Topic: Situation what? - the killing of Ossama Bin Laden

It might just be me reading too much into it, but it strikes me nevertheless.
The assasination of Ossama Bin Laden might be one of the few historic killings that exist in visual form only as a picture of the beholders. Not the actual ones on site of the killing but the ones in the situation room of the White House. What these pictures show are people watching and reacting one way or the other. The images - carefully and skillfully photographed and published by the US-government - will become iconic, they are meant to. But what are they an icon of? A new form of military activity? We remember how the Bush administration revolutionized visual war coverage with the high-tech computer game like night shots of exploding tanks in the dessert. Is this, the situation room shot, the new war icon? a picture of activity even more remote than ever before, as remote as you can get in war from the "theater of action"? And what do we actually see in these pictures? shock? pity? cold hearted cruelty? dignity?
When CBs asked Obama in the interview about the killing, "what were your reactions?", Obama simply replied: "It was him." This answer of course shows two things: First the dilemma of having to make absolutely clear that what is left out in the picture, is what needs to be believed. Everything on the picture is secondary, what is unseen is what is important. And secondly, Obama claims that there was no reaction, no human one anyhow. He was watching to make sure it is him and he made sure. It's a scientific observation.
It is intersting how the beholders here claim to replace the object of observation.  We are asked to believe not our eyes, but Obama's eyes - in two senses of the saying: first: he sees for us to tell us the truth. And second: by looking at his eyes, we are asked to believe: yes this man has seen Bin Laden get shot in the head. His eyes tell the whole story trough an act of mirroring or simply because "eyes do not lie".

In a very different sense - this of course mirrors what catalog of situations is about. Turning our view from the object to the beholder or the situation the beholder finds himself in. It is of course a pure coincidence that the surveillance room in the White House is aptly called Situation Room. Whether we can speak of art in this context depends on what the beholders fell at that moment, whether they can place what they see in an aesthetic context. I doubt that they did. However - the act of beholding here becomes the object of a photographic project which quotes again so many art categories and clishees of the artistic disply of power, that the line is extremely thin.

So the situation room is not an aesthetic situation, but the media strategy behind all this is very interesting under our point of view. .. I am very curious to see what comes out of this.

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