1 00:00:05,620 --> 00:00:12,040 The project that culminated in the work called ‘Seamless Transitions’, and a body of research that emerged around it, 2 00:00:12,120 --> 00:00:20,800 started very simply with me reading a newspaper report. A lot of my work has been about what are the tools we now have access to, 3 00:00:21,460 --> 00:00:25,700 that we all have access to crucially, things that are open on the internet, 4 00:00:25,700 --> 00:00:32,120 that were once really the preserve of very dedicated investigative journalists or were just simply not accessible at all before. 5 00:00:32,780 --> 00:00:36,500 One of which, my favourite one, is the ability to track aeroplanes in real time. 6 00:00:36,740 --> 00:00:45,380 I was reading a report in the newspaper about a deportation, about someone in the UK who'd overstayed their visa and was deported, 7 00:00:45,380 --> 00:00:53,520 and there were these strange details of the story that caught my eye. The story, in fact, it turns out, if you start reading stories about immigration, is not that unusual. 8 00:00:53,520 --> 00:00:58,360 But it was someone who'd overstayed their visa and they were being deported, and in order to get them out of the country 9 00:00:58,360 --> 00:01:02,360 because they were proving to be a political nuisance, they were actually placed aboard a private jet, 10 00:01:02,360 --> 00:01:07,660 the kind of thing that usually flies celebrities and footballers around, and rushed out of the country. 11 00:01:07,920 --> 00:01:15,420 It only became news because the flight was refused entry to Nigerian airspace, where it was headed and went on this kind of insane 24-hour journey around Europe. 12 00:01:15,720 --> 00:01:25,400 But the reports I was reading about it seemed very slim and I realised that all the tools that I use every day could tell me more about this story. 13 00:01:25,400 --> 00:01:31,400 So I started digging into it and I looked through these flight records, which are very easily accessible on the internet. 14 00:01:31,400 --> 00:01:36,680 I looked at the websites of plane spotters. These things which aren't traditionally the tools of investigative journalism 15 00:01:36,680 --> 00:01:40,380 but are now really just there on peoples webpages, for anyone to look at. 16 00:01:40,380 --> 00:01:49,000 Putting those together, I built a kind of history of this flight and I published that information because it was interesting to me and potentially to others. 17 00:01:49,000 --> 00:01:58,500 It was particularly interesting to activists on the ground who'd been looking at this system but weren't necessarily familiar with the tools that I was using to investigate it. 18 00:01:58,500 --> 00:02:04,220 In particular, their interest in which companies were providing the airplanes for this system to take place. 19 00:02:04,740 --> 00:02:12,120 The UK government switched to using private charter planes rather than public planes because of the adverse publicity of at least one death 20 00:02:12,120 --> 00:02:21,140 and a number of other unpleasant incidents on normal transport airlines. They started doing it in the middle of the night on charter airlines. 21 00:02:21,140 --> 00:02:28,880 In order to get information to put pressure on companies to stop providing that service, activist companies were gathering details of the planes. 22 00:02:28,880 --> 00:02:34,120 One of them got in touch with me and was like, ‘Well, thank you for that. This one’s happening again, next week. 23 00:02:34,120 --> 00:02:40,460 In fact, the same guy is being deported with a number of others this time and it's happening next Wednesday. Can you tell us what the airline was?’ 24 00:02:40,460 --> 00:02:46,720 And I was like, ‘Well, no I can't’. Because I can't see into the future in that sense. I can only watch as these things happen. 25 00:02:46,720 --> 00:02:55,380 Except I realise that actually I'd gathered enough information at this point to know where this flight was going to leave from and so on and so forth. 26 00:02:55,760 --> 00:03:05,020 So I went to the airport at 11 o'clock on a Tuesday night, and waited around and sure enough, bus-loads of people started turning up. 27 00:03:05,260 --> 00:03:11,440 It was a deeply strange and very unpleasant experience but, I'm sure, far more for them than for me. 28 00:03:11,440 --> 00:03:21,480 Watching people being bussed to an airport in the middle of the night, under heavy police guard through a private terminal in this totally closed-off area of the airport. 29 00:03:21,940 --> 00:03:30,140 It struck me then and it's stayed with me ever since that whatever anyone's position on immigration or migration is or their political position, 30 00:03:30,140 --> 00:03:35,760 watching that occur, watching people being loaded off buses and onto planes in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, 31 00:03:35,760 --> 00:03:40,800 there's something fundamentally wrong with this system. There's something amiss in our handling of it. 32 00:03:40,800 --> 00:03:45,420 If this is the way in which it’s done, it points to deeper problems with this system. 33 00:03:45,760 --> 00:03:50,520 But because I was there, again I could take the tail number of the aircraft that I saw them getting onto, 34 00:03:50,520 --> 00:03:54,620 find another company that was involved in the system and feed that information back to the activists 35 00:03:54,620 --> 00:04:02,840 and also share with them the methods, so that they could see it. But it was also part of the wider project. 36 00:04:03,420 --> 00:04:11,440 One of the things that I've noticed and that a lot of my work, the making the invisible visible can happen in a number of ways. 37 00:04:11,440 --> 00:04:14,780 One of the simplest ways is simply providing images where they didn't exist before. 38 00:04:14,780 --> 00:04:22,800 This is a thing that's going on but you don't see pictures of it in the newspapers because it happens within this kind of protected sphere. It happens within private space. 39 00:04:22,800 --> 00:04:28,140 One of the prime things they do is that they privatise things so it's not government responsibility to tell you about it 40 00:04:28,140 --> 00:04:31,000 and they don't have to provide images of it. 41 00:04:31,220 --> 00:04:40,740 I wanted to fill in the gaps in that imagery and effectively using the same way of thinking about technology that I'd used to do the investigation 42 00:04:40,760 --> 00:04:47,800 to do image-making. So I worked with people who tend to do architectural visualisation, who worked with architects, who produce plans for buildings 43 00:04:47,800 --> 00:04:54,940 and nice luxury apartments, who are very adept at rendering and making images of, for them, initially, imaginary and un-built spaces. 44 00:04:54,940 --> 00:05:01,500 But we did investigative work to get the floor plans and the planning documents and the eye-witness accounts 45 00:05:01,500 --> 00:05:07,000 and what few photographs of various times there were of these places, in order to build full 3D models of them, 46 00:05:07,000 --> 00:05:12,780 so that we could then essentially do tours of. And we did that, not just for the airport terminal that I visited, 47 00:05:12,780 --> 00:05:17,660 this private terminal at Stansted airport, but also for the detention centre, where many of those people were held, 48 00:05:17,660 --> 00:05:22,020 which is again kind of privately-run space. And also for a particular court room in the centre of London, 49 00:05:22,020 --> 00:05:31,380 which is used for particularly sensitive immigration trials that involve secret evidence, which is a new law 50 00:05:31,380 --> 00:05:37,140 recently passed law in the UK allows the security services to present information that's not shown to the defendant. 51 00:05:37,140 --> 00:05:43,420 Which is a complete and utter violation of the right to a fair trial. But what was interesting about it is, within this courtroom - 52 00:05:43,420 --> 00:05:48,060 which you can visit when they're not doing the secret bit and you can sketch but obviously not take photographs - 53 00:05:48,060 --> 00:05:53,880 you can see this kind of appearing in the architecture. You can see the curtained-off witness box and screened-off areas 54 00:05:53,880 --> 00:06:00,080 where the spooks sit. So, you have this architecture that repeats and shows the laws that have created it 55 00:06:00,080 --> 00:06:07,860 and that's what that wider project ‘Seamless Transitions’ was about. It’s essentially not a portrait of the experiences of the immigrants, 56 00:06:07,860 --> 00:06:12,980 the people within the system themselves, as important and necessary as those stories are to tell. 57 00:06:12,980 --> 00:06:19,340 It's a portrait of the architecture that shows what's produced by these kind of legal and social pressures underneath it.