spaces of terror

 

^ War Primer 2, Plate 23. 2011, by Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg.

 

< War Primer 2 is a limited edition book that physically inhabits the pages of Bertolt Brecht’s remarkable 1955 publication War Primer. The original is  a collection of Brecht’s newspaper clippings, each accompanied by a four-line poem that he called Photo-epigrams. It was the culmination of almost three decades of intermittent activity.  The title deliberately recalls the textbooks used to teach elementary school children how to read; Brecht’s book is a practical manual, demonstrating how to “read” or “translate” press photographs. Brecht was profoundly uneasy about the affirmative role played by the medium within the political economy of capitalism and referred to press photographs as hieroglyphics in need of decoding.

War Primer 2 is the belated sequel. While Brecht’s War Primer was concerned with images of the Second World War, War Primer 2 is concerned with the images of conflict generated by both sides of the so-called “War on Terror”.

“Don’t start with the good old things but the bad new ones” Brecht famously said, and in this spirit Broomberg and Chanarin [choppedliver] have gathered their material from the internet – compressed, uploaded, ripped, squeezed, reformatted, re-edited and often anonymous images – rather than sifting through newspapers with a pair of scissors.

Heiner Müller once said that to use Brecht without changing him is an act of betrayal. With War Primer 2 Broomberg and Chanarin have appropriated Brecht’s original, giving us their critique of images of contemporary conflict, which is simultaneously a betrayal and a homage.> [source text> MACK books]

War Primer 2, Plate 72. 2011, by Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg.

War Primer 2, Plate 6. 2011, by Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg.

War Primer 2, Plate 21. 2011, by Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg.

 

 

^  Saturday Come Slow, 2010. Filmed inside Cambridge University’s anechoic chamber (designed to create total silence) and featuring former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Ruhal Ahmed, this short by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin is a reflection on Ahmed’s experiences whilst in detention (particularly how he was interrogated using high-volume music) and about the use of human sound on the body. 

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