TROPHIES OF BUTCHERY, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Region/Concept: Africa, Violence

Sub-Concepts: Camouflage, Fragmentation, Disappearance, War, The Gaze
Description: Art photographer uses infrared film—Kodak Aerochrome film, designed by the US military in the 1940s—to capture militias, “makes the invisible, visible.”

Theory: Here, the artist-turned-sniper fashions an ocular standoff, where the mechanized line of sight functions as the ammunition of the armed eye. In this operation, the militarized gaze programs the prepossessed perception of the enemy and his fugitive encampment. Where the eye labors to function anatomically, it functions only as weapon. Where it attempts to wrench the camouflaged rebel, with his slurred allegiance and war-drunk smile, from insignificant darkness and into object of reflective horror and awe, it succeeds only in stimulating his flamboyant swaggering. Treating this posturing to the masses in production after exhibition where, with every other ‘act of taking aim,’ every interpretation, the object and his habitat are fractured, disjointed, fragmented, until they have dissolved into nothing—absolute disappearance of the authentic target. In effect, this resplendently phantasmagoric mass presentation of exposure serves not to illuminate the invisible (now just a superficial, paralyzed [a]trophy of defeat), nor even to let it linger in triviality, but rather—and with absolute synthetic precision—to utterly obliterate it.

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/world/africa/congo-richard-mosse-the-enclave/

Posted by: RLS

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