Leshu Torchin: Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet (2012)

2 September 2013, dusan

“Since the beginning of the conflict in 2003, more than 300,000 lives have been lost in Darfur. Players of the video game Darfur Is Dying learn this sobering fact and more as they endeavor to ensure the survival of a virtual refugee camp. The video game not only puts players in the position of a struggling refugee, it shows them how they can take action in the real world.

Creating the Witness examines the role of film and the Internet in creating virtual witnesses to genocide over the past one hundred years. The book asks, how do visual media work to produce witnesses—audiences who are drawn into action? The argument is a detailed critique of the notion that there is a seamless trajectory from observing an atrocity to acting in order to intervene. According to Leshu Torchin, it is not enough to have a camera; images of genocide require an ideological framework to reinforce the messages the images are meant to convey. Torchin presents wide-ranging examples of witnessing and genocide, including the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust (engaging film as witness in the context of the Nuremburg trials), and the international human rights organization WITNESS and its sustained efforts to use video to publicize human rights advocacy and compel action.

From a historical and comparative approach, Torchin’s broad survey of media and the social practices around it investigates the development of popular understandings of genocide to achieve recognition and response—both political and judicial—ultimately calling on viewers to act on behalf of human rights.”

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2012
Visible Evidence series, Volume 26
ISBN 0816676224, 9780816676224
296 pages

Author’s discussion of the book

PDF (updated on 2021-1-24)

Peter Watkins: Notes on The Media Crisis (2010)

5 June 2011, dusan

Peter Watkins (Norbiton, United Kingdom, 1935) gained critical recognition in the sixties as a result of the scandal arising from the BBC’s boycott against his film The War Game. Nevertheless, although he continued to produce a series of essential, radical works that did not fit within conventional film or adhere to the timing standards of mainstream cinema, his films where no longer mentioned or taken into account as key works in debates on political commitment and the cinematic image. Peter Watkins’s last work, La commune (1999) represents, among many other things, a curious rereading of the relationship between film and the discourses of history, by means of the rupture of the illusion of representation through the blurring of the boundary that usually separates actors from the characters they play.

In Spring 2010, the MACBA presented a retrospective on Peter Watkins, which reviews his contribution to contemporary film and, in particular, his status as a pioneer of docudrama and false documentary.

Edited by Vida Urbonavicius
Publisher MACBA, Barcelona, 2010
Quaderns portàtils (Portable Notebooks) series
ISSN: 1886-5259
14 pages



David Thorburn, Henry Jenkins (eds.): Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition (2004)

16 January 2011, dusan

The essays in Rethinking Media Change center on a variety of media forms at moments of disruption and cultural transformation. The editors’ introduction sketches an aesthetics of media transition—patterns of development and social dispersion that operate across eras, media forms, and cultures. The book includes case studies of such earlier media as the book, the phonograph, early cinema, and television. It also examines contemporary digital forms, exploring their promise and strangeness. A final section probes aspects of visual culture in such environments as the evolving museum, movie spectaculars, and “the virtual window.”

The contributors reject apocalyptic scenarios of media revolution, demonstrating instead that media transition is always a mix of tradition and innovation, an accretive process in which emerging and established systems interact, shift, and collude with one another.

Publisher MIT Press, 2004
Media in Transition series
ISBN 0262701073, 9780262701075
416 pages

google books

PDF (updated on 2012-7-15)