Transfers of War

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Abstract

After returning from the war in Iraq I became increasingly aware with how the printed media in America is portraying our military’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially the inconsistency of what I remember and what is being depicted in the news. Untitled Media Images explores how the civilian population of the United States experience war through mediated media. The original source images are taken from major printed media outlets such as the New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, etc.

Through the exploration of thousands of images from the war, I came to the understanding; the media was printing three distinct archetypical images. After two years of research I have yet to find an image that doesn’t fit into these categories: The first image titled “Benign Intervention” shows U.S. and coalition forces interacting with locals or in empty spaces normally occupied by locals. The gestures of the coalition soldier are not aggressive, but instead defensive or casual. The second image “Abstracted Explosion” shows how the war is being fought by the US and coalition forces, this image creates great distances between the viewer and the death that would normally be associated with this type

of arsenal use. Typically denoted are buildings already exploded, pictured from a couple hundred yards distance. The third image “The Sacrifice,” shows the tragic loss of life. Only Afghan’s/Iraqi’s are illustrated in these sacrifices and almost always inflicted by other local nationals. The sacrifices are presented in a sustainable and acceptable quantity.

Pasted onto the walls these images will be subject to removal with the audiences assistance. Participants can use fingernails, coins, or other objects in there possession to scrape the images off of the walls. The essence of these photographs cannot be removed from the walls and our memories, although the clarity of reality is constantly being degraded and in flux. Remnants of the images will lay on the floor as they are left by the participants.

Link to Thesis at The Ohio State University