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A Simple Case for Torture, or How to Sleep at Night, 1983

Made in reaction to an article in Newsweek magazine, in this video Rosler identifies the totalitarian implications of the sort of argument that defends torture under certain circumstances. The artist’s voiceover narration runs in parallel to images from media articles on subjects ranging from human rights to unemployment and the global economy. Rosler denounces the U.S. Government and American businesses for supporting political regimes that systematically use torture, as well as the silence of the American press, their biased used of language and selective news coverage. The irony in the title associates the argument in favour of torture with the clean conscience of those who can sleep at night.

Technical details

Original title:
A Simple Case for Torture, or How to Sleep at Night
Registration number:
Rosler, Martha
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term
Object type:
Single-channel video, color, sound, 61 min 50 s
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term loan
© Martha Rosler
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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One always arrives to at something which one can no longer depict.
Dieter Roth