“Law and Order“ is an artistic interpretation of Criminal Justice systems in different countries. It is a typological visual comparison, and should shed light on the different ways in which societies cope with (serious) crime, and what institutions they have created to deal with it.
The Criminal Justice System is the basic tool to maintain order and cohesion in communities, and as such, it is an element of vital importance in every society. In spite of this, it has rarely been the subject of interest from artists, visual or otherwise – possibly because of its abstractness and supposed lack of picturesque qualities.
The project concentrates on the question: how do societies cope and what institutions have they created to deal with people who have committed a (serious) crime?
The institutes involved are mainly these:
1. Police Force and Public Prosecution, responsible for solving crime and prosecuting criminals
2. Courts, responsible for judging them
3. Correctional Facilities (prisons etc.)
For this photo series, the people who represent the institutions (police officers, public prosecutors, lawyers, judges, prison guards and administrators) are at least as important, if not more, than the suspected, accused and convicted individuals.
In 2008, I finished “Bureaucratics”, a photo project on the Executive, the bureaucracy, in eight countries worldwide. (See: www.janbanning.com/gallery/bureaucratics) This inspired me to take up another branch of the Trias Politica: the Judiciary, which is as fundamental to society.
All four chapters have now been finished. They were made in Uganda (colonial heritage of the Anglo-Saxon Common Law system), Colombia (colonial heritage of the Continental Law system) the USA (state of Georgia, where one in thirteen adults is under the control of the – common law – criminal justice system) and France (origin of Code Napoleon and Code Penal, so of the Civil Law system). Attempts to include a country where the Sharia plays a big role in the criminal justice system have failed.
The selection of the countries has been made in consultation with the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. I plan to have an exhibition and a book ready by autumn 2014.
Password protected chapters
I apologize for not being able to publish the results of my work in Colombia, France and the USA just yet: I expect the book and the exhibition to be ready in autumn 2014.