Three places I never went to when I was alive
a film by Paul Antick

1. In December 2015 a journalist sent me a packet containing 4 hours of high-definition video footage, 21 still photographs, and a 45 minute WAV- encrypted audio file that contained the sound of a man’s voice.

2. The journalist included a note in the packet saying the material contained therein was given to him six weeks earlier by a colleague, whom he didn’t name.

3. He said the material was in turn passed to his colleague by a ‘people trafficker’, whom the colleague met on the island of Kos in Greece while working on a story about the ‘refugee crisis’, which, during the summer of 2015, exploded suddenly across media platforms around the world.

4. A week later the journalist called and asked me if I’d looked at (and listened to) the material he sent.

5. He asked me what if anything I planned to do with it.

6. I told him I was making a film.

7. The photographs and audio recording I received were in good condition, but much of the video material was badly degraded.

8. Lacking the technical know-how required to restore it myself, I asked Tom Maine for help.

9. Tom and I finished restoring, editing and grading Three places I never went to when I was alive in May 2016.

10. ‘In my opinion, there are two interesting things about this film,’ one of my students told me, following the screening I organised in June 2016 at the University of Roehampton.

11. ‘First thing. That the film is narrated from the point of view of the kind of person who’s spoken about at length in the mainstream media, but whose voice, so to speak, is generally absent from most of the conversations I’ve heard there. Conversations which, I’ve noticed, often endeavour to attribute the cause of the crisis to the people traffickers’ entrepreneurial daring, as opposed to, for example, the on-going civil war in Syria; the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the USA, Great Britain (and significant others); and the invasion of Libya in 2012, to name but a few of the events that have apparently caused millions of people across several continents to recently flee their homes in abject desperation.

12. ‘Second remarkable thing. That we are under the impression – I was when I watched it - that the voice in the film belongs to an actual people trafficker and not an actor or someone else like that.

13. ‘You said it did when you introduced the film an hour ago in the University’s lecture theatre.

14. ‘”Hoc est corpus meum”.

15. ‘You said.

16. ‘I’m happy the film’s an authentic first person account because I’m ever so pleased my belief in the voice makes my heart miss a beat when I hear it.’

17. He said.

Paul Antick is a founding member of the Terror and the Tour research group and co-editor of Liminalities’ Terror and the Tour special issue. His recent contributions to various books, journals and exhibition spaces include: ‘Bhopal to Bridgehampton: schema for a disaster tourism event’ (Journal of Visual Culture) and ‘Smith at Auschwitz: Research Product #5’ (Belfast Exposed Gallery). He is Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Roehampton, London.

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