Screening War
Detail of the exhibition "Screening War"
On the Representation of War in Video Art
Fri, October 14, 2005 – Sun, November 20, 2005

War and terror are inseparably bound up with the media, for war would be unthinkable without news. Present-day fighting, armed conflicts and other warlike activities can be used to show that wars fade into the background or are no longer registered if there are no pictures available. As Paul Virilio pointed out in 1991, images themselves have turned into ammunition and their presentation on television and computer screens in real time has become a crucial element of combat strategy. Video and television have contributed far more than photography and film to the presentation of war as a virtual reality. Images of war exert a fascination because of their totality, violence and military coding, but only because the media keep them at a distance. They support the movements of war, but they also mobilise art. The new visual dimension of war, as illustrated by the First Gulf War and the terrorist attacks of 11 September, has led to a new examination of scenes of disaster involving the use of apocalyptic images.

The »Screening War« exhibition looks at the war representation strategies to be found in video art and asks whether texts can be written that run counter to the communication of information by pictorial means. In addition to the presentation of current works the exhibition comprises a survey of the way in which war has been reflected in video art since the 1970s. The emphasis, which is only natural in view of the medium involved, is on the artistic response to the coverage of war in the media, the use of military equipment and the influence of the barrage of images from Hollywood. The contributions, all of which go beyond mere professions of an anti-war attitude, also focus on the problem faced by the artists themselves, since they are regularly confronted with their own powerlessness, potential voyeurism and fascination for images of violence and the theme of war.

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

Kulturreferat der LH München im Maximiliansforum München