The Troubles were a series of conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland during the 1960s and up through the 1990s, these conflicts often spilled over into The Republic of Ireland and the rest of the British Isles. The Republic Ireland separated from the British Commonwealth in 1949 when it became an independent state. Ireland is now known for being amongst the happiest countries on Earth and places a high value on art and literature. Ireland has been participating regularly in the Venice Biennale since 1993 and in 2005 has had clear national representation by the initiative of Culture Ireland. Culture Ireland is run by the Arts Council, a government institution. The geography of Ireland is very hilly and wet, covered in grass with a highest peak of only 1000 meters above sea level. The fascination of the landscape in Africa has brought many Western Europeans down to the continent and this continues today as nations travel down to investigate the problems that have arisen since colonialism by Western Europe has lessened over the last half-century. Richard Mosse was born in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1980. When he was very young he witnessed an attack related to The Troubles while near the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This experience shaped the rest of his life and gave him a drive to investigate similar actions. Mosse seeks to make the invisible seen, but he does not himself working in the same faculty as a journalist. He is not a photojournalist, but an artist who often finds himself where journalists want to be. He uses contemporary art to make the invisible, visible, and to bring the ethical burden of bearing witness to the viewer. In several interviews, Mosse mentions Robert Capa as an influence, but specifically mentions his use of infrared film as a clear separator since Capa preferred to work in black and white. Mosse has also photographed the U.S. occupation of Iraq, which much like working in the Congo, took a lot of political dealing to be allowed access to the area. Among his other works are plane and car crashes as well as vehicles that have been abandoned and left to rust and rot in the earth. The Irish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale was a 6-screen installation created by Richard Mosse depicting the Civil War that has been active in the Congo for 15 years. The Civil War that is occurring in the Congo echoes that of the Troubles of Northern Ireland, but the scale at which people are losing their lives in the Congo is drastically higher than that of Ireland. Since 1998 5.4 million people have died in the Civil War of the Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo gained its independence from Belgium only a decade after Ireland gained its independence from the British Commonwealth. This similarity in time frame and the current enormous disparity between the nation’s political situations is what drove Ireland to represent the Congo in their pavilion this year. The installation is a film created by Mosse, Trevor Tweeten, and Ben Frost when they travelled to the Congo and documented the political situation. They used infrared film developed by the military to detect people wearing camouflage and it changes greens to a pink-maroon color. The film is actually film as well, and it gets converted to digital for display and preservation after being developed. Richard Mosse was selected because his work is jarring and difficult for the viewer to take in, it challenges the viewer to balance their ethics with their aesthetics. By presenting something so beautiful and with surreal colors due to the infrared film, Mosse has made the viewer have to reconcile their disgust with the imagery of war with their awe from the beauty of the landscape. At first Mosse and the Curator Anna O’Sullivan wanted to use a small church space called Sant’Antonin, but upon seeing a sample of the footage of the film that Mosse was going to exhibit, the local Bishop denied them access to the building and said that it flies in the face of the Church. By provoking such a strong reaction from the church and creating a space that is disorienting and almost suffocating you with imagery and sound, Mosse has created a highly successful exhibition that forces the viewer to confront their sensibilities. The installation was a collaborative process between Mosse, Trevor Tweeten (cinematographer), and Ben Frost (composer). All three travelled to the Congo to create the piece together, but it was the vision of Mosse that created the project and brought it to fruition.