The Barbican has a new exhibition on in The Curve by documentary photographer and film maker Richard Mosse. Mosse has created a series of images and films documenting the refugee crisis in Europe and Northern Africa using a military grade camera, which allows him to film at distances of 30km. The camera, developed for border control, works on thermal technology which registers differences in temperature, showing heat as white and cold as black. From a distance, human figures show up white, glowing and ghost like; up close this monochrome series is particularly affecting and stark. The figures Mosse focuses on are recognisable and yet almost inhuman. Skin colour is irrelevant. He plays with positive and negative, sometimes a totally white face with black ears, nose and eyelashes denotes the cold extremities, and sometimes vice versa, forcing you to question the environment and hardship these people are enduring.
The music, composed by Ben Frost, is moving and enhances the power of these images as you follow the exhibition round, it is very easy to completely lose track of time. Quite brilliantly, Mosse is subverting the purpose of this military technology to show the plight of refugees and demand that we look at the crisis in a different way.
The exhibition is free and runs until the 23rd April at The Curve.