Most mediated images of suffering are presented in order to solicit seemingly benign responses from the viewer. In this sense, they are a form of propaganda attempting to elicit either an active call for the prevention of further or similar suffering, or a passive ‘bearing witness’. To make, circulate, publish, exhibit or curate images of suffering bodies, bodies in pain and corpses is therefore to draw attention to ‘something’ in specific way; that is, to make a statement that cannot be made by other means in a manner that calls upon viewers to respond.
The War and Media Network is a multidisciplinary group of practitioners and academics that asks questions of and about the morality of such imagery. The project seeks to extend the scope of debate beyond issues of desensitization and sensationalism to include:
A key objective of the War and Media Network is to recognise the ‘practitioner experience’ in the exploration of these issues. Bringing together a diverse range of practitioners and academics, the War and Media Network is thus fundamentally informed by, whilst seeking to inform, moral dimensions in the production and dissemination of images of suffering in a pragmatic yet scholarly manner.
If you are interested in becoming involved in this project or would like further information, please contact Bob Brecher.
Further information on the project and those co-ordinating it please see the following: