NEW YORK. The US government interrogation practice of waterboarding was enacted by animated robots in an installation by artist Steve Powers opening this past September 21st at the Park Avenue Armory. For $1 viewers watch as a life-sized hooded figure pours water over the mouth and nose of a bound man, producing a grisly 15 seconds of convulsions. The installation was shown at New York’s seaside amusement park Coney Island in August, where it was situated among rides, games and freak show attractions.
The title, Waterboard Thrill Ride, belies the artist’s true intent. “Not calling waterboarding torture is to me as ridiculous as calling it a ‘thrill ride’,” Powers told The Art News paper. “I think everyone understands that it is torture, and only one person’s vote changed the practice from being illegal to legal.”
In March President Bush vetoed a bill that would ban waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods.