American photographer Taryn Simon has exhibited in 2007 an incredible series of pictures entitled An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. This work gathers photographs taken in extremely restrictive American sites such as the contraband room of JFK Airport or the Avian Quarantine facilities in the New York Animal Import Center. It is interesting to observe that some of those sites belong to what Zizek calls (after Donald Rumsfeld !) the known unknown (what we know we don’t know) but also the unknown unknown (what we did not even know that we did not know). The secret is revealed here in an absolute non spectacular form which makes the photograph quasi-neutral without the indication of its territory of extraction.

I also include in this post (at the end of it), a video of her giving a short speech about our work at TED and presenting this series as well as another one called The Innocents which introduce victims of the American Judiciary System in a fantastical environment that relates to the crime they did not commit.

picture above: Research Marijuana Crop Grow Room / National Center for Natural Products Research / Oxford, Mississippi

The Central Intelligence Agency, Art / CIA Original Headquarters Building / Langley, Virginia

Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility Cherenkov Radiation / Hanford Site, U.S. Department of Energy / Southeastern Washington State

Cryopreservation Unit / Cryonics Institute / Clinton Township, Michigan

White Tiger (Kenny), Selective Inbreeding / Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and Foundation /Eureka Springs, Arkansas

thanks to both Camille and Nora !