Contesting Images of Political Conflict

Whitney Independent Study Program is setting up Image War, an exhibition of artistic works that remix, transform, or mimic images from the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans, hijackings, popular uprisings, recent American military interventions, and other violent political events.

Among the works featured in the show:

In his Afghan Dialogs series, Rainer Ganahl took taglines from the bottom of cable news channels during the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. He embroidered them into silk banners, and sent then to Afghanistan, where residents were given the opportunity to stitch their own responses to these taglines.

ad_americaatwar02s.jpgImg32.jpgJoy Garnett’s painting Kill Box (part of the Night Vision series) appropriates a night-vision image of a tank from the First Gulf War as made iconic by TV news coverage.

In Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1995-7), Johan Grimonprez mines archives of televised
airplane hijackings, remixing the material into a disco-driven video narrative that rethinks depictions of air terror and that, some say, eerily foreshadowed 9-11 (video excerpt and trailer).

16un.jpgcamp1_skyb_s.jpgBeyond Manzanar: An American Internment Camp: Between Fears and Realities, by Tamiko Thiel and Zara Houshmand, uses navigable 3-D game technology to immerse viewers in an historical and cultural space and engage them as participants in history.

“The piece explores media scapegoating of immigrant groups in times of crisis,” said Thiel, who compared the internment of Japanese Americans at Manzanar, Calif., during World War II to the threatened internment of Iranian-Americans during the 1979-80 hostage crisis. “The installation also finds echoes in post-9/11 discrimination against people of Middle Eastern extraction today,” Thiel added. (via)

Other participating artists: Willie Doherty, Claire Fontaine, Coco Fusco, Jon Haddock, Amar Kanwar, An-My Le, Din Q. Lê, Radical Software Group (RSG).

Image War, at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, May 19 – June 25, 2006.

Press release (PDF)
Via Rhizome Newsgrist.