Essential coronavirus info Your safety is our first priority.
David Birkin is an artist, writer, and visiting fellow at University of the Arts London. He is the co-founder of Visible Justice, a transdisciplinary research platform for artists, activists, journalists, photographers, and human rights lawyers working at the intersection of visual culture and social justice.
Birkin studied at Oxford University and the Slade School of Fine Art, and was a fellow of the Art & Law Program in New York and the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Combining conceptual and archival photographic practices with large scale interventions into public space, much of Birkin's work reflects on representations of war, the legacy of imperialism, and the apparatus of state power: its mythology, iconography, and the language and legal frameworks that underpin it.
At its core is a concern for censorship and the edges of visibility, often focusing on omissions, redactions, glitches, or slips in the smooth surface of a political system to disclose a deeper ideological drive. Past projects include a collaboration with the courtroom sketch artist at Guantánamo, a photographic transcription of identification numbers from the Iraqi civilian casualties database, a simulated software crash on digital billboards in Times Square, an extract of CIA legalese in skywriting above Manhattan, and a plane circling the Statue of Liberty’s torch.
Birkin has written on the ethics and aesthetics of contemporary conflict for Frieze, Cabinet, Creative Time, Ibraaz, The Harvard Advocate, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
He teaches at The New School in New York and at London College of Communication, and has given numerous lectures including at Oxford University's Institute for Ethics, Law & Armed Conflict, University of York, University of South Wales, Zurich University of the Arts, the Imperial War Museum, Culture + Conflict, Parsons, the Yale Center for British Art, and MoMA PS1.
He has exhibited internationally including at The Mosaic Rooms, London; MOSTYN, Wales; the Benaki Museum, Athens; MUDAM Museum of Modern Art, Luxembourg; Fotomuseum, Antwerp; Société d’Électricité, Brussels; the Kunstihoone, Tallinn; Photomonth, Krakow; FotoFest, Houston; and the Whitney Museum ISP, New York.
Visible Justice: visible-justice.org