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The Spectacle of War at The Empty Quarter

© Richard Mosse - Pool at Uday
The Spectacle of War is the new exhibition at The Empty Quarter that opens tonight and will go on till 30th April 2011. Presenting for the first time in the region a number of multi-published artists including whose work has  been exhibited in noted international institutions such as the Tate Modern, the Vienna Secession, the SFMOMA and Musée de l'Élysée, Switzerland - the exhibition includes work by Benjamin LowyRichard MosseSpencer MurphyPhil Nesmith and Trevor Paglen and takes a look at contemporary war.  

Tied in with this exhibition is a film series called The Embedded Eye which will be screened on the following days. All films start at 8pm and admission is free. 
18 March - Restrepo (2010) Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
19 March - The War Tapes (2006) Deborah Scranton + TED Talk 
25 March - The Americanization of Emily (1964) Arthur Hiller
01 April - J'accuse (1938) Abel Gance
08 April Circle of Deceit (1981) Volker Schlöndorff
15 April - Lessons of Darkness (1992) Werner Herzog
22 April - Weapons of Mass Attraction (2005) Julie Tseselsky and  Authors@Google (2009) Trevor Paglen
29 April - Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola 

Benjamin Lowy: Iraq Perspectives

© Benjamin Lowy - Iraq Perspectives

© Benjamin Lowy - Iraq Perspectives
Contemporary war is presented as a post-modern spectacle, with fluid roles and changing seat orders for viewers, actors, directors and back-stage technicians alike. Visualization of the spectacle has become a vital, viral and seminal activity for all parties involved, both off-stage and on-stage. This visualization happens on different scales, uses a range of technologies, is presented from numerous viewpoints, broadcasted through competing channels, and eventually re-enacted in modern video games. One may say that modern man consumes the war as much as he is consumed by it.

Phil Nesmith: My Baghdad

© Phil Nesmith - Palms, 2007

© Phil Nesmith - AH64, 2007
In modern warfare, the camera lens has always been the predestined 'weapon' of choice for those tasked with the visualization of the different acts as they are played out, including the stages of preparation and the enduring aftermath of the war. This is no coincidence, if we follow Heidegger's thinking, that 'the fundamental event of modernity is the conquest of the world as picture', and its decisive unfolding a battle of perspectives, 'for the sake of which mankind brings into play the unlimited violence of the calculation, planning, and breeding of everything.' It is within this constellation that imaging and mapping technologies have seen a viral growth since the onset of the modern age, with a network of satellites, public and secret ones, now spanning the globe.

Richard Mosse: Breach & The Fall

© Richard Mosse - Saddam

© Richard Mosse - Space Wagon Mosul (from The Fall series), 2009
Photography matters when it comes to war, in all its shapes, roles and technological reincarnations. The Spectacle of War testifies of this at times uncomfortable liaison by presenting several inroads into the spectacle that war has become, combining works of strategically operating artists, experimental film directors and innovative photojournalists with commercial video games based on the Iraq war and material culled from the military and its corporate arms manufacturers itself. Together with visions of near-future deployment of unmanned vehicles, exoskeletons or nanobots, they might be the closest we can come to drawing up a map of the battleground on which our wars are fought.

Spencer Murphy: Architects of War

© Spencer Murphy - Exhibit At IDEX 3, 2007

Trevor Paglen : Limit-Telephotography & The Other Night Sky

© Trevor Paglen - Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center #2, 2008

Images and quotes courtesy of The Empty Quarter. 

Event details
Dates: 14th March -  14th April 30 2011
Location: The Empty Quarter, DIFC, Dubai

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