‘Thursday War’ Margareta Kern Conversation School of Law Birkbeck Thursday 27 Jun 2019

Thursday War, Margareta Kern
Conversation/round table with the artist-in-residence
School of Law, Birkbeck
Thursday 27th June, 3-5pm
CLO 203

Please join us for a conversation with the artist-in-residence Margareta Kern, who welcomes your input as she considers filing a compensation claim to the Ministry of Defence as part of her work-in-progress Thursday War.

Kern has been writing complaint letters to MOD’s Low Flying Complaints & Inquiries Unit about the military helicopters and fighter jets that fly extremely low over her home. Her letters keep highlighting the stress and anxiety caused by the military presence. However, this particular aspect continues to be unacknowledged in the replies she receives from MOD. In 2017, a Freedom of Information request revealed that the MOD has received 4390 claims (that include but are not solely related to low-flying), paying out £101 million in compensation. According to the MOD document, the amount of compensation paid is determined by common law principles, which broadly take into account such factors as individual pain and suffering, degree of injury, property losses, future losses and level of care required. Apparently, one of the low-flying claimants was a farmer whose chickens stopped laying eggs as they were frightened by the loud noise of low-flying Apache helicopters.

Margareta would like to ask – is there something we can learn from this farmer? How would we go about proving human suffering and pain? If the stress of chickens is proved by them not being able to (re)produce eggs, what would be the human equivalent? What are the legal and artistic considerations and boundaries here? The idea behind submitting a compensation claim is not to do with the financial aspect of it, but to do with the question of what happens when law, in particular the military law, is made visible as a work of art? Margareta will present her research material, including her correspondence with the MOD to date, then we will open for discussion.

Margareta Kern is a visual artist and researcher whose work responds to new systems of techno-military power, often drawing on her personal history shaped by migration. Her interdisciplinary practice incorporates film, photography, installation, drawing and performance-lecture. Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kern has been based in the UK since 1992.

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