Laura Poitras on the War on Terror and Surveillance

November 28, 2012

In this episode of Forms of Life, Creative Time’s chief curator, Nato Thompson, speaks with award-winning filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras about her trilogy of documentaries centered on post-9/11 America.


National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Photo courtesy of the NSA.

In this episode of Forms of Life, host Nato Thompson speaks with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras about her trilogy of films addressing the War on Terror—and the extreme risk involved in making them. Poitras’s first film in the series, My Country, My Country (2006), was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Her next film, The Oath (2010), won Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. Despite such accolades, Poitras has been detained for Homeland Security interrogations dozens of times while attempting to re-enter the United States, and her laptop, notebooks, cell phone and other belongings have been repeatedly seized and searched. Her next film, the final installment in her trilogy, focuses on the U.S. government’s powers of surveillance.

Forms of Life is a monthly podcast hosted by Creative Time’s chief curator, Nato Thompson. Guests are culture makers whose work posits new ways of looking at political realities. By addressing a wide variety of issues—such as alternative economies, calcified political structures and new forms of collective living—or simply by being a thorn in the side of normality, Forms of Life interviews provide an opportunity to think counterintuitively about social conditions faced by people around the world.

Special thanks to The Clocktower Gallery and for their support.