the house without living room

^ Original building plans of Osama’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Graphics via bbc news.


<The Pentagon refused to release any official photographs that would credibly establish the al Qaeda chief as having been among those killed in the attack. […] In the society of the spectacle should we be surprised that the two most widely circulated images surrounding Operation Neptune’s Spear are pictures of people watching TV.> [Iain Boal in his essay Heads in a Box, Photoworks Magazine Nov-April 2011/12]

These pictures that Boal refers to consisted of: Obama’s team faces clustered around a screen in the White House (we cannot see what they watch), and Osama watching himself on a domestic TV monitor while sitting alone in his Abbottabad compound (we can see what he watches). Apart from that, two other relevant images widely circulated through the Internet, both low-res and high-res hybrids. First, a blurry image of a bed on top of a rug covered in blood inside Osama’s Pakistani residential complex after the US military attack. In our current hyper-technified age, low-quality footage recorded with some sort of mobile device still proofs more authentic than professional imagery. And second, a fake photocomposition of Osama’s corpse. The world was eager to find material proof of the event, but the intelligentsia decided that we should rather believe it.

Last week, the demolition of the site was accomplished, and with it, all remaining evidence of Osama’s presence disappeared. The process of tearing down his hideout physically exposed its interior to the world for some minutes before vanishing forever.

^ Obama’s team watching news. Released by the White House, 1 May 2011. Image via dailymail

^ Osama watching TV in his Abbottabad compound. Image via dailymail

^ Osama’s Abbottabad compound after US military attack. Still from abc news.

^ Photocomposite of Osama’s corpse. Image via indiavision.

^ Demolishing Osama Bin Laden’s compound. AFP. Image via deccanchronicle.


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