Warning: "This is not a blog for children."
That's according to the mission statement of the blogger Legofesto, who's amazingly found a way to use LEGO the stackable, clickable, infinitely malleable children's toys to tell the story of Guantanamo Bay detainees, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, British bank instability, and civilian deaths in the Iraq War. Legofesto, a blogger located in the United Kingdom, won't reveal her identity, but her politics are clear. According to the profile on her blog, she's "a politics-junkie and news-hound, with a obsession for lego and other construction toys ... She is very, very pissed off about how this War on Terror is being prosecuted by US/UK." (And she's careful to point out that the company LEGO does not endorse her use of their ubiquitous blocks.) (See pictures of life inside Guantanamo.)
But use them she does to their fullest political protest potential. (Real Warning: Although these images are made completely out of LEGOs, they are disturbing.) Legofesto posts her creations on a blog and Flickr page. Who knew there were so many different LEGO accessories and facial expressions? There's a Gitmo prisoner strapped to a stretcher wearing a black hood made out of LEGOs. There's a detainee getting waterboarded by LEGO figurines. There's President Bush declaring "Missing Accomplished" standing at a LEGO podium. "By using toys, I hope the viewer will linger longer over the image and think again about what is actually being depicted or described, in a visual language that is recognized by us all: LEGO," wrote Legofesto in an e-mail.
The juxtaposition of ubiquitous plastic toys and brutal violence may seem downright strange, but there's something eerily familiar about LEGOs that brings issues like waterboarding into sharp focus. Says Legofesto: "The incongruity between the immoral and horrific acts and events depicted and the smiley-faced childrens' toy creates a tension." Legofesto says she decided to recreate images of torture and violence out of LEGOs due to the reluctance of media organizations to publish enough actual, real-life images of what she views as criminal acts. The images range from the death of a protester at the recent G-20 meeting in London to the alleged rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl.
"I made do with what I had at hand. A big box of my old LEGO from childhood, some newer pieces of my boy's and access to a lot of images and testimony of human rights abuses to use as source material," explains Legofesto. Of course, torture is not a game, which may be why using toys to illustrate such violence is so horrific.