Iris Janssens – Did You Know? (signed)
MAS Matbaa 2020
Winner of the First Prize at the Kassel Dummy Award 2019
Thirty-two years after an enormous toxic cloud escaped from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, thousands of victims are still living in extremely degrading circumstances. They barely have access to pure water and they are unable to support themselves. The disaster killed 20,000 people, while 10,000 more were disabled, blinded or otherwise severely injured. In Bhopal, the disaster is not forgotten, with now a third generation of victims with congenital defects and a staggering mortality rate. The surroundings of the plant site were never cleaned up and is still poisonous, as is the heavily contaminated groundwater that contains forty times more pesticides than the allowed level.
Do you remember the horrible chemical industry disaster in Bhopal 1984 with thousands and thousands of dead and severely injured people? »Did you know?« uses an innovative concept to show the long-term impacts of this human-made tragedy. This deeply touching book is edited and compiled so as to form a strong photographic document and a manifesto of political activism. By transforming the book into hundreds of flysheets picked up by the readers, the story spreads all over and the work helps to prevent the disaster being forgotten. »Did you know?« opens up new inspiring thoughts about the role of the photobook in art and society today. Congratulations!
—Markus Schaden, The PhotoBookMuseum, Cologne
Iris Janssens (1992, Belgium) received a master’s degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2017. Her work mainly consists out of long-term investigative documentary projects.