Farouk Campbell

Warte Mal! Prostitution after the Velvet Revolution - Hayward Gallery

A car glides through the small town of Dubi situated on the Czech-German border. Filming the landscape, the moving image reveals forests and farmlands in Summer and Winter and amidst this background stand women in the middle of nowhere like exotic birds

Ann-Sofi Siden's harshly disturbing documentation of prostitution contains video interviews, Polaroids, and diary extracts of the women, their clients, the police and pimps in this candid revelation of the sex industry in Dubi. Depressing and at times shocking Siden's images are captured moments in time (1999) of an industry that infects the social and economic fabric of a town once popular for its spa but now famous for it booming prostitution business. Siden's provoking images – whilst very important and necessary in revealing this seedy world – do not conform to any aesthetic criterion of art and are more journalistic and investigative in nature. What they do reveal is the correlation between the increase in prostitution and economic instability and decline of an area. Further it makes a chilling assertion that the town of Dubi is a precursor for other areas of Eastern Europe which will suffer a similar fate due to poverty and economic stagnation. •

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