Violence and Visibility in Contemporary Syria: An Ethnography of the “Expanded Places”
Donatella Della Ratta
||Donatella Della Ratta, University of Copenhagen, Nørregade 10, DK1017 Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
||CyberOrient, Vol. 9, Iss. 1, 2015, pp. 7-31
||May 10, 2015
||This article reflects on the relationship between visibility and violence as redefined by the combined action of warfare and networked communication technologies. Drawing on the author's own ethnography conducted in Syria in 2010, and on anonymous YouTube videos, it introduces the concept of “expanded places” to look at sites that have been physically annihilated; yet, at the same time, they have been re-animated through multiple mediated versions circulating and re-circulating on the networks. Building on Rancière's work on the distribution of the sensible, the article argues that, at the intersection of those simultaneous actions of annihilation and regeneration, a new geography of visibility and violence is being shaped which rearranges the existing into a completely new political form and aesthetic format. Thriving on the techno-human infrastructure of the networks, and relying on the endless proliferation of images resulting from the loss of control of image-makers over their own production, expanded places are aggregators of new communities that add novel layers of signification to the empirical world, and create their own multiple realities and histories.
Arab Spring, Syria, popular culture, conflict, entertainment, film, Television