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Web Biennial 2012 - Josh Bricker - Post Newtonianism (War Footage/ Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare)
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Uploaded on May 14, 2010
Post Newtonianism (War Footage/Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare Footage)
This piece is a two channel video with sound. The video on the left consists of a loop of actual war footage taken from cameras mounted on American military aircraft, from both airplanes and helicopters. Taken during the first Gulf War in 1991, and the current occupation of Iraq the footage shows the bombing of vehicles, military targets as well as the shooting of insurgents and oppositional forces. In contrast the footage on the right is from the popular video game "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare". The sound track is a mixture of audio taken from the video game and the footage released by Wikileaks approximately two months ago in which the US military killed two reporters working for Reuters as well as a number of unarmed civilians.
Read from left to right the video acts as a timeline, showing the ways in which war has been presented to my generation. First as surreal black and white (sometimes green from night vision) grainy video, to the hyperrealist, slightly less grainy representation in the video games many Americans have grow up playing . As the first true, real time, television war the first Gulf War was experienced by many as grainy, soundless video, devoid of people, clear representations of devastation or human loss. Instead we were confronted with this amazing, surreal, real time footage that was disembodying. Instantly and for the first time the reality of war was primetime entertainment merging both reality and simulacrum. Each step in this binary timeline desensitized us further from the horrors of war. Through hearing the audio we experience the result of our collective desensitization in the brutally insensitive, numbed and distant language used by American soldiers in Iraq. Additionally as the audio plays we become aware of the encroachment upon reality by the media driven simulacrum. At the start of the piece we hear the audio taken from the Wikileaks video, gradually as the video plays the audio becomes entwined and merged with audio pulled from the video game. The end result is an approximately equal mix of sound from real and unreal sources, blurring the line of reality a little further.
Additionally this piece is about the power of the internet, as both a political and artistic tool. Every piece of footage and sound in this video was intentionally harvested from the internet for that purpose. My intention was to make something "high Art" using the internet and youtube, creating a work both political in content and form. Constructed using the "mash up" technique familiar to anyone watching youtube videos it looks and sounds like a youtube video and is made on one of the two platforms most if not all youtube video's are constructed on (final cut/premiere) .
My inspiration for making this piece comes from three sources; one the conversation we had as a class revolving around the Wikileaks video, two from reading Edward Said's "Orientalism" and three from reading Alan Lightman's "Reunion" . The title "Post Newtonianism", references Henry Kissinger's essay "Domestic Structure and Foreign Policy" in which he surmised that the inferiority and backwardness of the east lay in its refusal to acknowledge the Newtonian (read scientific) revolution.
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