by Donald Weber
Interrogations is about a place where justice and mercy and hope and despair are manufactured, bought, bartered and sold; a sound-proofed factory where truth is both the final product and the one thing that never leaves the room. I was looking to make a very simple photograph, but a very complex portrait. For truth is complicit: a mutual recognition, however fleeting, of power, and surrender to power. This work interrogates the interrogators.
Without confessions and guilty pleas, courts everywhere would grind to a halt in an instant; over 90% of all charges in the Russian judicial system end in guilty pleas, and only experienced criminals or highly-educated defendants stand a chance in any justice system. It is not designed to give everyone a fair trial; this is what the cops are doing behind their closed doors— the feudal system’s trial by ordeal is still much with us. Trial by ordeal – that is what is going on here, but closed to the public now.
Each suspect is given space equal to the space of their interrogation room. That is, this piece stays fixed within the confines of the Interrogation Room, describing the people who enter it and leave it, their histories their drama. Young and old, male and female, weak unfortunates and hardened criminals, all.