[-empyre-] virtually true

O Danylyuk danylyuk at gmail.com
Sat Nov 8 00:21:44 EST 2014

Dear friends, apparently my post didn't go through. I am doing a repost.
 For last couple of years I occupied myself with the research of the
cultural imagination of war that resulted in thesis titled Virtually True:
Intermedial Strategies in Staging of War Conflict. My concern is that our
attachment to actuality is largely lost in the mediatised world, especially
due to the proliferation and artful hyper intensification of the violent
imaginary. The 'terror of the image' on screen makes you freeze and feel
helpless in my opinion. If our culture of spectatorship neutralises the
moral force of indexical records I decided to avoid familiar templates and
considered neutral facticity of museum setting to present the military side
of conflict, apparent 'normality' of being a combatant in a war zone. I
created intermedial installation Soldiers of the Last Empire, based on
material collected from my encounters with Russian and Ukrainian military
and police offices trained initially in Soviet military schools. In the
course of history they served in Chechnya, Afganistan, Nagorny Karabach,
Yugoslavia, East Timor, Liberia and so on.

How to get to the actuality despite mediatization?

 I thought it would be good to have them live at my performance. It wasn't
feasible, my investigation resulted in a multiple data archive collected
from the participants personal photographs, objects or photographs of
objects that have been 'there', memoir, fragments of correspondence and
video interviews. It was very down to earth account as the combatants daily
jobs are for them.Taking my cue from  Foucaundian concept I observed the
practice of self as performed by combatants, yet those practices are not
entirely invented by individuals They are models found in culture and are
proposed or imposed upon individual by his culture, his society, and his
social group. Military group is always connect to the power structure, they
act in interests of their national states, which take the moral
responsibility of military actions.
So is soldier a mad subject or a patriot?

 Ethical concerns: I was very insecure dealing with the most controversial
issue, best exemplified by the title of book by american psychologist James
Hillman  A terrible Love of War (2004)

My role: practitioner/researcher as  'experiencer' , engaging into informal
investigation in a real life situation.

Olga Danylyuk
Director, designer
PhD candidate, Central School of Speech and Drama
London, UK
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