Haunted School

I found passport photos of the police personnel at an abandoned police station. Most of them still look good, except for a layer of dust on top of the photo. However, there were some that have been destroyed by the rain. I found them to be interesting. This police force, in the destroyed photos looked dead. Some look uncanny. It reminds me of what Roland Barthes said about how photographs showed death in them.

Coincidentally, the police force in Malaysia weren’t having their best of time recently. They were accused of being the most corrupted in Malaysia, topping political parties, civil servants, the private business sector and the judiciary. The survey was done by Transparency International Malaysia and it surprises a lot of people as the finding was unusual compared to surveys done in most countries, where political parties top the list, followed by the civil service and the judiciary.

This is what made up the Royal Malaysia Police body of work.

It reminds me of the fiction titled ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’, written by Oscar Wilde. The police personnel have been doing all the bad deeds that the passport photos, also being used as identity photos change its form. Funguses grow on it. Dirt and debris scratches the surface of the photo. Some even have dead insects, a sign that it has been so rotten than maggots were living off the photos. This is the result of the ‘bad attitude’ the police personnel have.

This series of work basically summed up the collapse of the police institution. I realise that the problem that we as Malaysian face from this institution mirrored those from other countries as well. Therefore, viewers from other countries will understand what this work is all about. It is a problem that arises from human being. Institutions collapse and fail because of human being.

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  • Police #42