“I love you” explores the Orwellian concept of “doublethink” and contextualizes it within the never ending War on Terror. It particularly relates to the humiliating and inhumane treatment of prisoners after the invasion of Iraq at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
When I read that Barney the Dinosaur's version of this song was being used to torture prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan I was appalled. As a lover of music and human rights I couldn't think of anything more vile than to use music, even if it is bad music, for the purpose of torture.
Prisoners would be locked in metal tanks left out in the desert, with only strobe lighting for lights and with the same song playing over and over for up to 72 hours. Depending on the torturer, they would either play Metallica, Barney or something else from Western culture.
At the time I was reading 1984 and became interested in the relevance of the concept of "double-think", was this not what was happening now? a nation that supposedly stands for morality and humanity can equally destroy the minds of its prisoners through torture.
The film is first of all a form of protest, I wanted people watching to feel that contradiction within themselves of wanting to laugh at something that was awful and feel that sense of shame in humanity too.
“I love you” triggers opposing emotions enhanced by the caricature style of an animation created with photographs of live events that took place in my studio. The photographs were digitally manipulated to show the same subject multiplied and submissive reflecting the dehumanization of prisoners by depriving them of their identity.
It puts into question the viewer's moral stance on a war that is supposedly waged in our interest as citizens of a democratic society with civilized values.
This film was included in the "Join the Dots" DVD compiled by the Live Art Development Agency, showcasing some of the best work by emerging artists in 2007.
In 2009 the video was banned from YouTube, I hope the Vimeo community will see the work for what it is and not just for the nudity.