Tuesday, December 4, 2007
What is interesting for me about the paintings is that it seems that the photographs were not as shocking to us as the paintings. We expect to see terrible things through digital media and it takes a painting to shock us. It is easy to skip over an image that we don’t consider art but if it is in a painting we have to consider it and that considering will bring the attention that Abu Ghraib deserves. It does not deserve to be pushed aside the way so many people hoped it would be. Violence has become a joke in entertainment and it takes the paintings to deny the joke and move the violence into a place where we aren’t distracted by the smiling faces of the torturer. The digital photographs of Abu Ghraib are unstoppable but they are different then the paintings done from those images because when the photographs were taken they weren’t intended as art they were intended as a memory and a trophy. All Fernando Botero did was take those photos and change them into something that he created and could control and the paintings do depict horror but they are looking to accomplish something very different from what the original photographs do. Because violence and sex are so prevalent in this digital age we tend to block things out and we are desensitized to the world around us. We have a filter on what we see of our society and our country. I would also agree to both Sontag and Zizek that because of this filter through which America sees its self that allowed for the excuses that followed the suffering of the photographs of Abu Ghraib prison camps. However we shouldn’t be able to use this digital age as an excuse. We are desensitized, violence and sex don’t shock like they used to but that is the time we live in and it doesn’t mean we should live in a state of unawareness being desensitized doesn’t mean we should ignore the grotesque. We are able to distinguish between the television and reality we just have to choose to do so. It seems that part of the United States problem with reality is the way the people sensor themselves they only want to see pictures of horror if in no way are Americans doing anything but being honorable. In the photograph of the falling man people refused to look and no one wanted to claim that man as one of their own because jumping suggested that his will to live wasn’t strong enough. No one wanted to imagine that their loved one was desperate like that in their last minutes. Just as no one wanted to imagine that American solders were torturing the very people we were supposed to protecting from such treatment.