CFP: Screening War
19 March 2014
If the Great War, whose centenary is commemorated this year, is often deemed as the birth of modern warfare, it is also the antechamber of modern war representation, laying the foundations of representational strategies that would become recurring in the visualisation of subsequent conflicts. Indeed, modern war is a product of both imaginary and material forces. As George Roeder has contended, war is a “way of seeing” (Roeder, 2006) couched in templates and prescriptions that organise the visual experience of war while at the same time containing the impact of its conduct. The visual mediation of war reflects ideological conceptions, manages anxiety and vents social fantasies. In fact, the recent visual history of war seems to mirror a growing demand for visibility, from Baudrillard’s claim that “the Gulf war did not take place” (Baudrillard, 1991) due to its contained imagery, to the pluralisation and dissemination of multiple images, from surveillance footage to soldier’s private videos, as the case of Abu Ghraib has shown not so long ago. At the same time, this demand for visibility is often hampered by dynamics of opacity that regulate and obstruct the visualisation of war in spite of the proliferation of warfare images. In addition, as many authors have begun to argue, images themselves have become a central instrument not only for understanding war but also to actually waging war, replacing techno-war as the dominant war fighting model (Mitchell, 2011; Roger, 2013).
With new logics of creation, consumption and reproduction emerging within a convergence culture, the conditions of seeing and showing war are nevertheless haunted by past conflicts and by visual reconceptualisations of them. This issue aims at reflecting upon the manifold ways war has been brought to the screen in various genres and at different historical moments. Themes to be addressed by contributors may include but are not restricted to the following:
Audiovisual representation of war past and present - Artistic renditions of war - Terror and spectacle - Cyber war, surveillance, inside views of war - Convergence, post-convergence and participatory culture - Representations of captivity - Visibility and opacity of war - Violent images and images of violence - Reporting war and the ethics of seeing - Agency, resistance and citizenship - War iconography across the ages - War and (post-)memory - War and gender - Homefronts and homecomings - Aftermath, conciliation and peacemaking.
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