Falsches Bild

Falsches Bild, 2014
two carousel slide projector, text and photography 50cm x40cm.

If after the formation of concentration camps in the 1990s in Bosnia we received, as Campbell claims, “an icon of contemporary atrocity” and if the numerous iconic photos representing the previous atrocities of the long 20th century constituted the “icons of past atrocities”, could we then imagine what “an icon for/of the future” would look like? An image functioning as a monument that does not work retroactively?
Could we imagine an image that would remind us that the future can be fought for and negotiated so that the past icons would not become future icons, but instead a real “Falsches Bild”? What image could we imagine so that “Falsches Bild” would represent something that will not happen because it should not happen and would work proactively?
I thought about that when I came across an image in Penny Marshall’s video. The take is 23 seconds long showing inmates at Omarska running from one building to the other. In that particular shot, the inmates were forced to run across the yard to the staged canteen and act like it was lunchtime for the benefit of the reporters. Exactly 20 years later at the commemoration ceremony, I was standing on that same spot and witnessing a spontaneous re-enactment by the survivors of the camp. They reenacted the “staged run” for the reporters. What kind of an image did I witness? What kind of a testimony did I hear and record? Performance, re-enactment, theatre at the scene of the crime appeared as an attempt at establishing collectivity that transformed the sensuous and the aesthetical.
Could we imagine this kind of an image or an act, a performance, as “a future icon”? A tiny, fragile icon, seeking change and stressing reconciliation? But then a “future icon” should not be defined, not with a representation of a particular event, especially if we wish for such an icon to be able to remind us of a future that can be waged, negotiated in order for the “worldlessness” to obtain the shape of a “world”.
Falsches Bild intertwines three images. Two of them are inserted into every sixth slide slot of two separate carousel slide projectors.The other slots contain empty film. First showing an image of the inmate forced to run across the filed for the reporters in 1992. The second image shows a spountainous reenactement by the survivors of the camp, who in 2012, 20 years after, recreated the event.
The text on the wall is an analysis of the media images we watched in 1992 and the footage of the re-enactment 20 years later. Another image is juxtaposed with the text and the slide projection – a test image, a bar image, decomposing. In the time of analogue TV sets, a test image had the status of a non-image. The “real” image came after it.