Friday, March 21, 2014

S-21's mug shots

For many, the Khmer Rouge regime's brutality has come to be symbolized by the multitude of black-and-white mug shots of prisoners taken at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of enemies were tortured before being sent to the killing fields. In Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia, author Michelle Caswell traces the social life of these photographic records through the lens of archival studies and elucidates how, paradoxically, they have become agents of silence and witnessing, human rights and injustice as they are deployed at various moments in time and space. From their creation as Khmer Rouge administrative records to their transformation beginning in 1979 into museum displays, archival collections, and databases, the mug shots are key components in an ongoing drama of unimaginable human suffering. David Chandler has this to say about the book: “Caswell pays homage to the subjects of the heart-breaking mug shots taken at a Khmer Rouge prison and examines the impact that the photographs have had over the years on different viewers. Her humane, sophisticated, and unblinking book sharpens and enhances our understanding of the so-called Pol Pot era.” 246 pages, published this month by University of Wisconsin Press.

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Anonymous Kismuth said...

Intriguing. Did you read Night?

Just got to PP. Fascinated by this place.

March 24, 2014 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

what do you mean?

March 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM  

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