Issue 3| Fall 2014
Editorial - Images at War
Arresting Images: Inhabiting the Nazi Archive in Yael Hersonski´s A Film Unfinished
Abstract | The filmic appropriation of archival imagery has become pivotal within the new archival economy of memory. What is particularly striking about this transnational trend is that more than a reproduction of images of the past for illustrative purposes, at stake in many recent appropriation films is a post-memorial fascination with archival images and simultaneously a critical interrogation of their epistemological gaps, their conditions of production, and their role in shaping the memory of historical violence. Yael Hersonski’s A Film Unfinished (2010), which refigures a Nazi propaganda film of the Warsaw ghetto, is a symptomatic case where the enigmatic appeal of archival images coexists with a suspicious examination of their constitutive flaws. Through close reading of the film, and a discussion of Derrida’s notion of “archive fever” in relation to the Nazi archival culture, this article will inquire into the dynamics of archive imagery at play within contemporary cinematic practices, arguing that the disappearance of the witness has raised a renewed crisis of representation of the Holocaust, in which the archive becomes a critical but fraught centrepiece.
Keywords | archive fever; Derrida; Nazi footage; Holocaust; Warsaw ghetto; Claude Lanzmann; Yael Hersonski.
Abstract | Anri Sala’s film 1395 Days Without Red (2011) provides a kind of reenactment of an accidental day during the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo. Shot in today’s Sarajevo, the film revisits and embodies some of the widely circulated images of the siege, such as inhabitants sprinting across so-called Sniper Alley in order to avoid the bullets of the Bosnian Serbian snipers positioned around the city. Based on a close reading of Sala’s work, this article will scrutinize how subjectivating techniques of power, during times of war, affectively work to create boundaries between those excluded from and those included within humanity. Conversely, focusing on how these techniques are being questioned within the work, I will discuss the resistance potential of what I will refer to as practices of subjectivization. Eventually, I will seek to position the “war-critical” strategy of the work within a broader context of the late modern war paradigm.
Keywords | Anri Sala; war; critical art; siege of Sarajevo; manhunt; affect; political subjectivization; late modern war paradigm.
Abstract | Over the course of the last months, a series of dramatic events taking place within the Middle Eastern geo-political scenario have drawn global attention to the rise of the Islamic State and, in particular, to both the brutality and expertise that characterize the visual strategies of communication of this new jihadist extreme fringe. However, in order to better comprehend the current relationship between Islamic radicalism and the contemporary mediascape, it might be useful to take a step back and deepen our understanding of the use of new technological devices and digital media promoted by Al-Qaeda (the most relevant terroristic organization operating in the last decade), especially after the 9/11 attacks and during the consequent War on Terror. This article seeks to tackle this issue, analysing contemporary strategies of self-configuration in wartime and focusing on two particular elements: bin Laden´s self-iconography, composed by a large number of video-messages performed by the Saudi sheikh from 2001 to his death, and the increasing relevance in the media of the Islamic shahid, a suicide-bomber who is also the author of a striking video-testament that precedes his final action of death.
Keywords | War on Terror, new media, war visuality, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, shahid.
War and the Connective Turn. Interview with Andrew Hoskins
[Diana Gonçalves & Daniela Agostinho]
The War that Did not End. Interview with Aida Begić
[Beatriz Hernández & Daniela Agostinho]
Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art after 9/11 | Jill BENNETT
Journalism and Memory | Barbie ZELIZER and Keren TENENBOIM-WEINBLATT (eds)
Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crises | Stuart ALLAN