Installation shot of Enemy Blue exhibition at Belfast Exposed
3 channel synchronised video projection with single channel sound
Dur: 22m 22s

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Enemy Blue is a three screen synchronized video installation that examines the material surface of video and it’s place in relation to propaganda and remediation through a narrative on ‘friendly fire’. The work conflates material from a number of sources, namely, Edward Hunter’s “Analyses of Jane Fonda Activities in North Vietnam”, a Committee report to the United States House of representatives “Misleading Information from the Battlefield: the Tillman and Lynch episodes” and Gerhard Richter’s published notes on political ideology. The work was developed through the production of a series of purposefully graded video segments, Enemy Blue, Chromatic Aberration, Geisterbilder and Blue On Blue and the inclusion of found footage of Pat Tillman during his tenure in the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

The work explores the failure of video to articulate politicized historical narratives. Despite the proliferation of digital high-definition technologies our access to and experience of the wider world has been increasingly mediated through ‘poor’ images. Hand held camera-phones, transcoded archive footage, surveillance footage and low-res streams proliferate the political landscape. In an aesthetic transposition our relationship to these images have come to define a kind of authenticity; that, despite their lack of information or detail, we imbue them with an experience of truth.

The subjects in each video range from sleight of hand card tricks, official US government reports on the ‘friendly fire’ killing of Specialist Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and Gerhard Richter’s writings on political ideology. The grading processes transform the images into false historical documents (despite the dubious ‘authenticity’ of their texts); this identifies their position as material, as mutable, as having a surface, as being susceptible to transformation or change. In this manner the material of video functions as a kind of propaganda, in having two sides, in both causing transformation of narrative and being subject to transformation by narrative. Hunter’s text is apposite in this context as it attempts to codify kinds of propaganda into a range of colour designations: black, white, grey, blue. He acknowledges an inherent duplicity in the context of political statements made during a time of war; that propaganda is, by turns, both true and false. This dialogue and its remediation as a video document establish a contextual lexicon where the intersection of colour as a grading device and grading as a form of video manipulation are explored.

Exploring the space between specific mediated narratives on propaganda, each of the three ‘texts’ occupy positions across time and polarized political territories. Each finding itself exposed to the scrutiny of the camera and the microphone and, ultimately, the remediating intervention of the public spectator. The construction of an overarching homogenous narrative is withheld and the work explores the process of remediation as connections are made and unmade between the texts the voices that inhabit them and the corresponding images.

A review of this exhibition by Slavka Sverakova can be accessed here.