Land of Epic Battles
Working from the position of both censor and video editor, I isolate the single frames depicting sites that serve as backdrops for ISIS’s ritualistic displays of male camaraderie, acts of violence, and mutilations. The resulting screen captures do not overtly display the acts of mutilation and violence of ISIS’s videos. Instead, the images are organized into groups that give form to the do-it-yourself info-war coded lexicon of ISIS’s methods, signs, and symbols. Through the coded iconography of these groupings and the destructive potential of the gunpowder that is used to make the images, the violence of the source material is registered—suggested but not seen. The title for each image is taken from the ISIS video episode in which the image appeared, drawing our attention back to the horrific acts disseminated by these streams. These titles, such as The Necks Cutting; Crush Your Enemies; or My Revenge, lend context and form to what at first glance may seem like a series of random objects and sites. An image that resembles a graphite drawing of an empty truck in the desert or a helicopter hovering in a cloud-filled sky is indeed innocuous, until we’re told that the context is ISIS-produced media and that the print itself is made of explosives.
22x30 inch unique casein prints with gun powder on watercolor paper