Ana, thank you for sharing your thoughts about VB exhibition and raising this topic.
While reading the discussion started by you about public war representation by artists and reporters, and thinking about the issues raised by it, particularly relations between the subjective experience and perception of war, and the macro-politics of mediated representation of war, I remembered a story of a journalist, I once met, about her encounter of reporting from a war zone. It was quite a few years ago in Moscow, the time somewhat in the beginning of the Second Chechen campaign. A young independent French journalist, very pretty miniature girl with the Russian name Olga (unfortunately I don't remember her last name), who you would rather expect to be one of the bohemian Moscow film festival crowd we were surrounded by in a cafe, where we were sitting, than picture her with a heavy tv camera among militaries at the front line. Nevertheless she'd been just recently back from Chechnia, where she went in the company of a cameraman who worked for one of the European tv channels. That guy though got scared at the last moment and changed his mind, but she managed to get his camera and continued on her own. (The guy then apparently sold the report as his own.) For quite a while she stayed with Russian troops which were involved in active military operations, trying to document what was going on on both sides when possible. I remember her frustration about the experience she had as a reporter. She admitted that to portray the reality as it was did not help her to figure out the truth beneath the surface of the events she was witnessing. Moreover, she found herself to be an object of manipulations by both sides: Russian militaries and Chechens (whoever they were, she never even found out). She did not sound and look neither as a naive self-indulged hero, nor as a dedicated self-abundant professional, nor as a career hunter, but rather as a disillusioned person facing failure. I have never met her again. Later I heard from a friend, who introduced us, that she had problems with renewing her Russian visa. I guess, that someone working for BBC or CNN, or another big media corporation, a highly qualified professional provided with all necessary news-production assistance, has much more confidence about the quality, significance and truthfulness of what s/he is doing, while delivering her/his observations on camera at the background of a just bombed area or even an ongoing attack. I respect very much the courage and dedication of those journalists risking their lives in order to show us the reality of wars. But are these "truthful" images of wars the essential "truth" about wars which the public must know in order to engage with the war reality one way or another? This spectacle of war to which mass media expose the public every day are consequences of the politics from which the public is excluded in the firs place. If massive public protests all over the world against the war in Iraq did not stop a bunch of irresponsible politicians to start it anyway, what else can you do? Either produce or consume its images with all cynicism implied. The disengagement, cynicism and apathy, or even worse - pretentious sentimentality, which mass media teach the public, is not as much the result of overexposure to brutal images, as it is result of feeding the public the "truth" about its irrelevance as active subjects for both, "big" politics and media spectacle experts. It's pretty obvious that exposing the true horrors of war without seriously addressing the underlying truths the public must know, which would concern for example such questions as: how a particular war became possible in the first place, despite all kinds of conflict and problems mediation, resolution, regulation institutions, mechanisms, and laws established and developed on behalf of public and financed by public money? what's wrong with all these institutions and legislations? how to hold particular individuals responsible for their back-doors deals and irresponsible actions, especially if they are not leaders of weak 3d-world politically and economically irrelevant states? etc. There is a lack of serious analytical and investigative journalism which would present us not just with the images of icebergs tops, but the factual mechanics of underlying processes. Although it's the result of structural politico-economical troubling developments, as it's been already pointed out by quite a few critics of mass media industries, including Herman and Chomsky in "Manufacturing Consent". And unfortunately brave independent and civil journalists and field reporters hardly can successfully compensate this lack, without the support and resources which powerful media corporations can provide. # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: [EMAIL PROTECTED] and "info nettime-l" in the msg body # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: [EMAIL PROTECTED]