“Saddam’s heads, taken from the roof of the Republican Guard Palace, now located at Al-Salam Palace,Â Iraq 2009″
“Uday’s Palace, Jebel Makhoul, Iraq 2009″
“Birthday Palace Interior, showing dormitories built by American GIs inside Saddam’s Palace architecture, Tikrit, Iraq 2009″
“Birthday Palace, Tikrit, Iraq 2009″
“Saddam Mural, Camp Speicher, Tikrit, Iraq 2009″
Says The Exposure Project:
Richard Mosse‘s series Breach is an investigation of Saddam Hussein’s former imperial palaces in their converted state as temporary housing facilities for the U.S. military. The always insightful BLDGBLOG conducted an interview with Mosse earlier this year regarding his time in Iraq. The excerpt below was taken from their exchange:
BLDGBLOG: The way these structures have been colonized is often amusing and sometimes shockingâ€”the telephones, desks, and instant dormitories that turn an imperial palace into what looks like a suburban office or hospital waiting room. Can you describe some of the spatial details of these soldiers’ lives that most struck you?
Mosse: It was extraordinary how some of the palace interiors had been transformed to accommodate the soldiers. Troops scurried beneath vaulted ceilings and glittering faux-crystal chandeliers. Lofty marble columns towered over rat runs between hastily constructed chipboard cubicles. Obama’s face beamed out of televisions overlooking the freezers and microwaves of provisional canteen spaces.
Many of the palaces have already been handed back to the Iraqisâ€”but where Americans troops do remain, they live in very cramped conditions, pissing into a hole in the ground and waiting days just to shower. Life is hard on the front line, and it seems more than a little surreal to be ticking off the days in a dictator’s pleasure dome.
The most interesting thing about the whole endeavor for me was the very fact that the U.S. had chosen to occupy Saddam’s palaces in the first place. If you’re trying to convince a population that you have liberated them from a terrible dictator, why would you then sit in his throne? A savvier place to station the garrison would have been a place free from associations with Saddam, and the terror and injustices that the occupying forces were convinced they’d done away with. Instead, they made the mistake of repeating history.