Homo Sacer


Homo Sacer consists of a series of phrases taken from British and international law; UN charters; agreements and treaties; as well as written and spoken statements by the British Government. Each of these concern the notion of citizenship: who has the right to belong where, and under what circumstances that right can be removed.

These legal statements combine to create a situation in which a former citizen of the state may be legally killed. Loss of nationality renders a person stateless, and thus without all the protections that the modern nation affords. In ancient Rome, such people were known as ‘Homo Sacer’ - the cursed man - who was cast out of society, and might be killed by anyone.

The statements are delivered by a virtual assistant: a recorded non-person designed to host, inform and instruct. This type of hologram can now be found at airports and government building worldwide and, like the state, they are capable of endlessly delivering instructions without the possibility for reply or debate.

Homo Sacer was commissioned by FACT in Liverpool, UK, for the exhibition Science Fiction: New Death. It has since been exhibited internationally.

-> Read an essay about the work at Booktwo.org

-> Video of the installation

Homo Sacer