Leave and Let Us Go began in 2017 during the Mosul Offensive with an 88km panoramic image of Mosul Road, the main thoroughfare connecting Erbil to West Mosul. Sitting on top of a truck, I took one image every three seconds and manually stitched each image together to create a visual of the landscape and daily life along a road that connected the heart of the proclaimed ISIS Caliphate to a city they could not capture.
the landscape passing by her lens. She digitally stitched the resulting images together into an infinite panorama: from a local market in Erbil where life seems like business as usual, ending at the ruins of the Al Nuri Mosque in West Mosul which was destroyed in 2017 – and where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the Caliphate in July 2014. Howland’s endeavour resembles Google Street View. At this time of writing, however, Google still does not offer a street view of Mosul Road, through which Mosul Road, 88 km reveals a gap in the illusion of digital omniscience. But it’s not just the providing of missing information that stands out. By adopting the straightforward and factual recording strategy of the ‘uncaring camera’, as Ben Burbridge describes the non-human, automated photography of Google Street View cars, Howland’s performance paradoxically proves the opposite: Mosul Road, 88 km is a painstaking effort to document without judgement and with utmost care. Instead of filtering out the spectacle of war, the panorama just as much conveys the boredom of the mundane, literally providing a full picture of life in a conflict zone.