The book Double Centre presents a dossier of images, an index, and a short text. It appears like a report, a form of documentation, or some sort of archive revealing two sites discovered by the artist Charles van Otterdijk in the east of Germany. The photographs show stark rooms with objects that appear typical – unnervingly similar to everyday objects: desks, chairs, racks; yet, each object is unusual, distorted and unfamiliar, making it unclear what the function of the objects, or the sites they are in, might be. This peculiarity is further reinforced, by the apparent duplication of objects across the two sites. Objects are repeated, and modified, their differences accentuating their similarity.
The index list includes: isolation unit, cellar, bed, desk with spy hole, rack, birdcage, telescope, document incinerator, loudspeakers, rack, desktop with sunken opening to a tank, maybe a panic room, reinforcing the sense of possible, or probable (institutional) illegality. The exterior of the sites reveals a dark, brooding landscape of dense forest, a secret place or no-man’s-land that suggests the sites might have been rendition centres – those sovereign sites of exception used by democratic states in their effort to eliminate, contain, or otherwise manufacture terror. Exacerbated by these layers of doubling and suggestion, Double Centre feels similarly out of sight – the apparent objectivity of image and text, belying an eerie suspicion about the truth of the document, and narrative.
Double Centre is an independent publication that accompanies two exhibitions; the first one currently at Stroom Den Haag, the second one next year at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.
Charles van Otterdijk is an artist and researcher based between the Netherlands and Germany. Prior to beginning Double Centre in 2007, he presented work in exhibitions at TENT, Rotterdam; NICC, Antwerp and Künsthaus, Dortmund. Co-published by Book Works, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and Stroom Den Haag as part of Book Works Co-Series, No.5; Edition of 1,000 copies; full colour; 80 pages; 230 x170mm; soft cover; edited by Nick Aikens, Charles Esche and Charles van Otterdijk; designed by Remco van Bladel.
ISBN 978 1 906012 60 1
Price 17 euros/£14.50; special launch price 15 euros/£13.00