With her dramatic photographs, Marina Gadonneix explores the terrain of post-9/11 fear, delving headfirst into locations and situations haunted by lingering dread. For Crime Scenes, The House That Burns Everyday, and Playground Disorder, she visits police training schools, firefighter training centers, and military bases, respectively. Absent of people yet bearing the marks of abrupt departures and hurried evacuations, the empty spaces invite dark fantasies. Evidence of disorder—numbered plaques laid out by police, a coating of burnt, ashy soot—interrupts the rational, mundane rituals of daily domestic life, and the comforting landscape of the home is overwrought with suspense.
Each of Gadonneix’s shots capture a simulation of atrocity; though they mirror the horrors of actual plane crashes and house fires, they are not in fact documents of human tragedy. Without context, they elicit in us the same fright as images of authentic catastrophe. In this way, Gadonneix’s work challenges the authority of the photograph to reflect an objective reality. Here, nightmare and truth become confused and inextricable, and the landscape of our existence is tinged with a pervasive anxiety. At the same time, we are desensitized to our worst fears, which spring from these images like counterfeits, illusions of the paranoid mind.