_Digital Amnesia. On The Aesthetics of Violence_ (2014-ongoing)
For his ongoing series ‘On the aesthetics of violence’, Jan Rosseel questions the relationship between politics and aesthetics, history and memory in images of violence. His intention, however, is not to simply address the seeming dichotomy between the ethics and aesthetics of such images, but rather to unentangle the complex visual narratives and material circumstances of their being in the world. With a strong emphasis on precisely their aesthetics, as to lure the viewer in, Rosseel conjures up a world of images one might recognise, but has to look at again, and while doing so, one is confronted with questions both fundamental and personal. How does one deal with digital amnesia; if photographic images of events with a historical significance simply erode within the vastness of the digital sphere, what does this imply for our grasp of those events and their moral implications? The newness of the images Rosseel presents thus not lies in their content, nor in a subjective author’s point of view, instead, by the meticulous juxtaposition of historical images, found images and the digital traces of a personal search into these kind of images, Rosseel asks the viewer to reconsider one’s relation with the role of photography in constructing a historical narrative, and its moral implications.
The result is a coherent and visually appealing display of images eerily familiar, yet made strange and unknown. The viewer is challenged to address issues of the ubiquity of images of violence in our digital era, the simultaneous over saturation and fleetingness of such images, while the material and historical circumstances of the actual events are often drastic and bear far-reaching moral consequences.