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David Birkin’s project Severe Clear (2014), skywriting over New York on Memorial Day weekend

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2 June 2014

Artist David Birkin’s project Severe Clear (2014) saw the words ‘existence or nonexistence’ appear fleetingly in skywriting over Manhattan on the Memorial Day weekend. This seemingly philosophical proposal of alternatives was in fact an extract from the CIA’s Glomar response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union in which they asked for information relating to the US Government’s classified drone programme. The response stated: “ … the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request.”

Based in London and New York, David Birkin began photographing subjects on the periphery of conflict, such as the training of female journalists in Kabul, the founding of Afghan Film, and conscientious objectors during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, before starting the Speakers’ Society: a non-profit lecture series for art and politics.  In 2009, he was awarded a bursary by the National Media Museum and a graduate scholarship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  Birkin was the recipient of the 2010 Sovereign Art Prize (Barbican, London) and the 2012 Celeste Prize for Photography (Museo Centrale Montemartini, Rome), and was an artist-in-residence at Yaddo and at the Art & Law Residency in New York. Birkin is showing in the Whitney Museum’s ISP exhibition in New York in 2014, and at The Mosaic Rooms in London in 2015.

Severe Clear is a project supported by a/political.

For further information please visit:–severe-clear–over-manhattan-on-memorial-day-weekend/