Another look

Richard Mosse

Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost travelled in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence. The resulting installation, The Enclave, is the culmination of Mosses’ attempt to radically rethink war photography. It is a search for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten African tragedy in which 5.4 million people have died of war-related causes in eastern Congo since 1998.

A long-standing power vacuum in eastern Congo has resulted in a horrifying cycle of violence, a Hobbesian ‘state of war’, so brutal and complex that it resists communication, and goes unseen in the global consciousness. Mosse brings a discontinued military surveillance film into this situation, representing an intangible conflict with a medium that registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, and was originally designed for camouflage detection. The resulting imagery, shot on 16mm infrared film by cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, renders the jungle war zone in disorienting psychedelic hues of vivid magenta, lavender, cobalt, and puce. Ben Frost’s ambient audio composition, comprised entirely of organic Congolese field recordings, hovers bleakly over the unfolding tragedy.

NOTE: Infrared-sensitive photographic plates were developed in the United States during World War I for spectroscopic analysis, and infrared sensitizing dyes were investigated for improved haze penetration in aerial photography. After 1930, new emulsions from Kodak and other manufacturers became useful to infrared astronomy.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the Director Bureau of Standards to the Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1919 U. S. Govt. Print. Off., United States National Bureau of Standards, pp. 115–119, 1919.

Technology which enables us to view/experience different dimensions of our world may mostly be applied in defense/commerce/politics however on a much broader level they let us visualise an ‘other’, previously un described version of events and thus brings to the fore the concept of other states/realities which we may included in our world view in order to accommodate the possibility of an endless addition/amendment of our original position. 

Below is my experimentation with an image taken on a sunny blue sky day – some scattered clouds and a draped green foreground has been altered – light affected – by way of imagining what another set of eyes might see – what another dimension may bring to the fore – shifting importance – noting no importance – simply viewing it all deeply.

pic2 effect reduced


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