Matt Aslett

Lima Sites

This project presents a collection of photographs by former pilots, declassified CIA documents, and military maps of Laos’ forgotten Lima (Landing) Sites in the form of documentary evidence. Declassified reports and found photographic fragments are punctuated by recent satellite images, infrared and digital photography. This provides ‘ground truth’ by making visible a terrible legacy hidden within the landscape, a country scarred by covert actions taken to maintain the regional hegemony of Western power in Southeast Asia. The act of repurposing once classified military remote sensing technologies together with infrared photography and satellite imaging can be considered to be a tactic of guerrilla warfare. Roles are switched from spy to informant, in support of a counter-insurgency of images which challenges the lack of a coherent visual narrative. In collating this evidence, an existing legacy of failed covert actions and strategies of Western power is exposed in both a historical and contemporary context.

BIO

is a documentary photographer and activist currently based in Singapore. He is a graduate of the Documentary Photography course at Newport and the London College of Communication. Since 2008, he has been using photography and remote sensing to assist in the analysis of conflict. Working in small teams or individually, Aslett uses photography to inform and coordinate aid and relief efforts in the field, as well as provide visual evidence for use in reports and legal petitions. His visual practice incorporates many photographic sources, including cameras, satellites, drones, video, also crowd-sourced and archive materials. By combining these visual sources with data in the form of GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) he is able to produce work with an inherent indexical veracity. Aslett is currently working on projects concerned with historic and contemporary state making which results in the creation of refugees, shatter zones and anarchic regions.  He is a member of the NUJ, IFJ, FFR and occasionally contributes to media outlets such as the Guardian.

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