witnessing chemical warfare in the digital age (presentation at SCMS)

What value do atrocity photographs carry in the digital age?  The ongoing, intractable war in Syria has generated an immense but largely ineffectual visual archive of suffering, rendering this question urgent but almost unanswerable.  New horrors unfold, new images rocket around the world, audiences insist that this photo, this time, will really make a difference, but nothing changes.

This afternoon, at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, Wendy Kozol and I will be presenting a paper, “Inscrutable Evidence: Witnessing Chemical Warfare in the Digital Age,” that provides an alternative to this strangely optimistic approach to casualty images.

poison hazard

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