A continuous loop that will leave you desiring a definition of truth.
As spectators, endlessly bombarded with coverage of distant wars through multi-faceted media outlets, it seems reasonable to be both in ore of, and dismissive of all ‘truths’ offered to us. As warfare moves further from feet on the ground, towards stealth drones in the skies, I wonder whether we will ever be able to trust anything that we are told in the press, we seem to be living in an era of digital Chinese whispers.
Imagery and illusion have become so sophisticated in the 21st century that we are unable to find reference within this bubbling political hotbed of war correspondence. Technologically our world’s landscape is much smaller, but our genuine understanding of beyond our own borders seems entirely distorted. Computer games are mistaken for whistle-blower exposes of military footage, censorship if rife, the work of photojournalists misprinted and taken out of context, and media outlets seem to be owned by a few oldies with their fingers in many pies (and in some cases pie in their face). Then there is Fox News….making stuff up for the sheer hell of it.
Omer Fast’s 30 minute film maximises upon this hysteria of doubt and judgement. Tucked within the sprawling depths of the Imperial War Museum, that happens to be under relentless constructive surgery, I walk into the dark room where Omer’s haunting work is situated. Instantly lost within the loop of the film my initial impression is how striking and unapologetic the cinematography is. It scowers the glitzy Vegas landscape, lurks in dank hotel rooms, and then shoots out into distant lands destined to be flattened in a short lived game of cat and mouse (with a striking resemblance to Call of Duty). Modern reference to youthful popular culture clashes with an old man’s guilt who is agitated with the horrors of a new brand of reflective existence, and another mans indifference to operating a drone. The film comments across the different stages of war, and conscious involvement.
The film slips between documentary,war film, computer game, stage acting, to the aesthetic of Wiki-leaked internet footage. As the audience we have to decipher what is staged and what is real, if this is at all possible, and whether this is relevant after all. Every view is the collective vision from behind a screen of data, none of it is ‘real’.
This is the kind of work that I like to stay with, to pick around and put in the hard graft. Responsibility creeps up around you, and stays with you long past the coffee shop on the way 0ut. It is oppressive and a reminder of humanities burden. It is something that as a species we seem incapable of leaving behind.
Imperial War Museum
Until September 2013