The Image in Question: War- Media- Art

16 Oct

If you’re in Cambridge, MA in the next few weeks and have an interest in how video games and other contemporary representational modes are interfacing with the production of modern war, the exhibition at the Carpenter Center for Visual Art is a must. Its banner question is: “How can wars of the present and the experience of war be adequately represented?”
Participants: Peggy Ahwesh, Kota Ezawa, Harun Farocki, William E. Jones, Lamia Joreige, and Wael Shawky. Moderator: Antje Ehmann

My own work (as playwright and scholar) has revolved around this question for some years now, and I’m excited to see visual artists deal with the use of animation and video-game technology in the training and rehabilitation of soldiers. I’m currently working with collaborators Joseph Megel and Jared Mezzocchi on The Underpass, a multi-media performance work on this very subject, though from a different and fictionalized perspective.

It seems to me that the absence or erasure of bodies from the technology of warfare is a development whose consequences bear urgent consideration. It leaves a psychic and physical residue that requires accounting. Video game versions of warfare are realistic to a fault–and that “fault” or fault-line is the question of consequence. Actual death, injury and aftermath do not visit the player–and yet accumulate apace, here or elsewhere, as a consequence of actual war, whether pursued by virtual means (drone strikes, robot soldiers) or embodied ones (fighting in the trenches).

The opening of THE IMAGE IN QUESTION is on Thursday October 21st at 6 pm; see above link for details of other events and more information on the exhibition.

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