[ISEA2018] Artist Statement: Liat Berdugo — Spectral Power: Cameras in Conflict Zones

Artist Statement

Other Realities sub-programme

Short film

Recently, visual studies scholars have turned toward conflict studies and proposed an examination of conflict through vision, itself. This radical approach means asking questions of how we see a conflict, visually — in place of how media might have re-represented what “really happened.” Such scholarship is only the first step in understanding the role, implications, and conditions of newly weaponized cameras in conflict zones. Since 2013, Berdugo has been researching the use of cameras in Israel/Palestine, and has gained unprecedented access to a video archive in the region (note that a distinguishing feature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the freedom to record).

This work traces the emergence of direct camera face-offs between Palestinian cameras and Israeli cameras — a trend Berdugo calls “shooting back at shooting back,” and which she has collected into numerous video pieces. This talk also analyzes how conflicts produce an inequality of visual rights , including rights to see and rights to be seen; rights to look and to surveil; rights to be out of sight; and rights to have one’s image circulated, posted, and trusted.

  • Liat Berdugo (USA) is an artist, writer, and curator whose work — which focuses on embodiment and digitality, archive theory, and new economies — interweaves video, writing, performance, and computer programming to form a considerate and critical lens on digital culture. Berdugo has been exhibited in galleries and festivals internationally, and she collaborates widely with individuals and archives. Her writing appears in Rhizome, Temporary Art Review, Real Life magazine, and others, and her book, The Everyday Maths, was published by Anomalous Press in 2013. Berdugo received an MFA from RISD and a BA from Brown University. She is currently an assistant professor of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco. liatberdugo.com