After You’ve Been Burned by Hot Soup You Blow in Your Yogurt, focuses on the complex relationships between detainees at Guantanamo Bay, their attorneys, the international press, and the news-reading public. The multi-media work includes the artist’s archive of over 2000 photographs, videos, texts, and audio documents. The material was collected by Herster and is sourced from attorneys representing suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
Central to the archive-based work is a collection of personal narratives gathered from the terrorist suspects. These intimate stories tell the tales of detainees with everyday family woes, anxiety over missing loved ones, and longing for familiar landscapes. Ultimately, the archive highlights the power of photography to build trust and facilitate relationships in extreme circumstances of anxiety and isolation.
I am an artist and experimental documentarian, living in New Orleans, Louisiana. My methodology follows a dual approach, combining art as social practice with the artist-as-archivist genre.
Margot Herster is a New Orleans-based artist who engages archiving practices, interdisciplinary collaboration and media theory to document contemporary cultural and political phenomena. Since 2005, she has developed an ongoing, archive-based project, titled, After You’ve Been Burned by Hot Soup You Blow in Your Yogurt.
Venues for her context-specific installations include Columbia University, New York, NY; NYU Cantor Film Center, New York, NY; Future Places Digital Media Festival, Porto Portugal; University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA; Exit Art, New York, NY; and Moving Walls 13, New York, NY, among others. Her exhibitions feature extensive programming, such as lectures by critic David Levi Strauss on Abu Ghraib, Center for Constitutional Rights, President Michael Ratner on Guantanamo legal advocacy; discussions with scholars, military and human rights practitioners; and integration into freshman foundation curriculum at UC Santa Cruz.
Features and reviews of Herster’s work have appeared in National Public Radio, Houston Chronicle, Harpers Magazine, Al Jazeera English, Artnet, American Photo’s State of the Art, and Glasstire, among many others. The Guantanamo Project is featured in A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, one of the first surveys of post-9/11 art, published by Duke University Press.
Open Society Institute, School of Visual Arts Alumni Association, Puffin Cultural Foundation, Kresge College at UCSC, and the University of Texas School of Law are supporters of Herster’s work, through grants and commissions.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.