The New Gallery, Calgary
January 10-February 22, 2014
Technical Assistance: Brady Bothwell

Review: FFWD

Exhibition Text:
HLS-F71 is an immersive installation project, which seeks to explore and translate the experience of trauma associated with military conflict by investigating representations of trauma and how they are mediated by images, sounds and stories. Drawing a parallel between the Gulf War and the currently ongoing Civil War in Syria, HLS-F71 investigates how new methods of communication have re-shaped the way conflict is understood through mass media and how the trauma of these conflicts is then collectively reconciled.

HLS-F71 uses the Twitter feed of the pro-rebel group “The Local Coordination Committees of Syria” from the period of January 10 to February 22, 2012 as a score to activate fifteen loudspeakers blaring the recorded sounds of the HLS-F71 air raid siren used in Israel during the gulf war. This is underscored by an FM transmission of audio from videos of demonstrations, clashes, and other scenes culled from the YouTube channels of individual activists and journalists within Syria. The sounds of traumatic conflict uploaded by pro-FSA Syrian citizens linger silently in the invisible transmissions within the space and surrounding area. These unheard sounds will be accessible by locating the radio frequency.

The Syrian Civil War is unprecedented in the sheer volume, scope, and decentralization of information, images, storytelling, and the readiness with which one can consume the conflict from anywhere in the world. However, the very mediation of that conflict through manipulated historical narratives is central to the way we experience this particular cultural trauma, providing us with frames of reference. As remote viewers, we can only absorb these images with an abstract empathy: an abstract notion of trauma, announced by the wail of air raid sirens.

The use of pro-FSA and pro-rebel media outlets in this installation is not partial to either side of the conflict in Syria. It aims to examine the mediation of military action by individuals and non-state and non-institutional actors. A historical perspective is used to focus on a particular time in the Assad regime.

IMG_6762 2 copy.jpg

Exhibition Publication

Made possible with the generous support of: