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Obama Osama Panorama

Images  – visual and linguistic – constitute and state (i.e. justify and assert) reality. Consequently, we do not leave the production of these images up to chance. The official picture of the death of Osama Bin Laden is an indirect image: it presents the National Security Team of the USA as spectators, as witnesses of the moment of death. The depiction appeals to all the spectators and shows: we are all the same. It is a depiction of democracy, a random group of people represents society as a whole and – in this case in a passive but compassionate way – acts in the name of all. It is suggested that the representatives are responsible in the same way as society – the only difference being that they have to accept the burden of actually watching the killing (live). What takes place in the Situation Room of the White House, which here resembles the basement headquarters of a civil movement group, is not a triumphal victory.

The idea of producing an image, in which another image is being killed, took hold of me. In the photo scene from the White House’s Situation Room we see US officials watching a live broadcast from the execution mission against Osama Bin Laden, whom we know only as an iconic image. I had to reconstruct this powerful scene, which makes the observer commit a murder himself, to kill in his own mind, in his own imagination. This transfer of responsibility suggested by the original image is re-echoed. “Obama Osama Panorama” merges the real, depicted and imagined space and adds another, blank layer of space. “Obama Osama Panorama” is a complex architecture.

With: Lisa Silbermayr
Text: Katharina Urbanek
Thanks to: Jasbjb Sbhdhd Anddn (foto artist), Nikola Chytil, Ilija Badevski, Patrick Juttel, Heidulf Gerngross, Anna-Kirsten Krambeck (makeup), Marko Djuranovic, Katharina Höglinger, Heiko Duscher and Max Bayer (technics)

Copyright: Milan Mijalkovic, 2020