The project focuses on the case of Mohammed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John,’ a British terrorist who became infamous for his involvement in the be- headings of Western hostages in Syria. Thread aims to undo the mythical constructs surrounding the image of ‘Jihadi John’ by consciously engaging with Emwazi’s life story and revisiting the places where he grew up and formed his ideological views.
The project also examines the editorial strategy of nicknaming terrorists, which envelops them in a mythical persona, aiding their mission of perpetuating fear. The constant presence of green screens in Thread represents the blanks in the story, reflecting the projective nature of nicknames and photographic images. It aims to shift the understanding of extremism from a threat as a danger to a thread as a discourse, ultimately counter- ing extremism by exploring its roots and sources. Leaning on the idea of homegrown terrorism, it takes us to the heart of London to better understand a threat that supposedly comes from the other.
If a stranger showed you these pictures on the street, you wouldn’t think much of them. I can see why they have a haunting quality because we often see evil as separate from everyday life, something that only evil people do. But the truth is, evil is not outside the realm of normalcy.
These neighbourhoods are common in many European cities, especially the industrialized ones. They’re not obviously poor or extremely wealthy, just lower middle class or average. And that’s where the majority of the population resides. The interesting thing is, these pictures don’t reveal much. They’re just very normal — they don’t seem to have any judgement in them. If these environments could create extremists like Jihadi John, why aren’t there a lot more of them?
Design by Collective Works
design by Collective Works