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Posts Tagged ‘SyrianDaysOfRage’

Performance on the rubble

August 25, 2012 Comments off

The video Over Rubble, The Brave Continue to Stand for Freedom, appeared on the SyrianDaysOfRage youtube feed on August 3, 2012. The video differs from most of the clips from the Syrian available online. It does not have a solely evidential function, as it is not a direct documentation of the Syrian Army’s atrocities, shelling of cities, piles of mutilated and dismembered torsos, etc; it is not a call for attention as in the videos of victims describing what went on during an attack as in a news reportage; it is not of army defectors or formation of battalions declaring their position to the internet; not a documentation of direct confrontation between the Free Syrian Army and the regime; not Assad forces “leaked” videos. This video is of a group of civilians (or they appear to be) staging a performance over rubble from a recent shelling in Talbiseh near the city of Holms. Holding placards with slogans and information, the group chants La Ilaha Illa Allah, and Assad is God’s enemy. The person on the top right in what appears to be the kitchen holds a sign that reads “home of martyr Jalal aldin Latoof,” thus we know that the performance is taking place over what once used to be his house. Others signs are either asking for God’s mercy, or include messages to Assad. In the middle of the image someone is waving the Free Syrian flag. In the group of four on the left one is holding a sign, another a flag and the two children are each holding a smaller placard. Upon closer scrutiny it becomes clear that the two children are wearing masks.

Over Rubble, The Brave Continue to Stand for Freedom, youtube still frame

The video at once shows the destruction of the city, it includes information about its location, but also by turning the site of destruction into a stage it implies a consciousness with regards to the spectacle of the war and directly addresses it. It shows that not only the rebels are using the media to disseminate information and as a documentary tool, but are also aware of the medium and its possibilities and complexities. The video is showing not the dead, but the survivors, it commemorates the dead, but does not turn them into evidentiary material, it acknowledges their presence, or rather absence, but not by victimizing them through the image. The technique is not dissimilar to the songs in epic theater, while the larger narrative that it is inserted in is the visual online database of the conflict. It is made to go on the flow of clips and appear on the side bar, and momentarily disrupt the stream of violence, while not discarding it by way of complete distraction.

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Looking through the window

June 8, 2012 Comments off

There is a genre of videos coming out of Syria that could be called “looking through the window” video, where people pull the curtains and record what is happening right outside of their window. There have been similar videos from other recent uprisings, showing the treatment of the protestors by the police in quiet streets and alleyways etc. In Syria, tanks are roaming through the streets, massacres are happening right across the sidewalk. In the tradition of news reportage, most of these videos provide a voice over that aims to contextualize the image. In Areeha | Idlib | FSA Destroys Regime Tank, a recent post on SyrianDaysOfRage’s youtube channel we can see the explosion of a tank captured on the camera of a citizen reporter. First we see the street through the window, a tank enters the frame from the right side and is hit by a missile. It immediately catches fire and accelerates, while the civilian reporter stops the narration and repeatedly chants allahu akbar.

Areeha | Idlib | FSA Destroys Regime Tank, youtube stil frame

The tank goes behind a tree and explodes right outside of the window, over-exposes, pixelates and wipes out the image briefly at the moment of explosion. Shattered pieces of the tank scatter over the rooftops, and fall right outside the window, the camera [man] is moved by the shockwaves and the video ends with the image of red drapes at the corner of the window, while the man still chants allahu akbar. This is one of the most dramatic and intense videos of this kind, showing a city turned into a war zone. This form of newscast, unmediated by the figure of the reporter in front of the camera, with his/her back to the event, has become an accepted format in journalism. Now there is nothing between the journalist and the event, and all Syrian buildings and interiors have become news headquarters, and all civilians war correspondences. Syrian windows have become screens opening to a theatre of destruction.

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Becoming google

May 23, 2012 Comments off

Google image search is topical. You put in a word, it gives you an image. You enter ‘plastic cup’ it gives you plastic cups, you enter ‘blobs on Mars’ it lists you images of blobs on Mars. The database is constantly growing, “Egyptian presidential elections,” did not generate images as much as it does today. The google images’ search result has the ‘look of content’, it has the appearance of intentionality, a hint towards conventions that assign meaning to taxonomy. But conducting searches is a movement of subjectivity, that gives form to intentionality by inhabiting the format of ‘results’, while modifying the methodology of grouping.

Image from Dina Kelberman’s “I’m Google”

I’m Google, is Dina Kelberman’s tumblr stream of images that follow a formal movement where batches of pictures and videos seamlessly follow one another, as we move from clouds to burning bushes to parking lots to wigs. It is formal repetition that moves toward content, and aggregation is not a collection of the same. One wolf is different from a pack of wolves. The tumblr while inhabits the look of generated results, it gradually makes visible a flow of form that plays the role of ‘the look of content’ like an old man who plays the role of a young woman acting the role of a young woman. It is through this second layer that the visual aggregation performs content. But on the other hand, the I’m Google, shows how in fact the medium itself prompts subjectivity through its application, and as such it points to the rearrangement of visual experience. This second turn becomes significant while looking at topical hoardings online, in particular those that follow a certain ideological or political intention. For instance, browsing through more than 8000 videos that the SyrianDaysOfRage youtube page has uploaded since July 2011, one cannot fail to recognize certain formal patterns. It is through the application of youtube to the images that these forms become visible, while the pre-established content hinges upon the aggregation that followed.