Defense Mechanism is the title shared by a two-channel multimedia installation and a live lecture performance. The installation’s approximate dimensions are 5ft. x 10ft. x 3ft. All video elements were produced and edited by Alistair Debling. The installation was designed by the artist and constructed with technical guidance from Luke Todd. The lecture performance’s duration is 45 minutes and is performed live by the artist, using the installation and additional projection as its mise-en-scène.


The installation presents the airport security system as an Artaudian cinema in which processes of seeing and being seen converge with state and insurgent violence. Fed through the airport conveyor’s reel, the body is reduced to constituent objects (laptops, liquids, loose change) then parsed into categories of threat by surveillance technologies. The lecture performance, which expands on the video element of the installation, uses the language of both self-care and self-destructive practices to explore the confusion of aid and intervention with death and destruction in western foreign policy.




(c) Alistair Debling 2018

Alistair Debling is an interdisciplinary artist working across installation and performance.