he also ran Disphotic—a blog on photography and visual culture. He is a lecturer on the MA and BA (Hons) Photojournalism and Documentary Photography courses at London College of Communication, and is a visiting tutor at many other institutions.


Free for IC-Visual Lab members, subject to availability. Tickets can be collected in person from Arnolfini Welcome Desk.