Cell 5 – 800° Celsius: Act 1–2 is a multimedia installation and performance that stands at the center of Negotiating the Law, a solo presentation of German video artist and filmmaker Mario Pfeifer. Through the artistic reworking of forensic materials and investigative strategies related to the deeply troubling case of the death of Oury Jalloh, a Sierra Leonean asylum seeker in Germany, the work aims to spark discussion about the coexistence of visual evidences, racism and institutional violence, and the importance of civil activism. The artist has closely collaborated with activists from Break the Silence, an initiative in remembrance of Jalloh that continues the investigation into his 2005 case—which remains one of Germany’s largest police controversies in relation to accusations of institutional racism.
Act 1 is entirely dedicated to one object: an ordinary disposable lighter, which is the central piece of evidence in Jalloh’s case. It appeared three days after the crime scene was secured, with investigators claiming it had previously been overlooked. No DNA traces of Jalloh or materials secured in the cell were found on the claimed evidence.
The artist has also invited Break the Silence—In Remembrance of Oury Jalloh to present their activist work, which demands justice for Jalloh and the prosecution of those responsible for the events of January 7, 2005.