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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathImmersion

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experience of war in images is interfered with and destroyed by the medium of photography. Ultimately, it is about the role images play in our perception and appropriation of the world. Real atrocities are reduced to «significant surfaces,» to use an expression of Vilém Flusser's. Although the news pictures depict real events, they do not allow us any part or concern in this endless tragedy. Benayoun draws attention to this fact and also to the new technological developments from the military complex while at the same time he seeks to overcome this state of affairs through the use of new technology. In «World Skin,» the ubiquity of the photographic images creates a kind of second visual skin, which blankets reality and, in our memories, replaces it. Bit by bit, «World Skin's» panoramic space of image segments is erased and neutralized. The actions of the visitors cause a clean and non-symbolic data space to appear: they tear the skin off the image space and leave in its stead—nothing. It follows that for Benayoun photography represents death. Here he is in agreement with Vilèm Flusser, who described photography, like war, as a medium for tearing events out of history: «Like war, like photo: times stand still in both.»[5]


The sound, composed by Jean-Baptiste Barrière, has an important share in creating the impression of immersion. His composition reflects the topography of the image space. It is both present in the same texture and characterizes the potency of the images. Total immersion is only achieved through the synaesthesis of these effects. However, sound not only enhances the immersed state, it also encourages the viewer to destroy the image part of the immersion: what at first sounds like a camera shutter when the visitor takes pictures soon changes into the sound of gunfire. Depending on how often the camera is used, the sounds increase until they resemble the rapid fire of an automatic machine gun. This automatic destruction of the images through taking photos demonstrates a parallel to the compulsive behavior of machine-gunners—first observed in World War I—who under sustained fire could not take their fingers off the triggers of their weapons.[6] The viewers hear an ever-louder crescendo of detonations, which accompanies and intensifies the effect of the image space being destroyed, until the extent of the damage is so apparent that they are jolted out of their immersed state.

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