Matrixes Of War

Matrixes Of War

Patricia R. Zimmermann


The 78-day United States-led NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo in the Spring of 1999 produced over 3000 bombing sorties and 650,000 refugees. The Old World “moral order” envisioned the bombing as destructive of life and its environs, a necessity to restore coherency and order through technological mastery over catastrophe.

Human Rights Watch reported that the bombing campaign deployed a “higher percentage of precision-guided munitions than in any other major conflict in history.” Yet Yugoslav civilian, deaths still occurred during Operation Allied Force, during all kinds of weather, with all kinds of bombs, in almost every kind of attack, and on every type of target. [1] In Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond, (2000) Michael Ignatieff observes that the war in Kosovo only felt like a war for the Kosovar Albanians and Serbian civilians killed in air strikes. It mobilized civilians as well as spectators; war was calculative rather than visceral. The actual number of Allied combatants was small: 1500 members of a NATO air-crew and 30,000 technicians and staff. [2] The 1999 NATO bombings marked a huge shift from weaponry to computers that military analysts call “the revolution in military affairs” or RMA.

General Wesley K. Clark, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, relied on American-supplied intelligence, aircraft and precision ordinance. Ignatieff points out that the bombings were “fought and won by technicians and Clark’s team produced a virtuoso display of technical improvisation.” [3] Sortie planners at European and stateside airbases used SIPERNET, a U.S. military network, to calculate targets through analysis of aerial reconnaissance, military significance, collateral damage, moral assessment and legal evaluation. [4] Arthur and Marilouise Kroker identify this virtual war as “all about beta-testing: systematic program testing of virtual warriors in their virtual flying machines.” [5] The bombings were laboratories for conversion from analog wars of bodies to virtual wars, of imaging and calculation that conceal the racialized phantoms that propels them. [6] In a perverse inversion, this new regime of cyber-civil wars engaged the psychic production of a digitized catastrophe. The NATO campaign targeted th e networks and circuitry of the digital: planes bombed a Serbian television station in late April 1999 and then electrical grids with special graphite ordinances. [7]

Amid this perversity where life itself is robbed of its own death, it is impossible to analyze war images as stable, fixed or singular. The images and their imaginaries are multiple, sedimented, mobile, linked. No longer significations, these war images are vectors of movements and interfaces between images and social imaginaries. No longer images, they map nodal points in the invisible digital networks.

Pierre Levy has advanced that the art of cyberspace constantly resamples, remixes and remakes images, obliterating the borders between author and reader, creator and interpreter. These mutations in the art and information domains create open works that function more as environments and landscapes than as a message or an image. They blur “distinctions between emission and reception, creation and interpretation.” [8]

As mediations through images, the 78-day Operation Allied Force excessively fixated in nostalgic historical formations, where phantasmatics of World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War were imbedded within the images and imaginaries so profusely that they deleted history with a dangerous transparent narrativity. Explanation exceeded words, incomprehensible phantoms etherized history. Psychoanalyzing this trauma, Robert Jay Lifton has shown that “the insight begins with the shattering of prior forms. Because forms have to be shattered for there to be new insight.” [9] In the images presented by the transnational media corporations, the fantasy historical was grafted ferociously as a modality of transparency rather than as a modality of agency. The 1999 Kosovo crisis requires that forms be shattered in order to break open the multiplicities of historical temporalities.

The digital surround also inscribed the bombings of Serbia and the Kosovo destabilizations. The militarization of the digital promoted warfare without bodies. [10] The ubiquitous cyber-networks reduced war to screens. War multiplied on various screens–computer, cinema, gaming, television, radar, satellite. The digitalizations of the crisis in Kosovo formulated war as a flat image to be manipulated and calculated by anyone and everyone.

The Archive of Contiguities

This migration of bombings across multiple screens signals the death of signification. The image can no longer function as a fetish object. These screens form networks through which images circulate, get reprocessed, rerouted and repressed; historical engagement, meaning and location recedes. The networks must separate and refuse the social and political meanings latent in the contiguities. While continuity underpins a historiography organized around temporal progression, contiguity suggests a series of discourses, practices and temporalities that, although discontinuous, abut and touch through adjacency. As an organizing structure, continuity extends beyond a concept of historical context because it is based on the notion that the past is created rather than found. They digitize meaning as an unconnected series of bits and bytes whose endless reorganization is never productive and lacks agency. [11] Without productive relations and dialogic engagements that create new contiguities and spaces for provisional collectivities, all that remains is psychic disorder, a hystericized individualism and social isolation–ingredients that propagate a depoliticizing virus.

The archive and memory, then, function with the opposite strategy, foregoing recombination for superimpositions that generate new substrata. Jacques Derrida writes how the archive presses toward layers rather than separations: “the semantics of the archive, of memory and of the memorial… accumulate, capitalize, stock a quasi-infinity of layers, of archival strata that are at once superimposed, overprinted, and enveloped in each other.” [12]

The NATO bombing campaign evidences phantasms about the evaporation of the body in digitality, soaking through a series of traumas not so much as representations but as reverberations between archival layers. NATO forces were divided over the introduction of a ground war. The British wanted to send in the troops, while the Germans were opposed. [13] This debate about a land war indicates the shift of war from the ground to beyond even the air–to the deterritorialized digital networks.


While Slobodan Milosovic removed the opposition Radio B92 Web site from its server in Belgrade, NATO/Bill Clinton bombed the Serbian television stations–the very same stations used by reporters to beam news out. The Pentagon spammed the Internet in Serbia with Quicktime movies of Clinton’s exhortations. While Milosovic programmed the Hollywood films Wag the Dog (1997, by Barry Levinson) and

Apocalypse Now (1975, by Francis Ford Coppola) as the bombs cascaded down, the U.S. programmed its own film festival with the cyber-war male fantasies of the Hollywood blockbuster The Matrix (1999, by Andy and Larry Wachowski) and the horror of the high school shootings in Littleton, Colorado. In Kosovo, Tim Judah described how Milosevic interrupted television programming during the bombing to screen various films from the World War II period depicting Serb heroism against the Nazis. [14]

In World War II, Hollywood collaborated with the U.S. military, creating a mise-en-scene for patriotism, nationalism and militarism in order to unite the nation through narrative. In World War II, the image’s visual design was militarized and then mobilized for national unity as Hollywood movie studios retooled for the war effort. [15] These fantasies of national unity are no longer useful in the globalized era where the nation-state has dissolved into an international police force monitoring destabilizations, eruptions and civil wars.

By 1999, the NATO bombing campaign’s visual imaginaries manifest this decline in the utility of the image itself as an agent of war, inspiration and national unity. Mise-en-scene is no longer militarized but virtualized, an immersive experience where the real and the virtual cast off distinction and meaning. An article in The New York Times observed that despite virtually continuous coverage and live reports from the refugee camps, the NATO bombings failed to stimulate military recruitment. Disjunction was enacted: while one could e-mail Serbian friends, the digitized bombing strategy kept the war remote. One scholar commented, “War has become a movie that other people do, and something we watch rather than something we engage in.” [16]

In August 1999, the U.S. Army gave $45 million to the University of Southern California to fund a research center to “develop advanced military simulations” to attract designers to translate these digital military modalities into video games and game park rides. Historically, the military has innovated technology that eventually diffused to consumers, such as the standardization of 16mm film, transistor radios and computers. [17] In the post-cold war era, games and special effects are more sophisticated than military imaging systems. The National Research Council has encouraged collaboration between the defense and entertainment industries to develop more emotionally captivating simulation technology. [18]

Aida Hozic has observed that as the southern California military/aerospace industry contracted in the post-cold war period, the film industry expanded. The migration of the high technology military sector into Hollywood backlots fueled the digitalization of Hollywood in the 1990s. [19] Department of Defense-funded firms moved aggressively into special effects, computer design and interactive entertainment–three areas aligned with military simulation technologies.


The bombings in Kosovo produced phantoms. [20] These phantoms circulated around the war and the bombings, specters haunting the image landscapes. For each of the dead, a phantom which, like the cybernetworks which now become their burial grounds, moves bodiless through the new techno-landscapes. These phantoms haunt the image networks: death infiltrates these cyber-networks that equate the digital with the eternal.

Photojournalism psychically displaces the physical and the material with an image: although the cyber-networks prophesize the end of the body, it persists in etherealized forms. The Serbian bombings permeate other forms, like those of Littleton, natural disasters like tornadoes and computer screens. Phantoms resist virtualization. They infiltrate other networks.

While the reality of death recedes, the digital penetrates the body as a wound. Films such as The Matrix narrativize these wounds–holes in the head through which data streams. Analyzing the NATO bombings, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker contend that the “virtual war is one perspectival remove from experiencing the actual consequences of violence.” [21] The Matrix refracts its murders, shootings and beatings as the phantom border between the analog and the digital.

In July 2000, a group of U.S.-based film producers called Filmaid International proposed to screen blockbuster Hollywood films for Kosovar refugees. One organizer proclaimed, “Refugee camps are really appalling places, but films can make them better. It’s like relief for the soul, relief from the boredom, trauma and anxiety of those places….two hours of fantasy can go a long way.” [22] The phantoms assume many shapes, yet always deny death.


The Matrix interfaces with Littleton, Colorado. Littleton interfaces with Kosovo. If Kosovar Albanians are racialized as Muslim, then the Littleton shootings are racialized as white. Littleton constitutes the repressed phantom of the digital: video games were blamed as the engine of death drives. The Kosovo refugees occupied an orientalized “other” bombed into primitiveness. [23] The Littleton victims inverted Kosovo, mourning the death of “whiteness.”

In his book White (1997), Richard Dyer argues that white image culture reduces black people to their bodies, while white people are distinguished by that which cannot be seen–spirit, transcendence, intelligence and mastery over space and time. Whiteness, for Dyer, hinges on disinterest in the corporal and alliance with abstraction, distance, separation, objectivity, dis-embodiedness and other-worldliness. All genres of imagery move toward whitening: halos and extra lighting create skin tones suggesting transcendence from the material world. [24] While Littleton whitens, the bombings in Kosovo blacken. [25]

This repressed violent underside of the racialized digital erupted in the shootings in Colorado where two white male teenagers led an armed assault against students at Columbine High School. The New York Times even called the rash of shootings in schools across the country “a new kind of domestic terror”‘ [26] and led Orlando Patterson to ruminate in an Op Ed piece in The New York Times, what if the high school shooters were black? [27] In a speech during the bombing sorties, President Clinton contended that Columbine “pierced the soul of a nation.” [28]

Many articles subsequent to the shootings sought a causal relationship between excessive Internet and computer game usage by teenagers and the escalation of school shootings. This eery transposition of the bombings in Serbia to out-of-control teenage violence suggests that the revolution in military affairs generates a hysterical phantasmatic displacement about violence, bodies, racialized fantasies and digitality.

The psychic landscape narrated in images revealed the blurred borders between the outside of the bombings and the inside of Littleton. In the middle of the bombing campaign, a photograph in The New York Times, April 29, 1999, showed students gazing at makeshift crosses for murdered students dug into a hill overlooking the Columbine school. [29] This image doubles countless representations from the war in the Balkans. Its handmade, unofficial markers memorialize the dead while its compositional structure balances the crosses with the living.

In another Op Ed piece in The New York Times, Maureen Dowd observed the irony of Vice President Al Gore’s admiration for The Matrix in the wake of the Littleton shootings. She pointed out that the film’s “balletic and epic ode to violence” attracted an “obsessively devoted audience of young computer savvy males.” Dowd claimed that “the violence has a terrible beauty and the death seems merely virtual.” [30]

Shattering Smooth Flows

According to Slavoj Zizek, cyber-space can be characterized by “the frictionless flow of images.” [31] These digital networks and flows of images incarnate realism in new ways. Upgrading seamless Hollywood narrative structures, they replace psychoanalytic identification with physical immersion. Through a repetitive constancy of image, their technological surround locks out all other sensations beyond the visual and banishes any metacommunicative cognitive apparatus.

This new configuration of digital realism no longer depends on concealing the means of production. Instead, it creates an infinite flow and production of images, collapsing time and space by means of the instantaneous, the immediate-and the immersive. For Paul Virilio, the digital accelerates real time as an “escape velocity,” dispelling history, the geophysical and sensation. [32] Strapped into these digital accelerations, we must de-accelerate to slow down the flow and open up the gaps.

By downshifting from the swift, linear, smooth narratives of the Serbian bombings, the image flows that constitute new formations of continuity can be shattered to produce clashes, leaps and associative montages. Zizek has observed that the West requires Bosnia and the Balkans to be fixed and victimized so that it can project its phantasmatic content onto this timeless space. [33] Consequently, it is necessary to break a Part the timelessness, the smooth flows, the phantasmatic chimeras and the fantasized historical that is not history.

This strategy necessitates moving beyond the images to occupy the interstitial-the constantly shifting provisional grounds between photographs, films, digital antiwar art, underground video tapes and contiguous history. Trinh T. Minh Ha refers to this production of gaps as the “cinema interval,” the space between the images where contradiction and juxtaposition generate meaning. [34]

The 1999 NATO bombings repressed the interval. The incessant destruction of bridges in Serbia materialized this psychic movement. By devising a reformulated, radicalized theorization of interface, these imaginaries can perhaps be de-accelerated, their montages and breakages exposing the fraudulent, dangerous digital flows and invisible imbedded networks. Rather than multiple mediations, interface suggests a way these various screens can ricochet off each other. Peter Weibel, for example, has advanced, “in the age of electronics, the world is becoming increasingly manipulable as an interface between observer and objects.” [35]

Through different associative routings, the interstitial and the interval can be recovered to restore social collectivities and a historiography that creates the past through continual recovery of abandoned objects and displaced temporalities. Associative re-patterning must combine with deductive argumentation. As the interstitial is widened, a landscape for agency emerges that rejects a morbid individualism and a hierarchical control that incarcerates.

Digital Pathologies

The bombings in Kosovo and Serbia unmask the pathologies of the digital as well as also opening up possibilities for refiguration within an interface. In these bombings, digital memory downloads on both radar screens and psychic screens. Visualities of many registers disturb and infect each other. The post-human digital suspension of history and its replacement with immediacy; speed and immersion are so pervasive in digital discourse that practice becomes, in the end, a phantasm.

The trauma implied by the digitalis not in its elimination of the analog, but its amputation of history and historiography. For example, writers as different as Francis Fukuyama, a political theorist, and Jean Baudrillard have argued that history ended after the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe. [36] Yet their arguments locate history within events, rather than within networks and interfaces. As the NATO bombings illustrate, history has not ended, but has been restaged as a symptom.

The war has stripped images from CNN and The New York Times of their histories, their stories, their politics, their meaning. [37] All of these images together specify nothing. They are spectacles of empathy. They are meaningless. They are virtual reality.

Hozic has argued that the NATO bombs did not bomb Belgrade, they bombed politics. [38] Around the world, public spheres for debate and community have died. Disconnected images of refugees and fighting machines assume the shapes of these absent public spheres. They refuel each other, binary oppositions cannibalizing each other. They operate like mirages, assuring that somewhere amidst the amorphous cyber-networks, ubiquitous computing and surveillance, referents and living human beings persist.

Within these destructive fixities that function only as deadly projectiles and phantasms, it is mandatory to move beyond the fantasies of the image to the interfaces for images. Our post-photographic, post-cinematic era is constantly shape-shifting. Because it constantly morphs both its referent and its sign, we need to recover the interface and the interstitial. [39]

What interfaces articulate the phantom desires latent in the bombings if the fixed, stable celluloid image is dead, a ghost inhabiting visuality but no longer defining it? The opposition between the digital and the analog, the virtual and the real, requires unsettling, confusion and diffusion. To restore the political, these deadly separations require rerouting. The historiographic can now only thrive in these interstitial spaces. [40] Borders between the digital and the analog as well as the historical and the future manufacture a fantasy of an inside and an outside. Analyzing the Bosnian conflict, Zizek has argued “the gaze of the innocent observer is also in a way nonexistent, since this gaze is the impossible neutral gaze of someone who falsely exempts himself from his concrete historical existence–that is, from his actual involvement in the Bosnian conflict.” [41] Neutrality is a fantasy. We are all bombed. We are all refugees. We all live with the phantoms of death.

Giorgio Agamben, in Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive (1999), discusses how the Holocaust has been framed within a discursive veil of “incomprehensibility,” which confers the “prestige of the mystical” on the Nazi’s systematic extermination. Agamben writes: “To say that Auschwitz is ‘unsayable’ or ‘incomprehensible’ is equivalent to euphemein, to adoring in silence, as one does with a god. Regardless of one’s intention, this contributes to its glory.” [42] Incomprehensibility shrouds the Kosovo crisis as spiritual redemption through digital technologies. Matrixes of war must replace images of war.

Following the vector of the body, the bombing displaced Serbs and Albanian Kosovars. It killed history. It produced refugees as timeless, incomprehensible chaos within causal narratives. It materialized the circuits in the new transnational digital economy where money and information move across borders yet productive relations are imbedded, invisible, encrypted. [43] With genocides across the globe, we live in a culture of encryption: secrets everywhere, and also, crypts.

Narrative Calibrations

With the 1999 bombings, narrative forms are not so much emplotted (Hayden White’s well known term for the structures of modernist historical practice) as they are calibrated. [44] Calibration has several meanings that position Kosovo’s psychic stagings. First, it refers to inspecting quantitative measurements, exemplified in The New York Times’s daily counts of bombs, the military and the refugees. The second meaning indicates gradations of quantity on thermometers or measuring cups. In Kosovo, this strategy was perhaps best exemplified in discussions in the U.S. Congress about causal linkages between expenditures and bombs. A third definition of calibration refers to the correct calculation for weapons by observing where projectiles hit. Thus, all calibrations hold the capacity for destruction and death. Writing in an essay called “Digital Apparitions,” Vilem Flusser suggests that calibrations form the genetic tissues of the digital: “people discovered that although the world may be unimaginable and indescri bable, it is calculable.” [45] In calibration, analog images materialize calculations and algorithms, distilling down the multiple, sedimentary layers of relationships between the digital and the analog. The analog transforms into a metaphor for the digital. Calibration performs translation but disposes of discourse and dialogic engagement. Calibrations create connections based on separations.

CNN and The New York Times narrated a simple, unified story with characters, rising action and an apparition of the East/West chasm. This epic adhered to nineteenth-century realist narrative structures of transparency and referentiality: primitive, deep seated “ethnic hatreds” versus NATO’s digitally enhanced precision aerial bombing. This narrative invokes the nineteenth-century tropes of coherency that twentieth-century modernism dismantled. [46]

For Zizek, narrative’s primordial form is fantasy: “narrative as such emerges in order to resolve some fundamental antagonism by rearranging its terms into a temporal succession… [it] bears witness to some repressed antagonism.” [47] The demonizations of Milosevic and the Serbs, the deification of Kosovar suffering and destruction and the heroicization of patriarchal nationalism mobilize a realist, transparent narrative humanism. Zizek demonstrates that this humanitarianism which demands victims depoliticize through (re)narrativization. [48] Hayden White has argued along similar lines in his discussion of the Challenger explosion: “insofar as the story is identifiable as a story, it can provide no lasting ‘psychic mastery’ of such events.” [49]

A repetition fetish emerges in the structure of The New York Times’s images during the bombing. Three visual elements stage The New York Times’s narration of the war: world leaders and NATO military commanders; maps of the ex-Yugoslavia marking troop buildup, bombing patterns and changing borders; and masses of refugees near destroyed houses. These images function as hieroglyphs of traumatic repressions. Across several months of bombing, these three sectors do not shift, but repeat.

Instead, these images dramatize calibrations. They transfer the high-tech, digital bombing apparatus of NATO into analog forms. They are not camouflage, but screens. They transpose the measurements of war-radar screens, calculations, computers, machine war in the twenty-first century-into the physical forms of airplanes and nation-state officials. The bodies and blood from the sanitized Gulf War return in the bombings, recalibrated as narrativized projections of digitality.

NATO members-the U.S., France, Austria and beyond–are imaged in medium shots. Diplomats in suits signify rationality against the irrationality of the dirty, ragged refugees. The chaotic compositional mass of refugees is calibrated against the patriarchal calm of world leaders. The refugees stand and move while world leaders sit, their suits repressing the trauma of abandoned clothes and homes. Clinton, Kofi Annan, Jacques Chirac, General Wesley Clark, Viktor Chernomyrdin signify a named white masculinity against the anonymity of the racialized refugees that are framed as beyond time and historical content. The NATO leaders represent their nation-states while the refugees remain stateless.

NATO leaders are positioned within discourse-talking, huddling, their utterances propelling narrative. They move policy forward despite the demise of history and nationstates. In an image accompanying The New York Times article from April 29, 1999, Clinton holds a press conference on the air strikes. He reads from a podium on the left of the image. On the right, filling two thirds of the frame, aides huddle in different groups. Rational discourse motoring plots across national borders matter more than presidents. Clinton even conflates the economic sanctions and military campaign with the “humanitarian challenge.” [50]

A May 6, 1999 New York Times image replays these tropes. Clinton eats a hot dog with military personnel at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. His luminous image fills the center of the frame, while the nameless, blurred soldiers crowd around him. He gesticulates, talking about “the war, the military’s recruitment problems and military pay.” [51] Psychoanalytically, Clinton does not eat a hot dog, but devours Miosevic, an act of symbolic castration. He has taken one bite into the hot dog. But this “bite,” is also a “byte,” This analog image metastasizes the digital through calibration.

Yet despite the narratives that situate him as other, Milosevic is visualized homologously to Clinton, a named man in a suit suspended in a speech that no longer has meaning. Each image defers the digital and the technological. NATO images link the masculine to digitality and deployment of high technology weapons and planes. Milosevic’s masculinity is refantasized as pre-digital-the direct inverse of NATO. Although NATO holds explosive capabilities, it is Milosevic who is, in fact, explosive: his revivalist nationalism does not convert to digital algorithms.

These photographs operate as national imaginaries: NATO’s transnational capital is digital, while Milosevic’s nationalism is analog. This very separation demands penetration. Kosovo, then, stages the digital divide in a new way: the digitalis invisible while the analog is visible. These male figures reverse Vladimir Propp’s schematas that realist narratives require a hero. [52] Instrumentality, rationality and technocracy supplant the heroic, stripping away place, history, bodies, time. Milosevic, then, becomes the bad Fordist manager ignoring the post-Fordist economy. The charred remains of masculinity propel the war narrative: NATO is male. Marked by a feminized psychic lack-without nation, food, safety, warmth-these photos construct the refugees as infantilized females.

Another image inscribes the digital into the natural. A color photograph of a neighborhood in Moore, Oklahoma, leveled by a tornado, appeared on the front page of The New York Times on May 5, 1999. [53] Its composition bears the imprint of the bombings. It domesticates and naturalizes aerial reconnaissance. As a formal design, the flattened landscape resembles a computer circuit board.

Monuments and Victims

The NATO bombing also produced imagery that performs a phantasmatic imaginary, an epic Hollywood film where mighty men and high-tech bombing machines save Kosovar women in babushkas and elderly Albanians in wheelbarrows. A contradiction between history and the future motors these narratives: the Albanian Kosovars reduced to a pretechnological state propel the false humanitarianism of high-tech bombing.

NATO staged a neat binary opposition to disguise these brutal, bloody operations. It installed simplistic causality in place of explanation: refugees massed together around fires fueled by foraged twigs can only secure redemption through high-tech planes and bombs. [54] Nameless masses in dirt, rain and snow on one screen, shiny multimillion dollar planes deploying the latest computer technology on the other. One set of images on the ground, the other in the air. Earth and sky, flesh and outerspace, each cannibalizing the other.

In her 1998 book Trespassing through Shadows: Memory, Photography and the Holocaust, Andrea Liss advances that images of the Nazi exterminations during World War II always run an ethical risk if they depend too much on false realisms, mimeticism and monumentalism. She cautions that empathy assumes that an act of horror can be fully understood. In contrast, Liss draws attention to various Holocaust memorials that perform the work of anti-monumentality, such as the decision to name the people in the images displayed in the Holocaust Museum or installation artist Christian Boltanski’s commemorative shrines to the ambiguities of memory during Nazi occupations and exterminations. Liss argues that Boltanski rejects the capacity of the photograph to function as a document and a “rhetoric of victimology.” [55] He circles around memory to interrogate how the viewer gets caught within the sentimental, the inauthentic, the universal and the nostalgic. [56] Rather than artifacts or evidence, Liss advances images as ques tions and enigmas, fulcrums to activate questions into the shifting configurations of image, mourning, memory, history. [57] She advocates an epistemological connection between mourning the referent and producing active, analytic signification. [58]

The post-cold war era and its digital economy has rehabilitated monumentality and victims both psychically and physically. Kosovo condensed all twentieth-century wars. The war in Kosovo was likened to a “Holocaust,” a narrative repetition of World War II and fascism. [59] The war in Kosovo was figured as another Vietnam. The war in Kosovo replicated the bloodless, postmodern Gulf War. But metaphors and analogies ambush the new politics of the digital networks with simplistic nostalgia.

A full page ad in the April 30, 1999 The New York Times suggests the political complexities imbedded in deploying history as metaphor. [60] Sponsored by The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Coalition for

Kosovo Relief, the advertisement deploys a realist image of a Kosovar woman in a large crowd of refugees gazing into the distance, disengaged. She holds a sleeping child. A headline over her chest exclaims “One month after Passover, we are witnessing an exodus of biblical proportions. But it’s not about freedom.” Near the bottom, a quote from Elie Wiesel reads, “We as Jews are responsible, morally and humanly responsible, for helping victims everywhere. In Kosovo, they need our help and deserve our solidarity.” This image folds in another image of suffering: Dorothea Lange’s famous Migrant Mother from 1936. Both images collapse universality and individuality into monumentalized maternity. The victim and the monumental conflate into the woman’s body: she stands in for the feminized nation of Kosovo. Masses of refugees swarm behind the mother, an out-of-focus texture for suffering.

Newspaper photojournalism of Kosovars and Serbs rephrased the visual iconography of World War II and Nazi concentration camps. These image structures imbricate prior historical formations to displace the digital warfare irradiating the cybermilitarized economy. By replacing mourning and history with phantoms, they elide death.

A May 20, 1999 The New York Times photograph reprocesses the digital through condensation. The section heading above it reads “Crisis in the Balkans: Evidence of Atrocities, Talk of Desertions?” [61] A frame grab from a Kosovar journalist’s videotape, the image chronicles the dead lined up on the ground. It documents the massacre of 127 Albanian Kosovars. The cut lines assert that CNN had televised the original video. The image was also calibrated with NATO’s aerial images of mass graves. Yet its digitalization represses atrocities. [62]

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin contend that the digital does not constitute a paradigmatic break but is rather a series of contiguities with other media. They use the term “remediation” to describe how the digital cannibalizes previous media formations. Rather than a new form, the digital is recombinant. [63] Just as the imagery of Kosovo conjures the extermination of Jews, this photograph remediates amateur video, the archival and surveillance. Its CNN broadcast sustained an analog form for global satellite communication. The digital verifies the analog while the fantasized historical verifies the image. This image, then, does not actually evidence slaughter, but demonstrates the racialized residue of how the new digital networks undergird war.

In the digital era, the interfaces between images loom more significant than the images alone. After the bombings concluded, Zizek argued that the language of “universal human rights” depoliticized the NATO intervention by creating victims. [64] Yet when images enter the circulatory systems of the digital networks and reconnect with discourse, their function changes. They transform into mobile historical agents and interfaces.

The Human Rights Watch Web site section entitled “Kosovo: Focus on Human Rights” and its special section on “Tragedy in Pictures” exemplifies this movement away from images ossified in residual historical formations to a strategy of images mobilized to create what Derrida has identified as an archive that always opens to the future. [65] The site contains a series of photo essays to complement the Human Rights Watch written work “uncovering abuses by all parties to the conflict in Kosovo.” [66] The 105 images on this site, suggesting that the multiple replaces the unique image of evidentiary truth, are contextualized as one layer of the horrors the Kosovar refugees endured rather than as historicized fantasy projections. Unlike photojournalism’s narrativity, these photographs mobilize agency in tandem with the written documentation and testimonies gathered by Human Rights Watch. Yet this documentation eschews a false coherency and realism. Its exposure of incoherence deploys images with the assumption that t hey are always incomplete archival traces, constantly in search of new contiguities. These photographs retain a humanistic, traditional realist documentary aesthetic that privileges the Kosovars as subjects. Yet their context on the Human Rights Watch Web site marshalls anti-monumentalism: they are grouped in historical patterns rather than as illustrations, a crucial difference from more commercial photojournalism. Categories include “A Village Destroyed–October 1999,” “Return to Kosovo–June 1999,” “Peace Deferred–June 1999” and “Refugees–April 1999.” These images serve only as nodal points for inquiries into a constantly expanding archive. Thus, the Human Rights Watch site’s architecture is built upon mobile vectors and interfaces rather than images.

Pivoting Delirium

Bill Nichols, discussing the documentary film Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1989, by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima), advocates the primacy of argumentation, social/political trauma and death. The development of epistemological genealogies requires the creation of new analytical architectures. Who Killed Vincent Chin? embraces a discourse of delirium rather than sobriety. Mixing multiple editing and analytical strategies, the film restores “feeling and bodily sensation” to conceptual abstractions. [67] These juxtapositions activate a “web of relationalities” that alters epistemological structures. This web entails “the logical impossibility of explaining the whole by means of any part; the reluctance to name the framework in which apparent disorder can assume pattern and meaning.” [68]

Nichols analyzes how the film’s radical, visceral intervention opens previously blocked pathways to knowledge and action. He employs the word “pivot” to describe how the film activates historiography: it “pivots dialectically between past and present, present and future… This pivoting upholds a tension between the particular and the general, the local and the historical?” [69]

Digital art produced about the Kosovo crisis echoes these tactics Nichols identifies to disembowel narrative unity. These works do not manufacture new imagery to counter ideologically contaminated dominant commercial imagery. Rather, they produce pivots of delirium, fraying the coherencies that blockade mobilization. Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, in their essay “Digital Delirium,” have observed that in the digital image speed economy “the real can no longer keep up to the speed of the image. Reality shudders and collapses and fragments into the vortex of many different alternative realities.” [70]

Rather than smoothing over phantasms, these works radically recalibrate war through digitality. Some digital art doubles these two concepts–the web of relationalities and the pivot–to produce not images, but dialectical interfaces between traumatic gaps and elisions. The interstitial extracts the image out of the regimes of coherency, narrative and ossified temporality.

During the Kosovo crisis, the Web site worked with a default mode and rerouting. Jodi interrogates the search engine as the materialization of knowledge. [71] Through various random strategies to search and access sites, proposes that Web interface maps relations between sites and codes, rather than generates new images. These cartographic strategies present delirium as the repressed of the cyber-networks, changing the fantasied control of search engines into an immersion into the search engine itself. It maneuvers the user from outside the machine to inside the machine of the digital networks. inverted the modality of associative strings typical of commercial search engines by performing a psychic reversal through system crashing and parodying accessing information. [72] During the Kosovo crisis, when a user signed on to, she/he was instantly routed to the B92 Web site, which delivered news of the bombings from a Serbian dissident point of view. No matter how many times the user would try to type in to attempt to locate other search engines or net art, each time, the B92 site loaded up. During this period, Milosevic attacked B92 and forced it to move to another server in The Netherlands.

In, the pivot intervenes into transparency with a historiography of replacement: it forfeits its URL to Radio B92, generating more public space. deconstructs the amorphous, vast discontinuities of the digital networks with directionality and contiguity. inserts the user into the repressed delirium of the war. The inability of the user to experience anything other than the B92 view of the bombings writes new codes of delirium through the pivot.

Interstitial Operations

During the bombing campaign in 1999, the International Action Center (IAC), a U.S.-based foreign policy political action group, produced a 20-minute videotape entitled NATO Targets (1999). IAC sold the tape for $25 through its listserv and direct mail. The tape exemplifies how circulatory transactions can be adapted for the new matrixes of war that migrate between analog and digital forms. It does not function as a fixed media object but as a node within a network of shifting relations and political necessities.

NATO Targets intervenes into interstitial relations: it maneuvers between the digital and the analog, between the real and the virtual. It refuses the imbedded digital grids of the bombings by demonstrating their impact on real bodies. NATO Targets rejects the repurposing of historical tropes like “the Holocaust” and the phantasmatic of chaos and incomprehensibility. It disarms the fissures between Serbia and the U.S., between the inside and the outside.

The tape, directed by Gloria La Riva, features former Attorney General Ramsey Clark touring through Serbia to assess the bombing. Clark travels to hospitals, workplaces, apartment buildings and factories that had been bombed. Its documentation of bombings and the victims in the hospitals awaiting medical care invokes the realist documentary representations of the Workers’ Film and Photo League newsreels from the 1930s, remediating their strategies with the new technologies of camcorders.

NATO Targets remaps contiguities, visible evidence and the morality of bombing. The tape pirates news footage from CNN and NBC describing the bombings as a “high-tech war.” It intercuts news footage of the city of Pristina after the bombings with camcorder shots recorded during the destruction. Rerouting the high-tech air war through on-the-ground bodies and places, NATO Targets invents a new matrix that restores context and consequence to historical actions.

Daniel Bernstein, a reporter from Pacifica radio, explains that journalists during the bombing have become “stenographers for the Pentagon” and decries the attacks on civilians in churches, libraries, schools, bridges. The Rambouillet peace agreement was analyzed as a declaration of war by NATO on Serbia. NATO Targets produces a dialectic between militarized imaginaries and camcorder images. It disarms the cyber-networks with bodies on the ground: a boy in a coma, a young female paraplegic with metal cluster bomb fragments imbedded in her legs, a maternity hospital with rows of babies and limited medicine. [73] Serbian doctors explain the difficulties of medical care during wartime. The tape’s function extends beyond muckraking the bombings’ effects on civilians. Instead, it pivots between a plurality of formations, replacing the phantasmatic with historical explanation and contiguities.


If the archive depends on superimpositions, layers and substrata, what new forms engage the historical? Cyber-wars require fragmentations that refuse layering, repressing violence with velocity and obliterating contiguities. How can both the dialectic and dialogic be restored? [74]

Developed during Operation Allied Force, the Weakblood web site, developed by Reiner Strasser [75] is actually a gallery of hyper-links to a diverse array of anti-war Internet art. It sustains a new interstitial historical structure between the analog and the digital, based on creating an endlessly open text where sites link to other sites, a digital mise-en-abyme into violence, technology and genocide. Many pieces lay bare digital networks: various vertical and horizontal scrolling functions on the computer screen reveal the image structure.

Nearly all pieces linked to Weakblood morph historiographic analysis with digitalization. The user creates montages to generate new antiwar argumentation. For example, Elson Froes’s piece Autopsia das Utopias (Autopsy the Utopias, 1999) graphically embodies the contradictions between peace-keeping and bombing: a blue screen with the white letters UTOPIA alternates with a red screen with the black letters AUTOPSIA. It loops the interstitial zone between the future and death. Matt Eberhart’s piece Wordwar (1999) creates a linguistic montage of collisions. [76] Scrolling down the left reveals the words gun, death, rape, bomb, kill, torture. Headlines on the right proclaim “words of war, words of hate.” Wordwar turns the dictionary of violence into performance.

Weakblood disarms the matrixes of war by compositing a layered fugal structure utilizing counterpoint. Many pieces reprocess commercial images, dislodging their false coherencies. For instance, Veronik Menanteau constructs a loop animation from three previously disconnected news images: a baby, a bomb and a star nebula. A title scrolls underneath which reads “shame politics … if only one politics leader would stand up and have courage to say frankly: let’s stop this running for power–for money.” The piece mobilizes a polyphonic structure between images, words and movement.

Rather than offering evidence, the Weakblood site reroutes the vectors of cyber-wars into historiographic meditations. Weakblood proposes the endless mutability and mobility of images as historical artifacts and mixed temporalities. Weakblood functions contrapuntally. Archival layers respond to each other. Weakblood detonates incomprehensible phantasms through historiographic explanation, connection and fluidity.


The matrixes of cyber-war demand new architectures. To revitalize and animate political agency, the historiographic must be rewritten as a fugue in many voices in order to combat the vaporization of history. The radical possibilities of the digital do not reside in its refashioning of temporality and spatiality. Rather, a reimagination of the archive as mobile, articulating constantly reconstructed layers substitutes a plurality of images and temporalities for one static image and one historical event.

These networks circulate and collide, shattering linearity and dismantling calibration. Restoration of the historical archive requires a fugue constructed out of contiguities rather than one single image. With their variations, embellishments and polyphony, digital fugues can rewire history and the future. Their new circuitry holds the as yet untapped possibility of crashing the networks booted up by the military and the transnational media corporations.

PATRICIA R. ZIMMERMANN is professor of cinema and photography at Ithaca College. She is the author of Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film (1995) and States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies (2000).


(1.) Human Watch Report, “Civlian Deaths in the nato Air Campaign” posted on February 7, 2000 at

(2.) Michael Ignatieff, Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000), p.4.

(3.) Ibid., p. 111.

(4.) Ibid., pp. 100-101.

(5.) Arthur and Marilouis Kroker, “Fast War/Slow Motion” at

(6.) See “Aerial Images,” at; Michael Evans, “NATO dropped thousands of bombs on dummy road, bridges and solders … and hit only 13 real Serb tanks,” in The London Times June 24, 1999 on votiagent[less than]; Florian Schneider, “Border Camp ’99” posted June 25, 1999 at votiagent[less than]; Robert Fisk, “Yugoslavia: Is NATO Killing People Because It Doesn’t Like What They Say?” posted April 24, t999 at; Tim Smart, “USA: Count Corporate America Among NATO’s Staunchest Allies,” posted April 13, 1999 at

(7.) On April 23, 1999. NATO bombed the main building of Serbian television, and two weeks later began attacking the Serbian electrical system. See Tim Judah, Kosovo: War and Revenge (New Haven: Yale University Press), pp. 222-264; Carlotta Gall, “No Water, Power, Phone: A Serbian City’s Trials,” in The New York Times (May 4, 1999), p. 14; and Michael R. Gordon, “NATO Air Attacks on Power Plants Cross a Threshold,” in The New York Times (May 4, 1999), p.1.

(8.) Pierre Levy, “The Art of Cyberspace,” in Timothy Druckery, ed., Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation (New York Aperture Foundation, 1996), pp. 266-267.

(9.) Cathy Caruth, “An Interview with Robert Jay Lifton,” in Cathy Caruth, ed., Trauma: Explorations in Memory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), p. 134.

(10.) For a historical overview of the relationship between the U.S. military and digital innovation, see Richard Wise, Multimedia: A Critical Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 9-41.

(11.) For a definitive discussion of digital coherency as mark and index of the corporate, see Sean Cubitt, Digital Aesthetics (London: Sage Publications, 1998), pp. 123-151. For an explanation of the historiographic differences between continuous structures and contiguous formation, see Alan Munslow, Deconstructing History (London: Rout-ledge, 1997), pp. 128-133.

(12.) Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p.22.

(13.) Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon, “British Pressing Partners to Deploy Ground Troops,” in The New York Times (May 18,1999), p. 10; Michael R. Gordon, “NATO Says Serbs, Fearing Land War, Dig in on Border:’ in The New York Times (May 19, 1999), pp. 1 and 8; Eric Schmitt, “Germany’s Leader Pledges to Block Combat on the Ground,” in the The New York Times (May 20, 1999), pp. 1 and 12; Daniel Ellsberg, “Contemplating a Fatal Mistake,” Op Ed piece, The New York Times (May 21, 1999), p. 27; Jane Perlez, “3 Options for Washington, All with Major Riaks,” in The New York Times (May 21, 1999), p. 12.

(14.) Judah, pp. 228-242.

(15.) Thomas Doherty, Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), p. 4.

(16.) Diana Jean Schemo, “Kosovo War Doesn’t Do Much for US Recruitment,” in The New York Times (May 16, 1999), Week in Review, p. 6.

(17.) For a discussion of how the military innovated media technology and impelled its diffusion, see Patricia R. Zimmermann, Reel Families: A Social History of American Film (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).

(18.) Andrew Pollack, “Trying to Improve Training, Army Turns to Hollywood,” in The New York Times (August 19, 1999), p. A14.

(19.) Aida Hozic, “Uncle Sam Goes to Siliwood: Of Landscapes, Spielberg and Hegemony.” unpublished manuscript, pp. 14-20.

(20.) See Jacques Derrida, Spectres of Marx: The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International (New York Routledge, 1994), pp. 95-158.

(21.) Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, “Fast War, Slow Motion” posted July 14, 1999 at

(22.) Jesse McKinley, “Film Fantasy as a Tonic for Refugee Children,” in The New York Times (July 4, 2000), Arts Section, pp. 1 and 3.

(23.) Asma Barlas, “Kosovo: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Media,” speech at the Teach-In on Kosovo, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, April 15, 1999.

(24.) Richard Dyer, White (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 1-68.

(25.) The web site played on this repressed racialization of the bombings by pointing out that the GIs who had been held captive by the Serbs were Latinos whose release was negotiated by Rev. Jesse Jackson. In addition, the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade also signified the eruption of this repressed racialization. See Susan Sacha, “3 G.I. Prisoner’s Resch Freedom in Good Heslth,” in The Ness’ York Times (May 3, 1999), pp. Al and A12; Susan Sacha, “3 Captive Soldiers Tell of Isolation in Yugoslav Cells,” in The New York Times (May 1, 1999), pp. Al and A10; Seth Faison, “Embassy Blast Chums Political Tea Leaves,” in The New York Times (May 16, 1999), p. A11; Jane Perlex, “White House is Bracing for a Chinese Backlash,” in The New York Times (May 16, 1999), p.A 11. For analysis of more globalized racialized violence in Colombia and Rwanda respectively occurring simultaneously to the Balkan crises of the 1990s, see Gabriel Garcia Marquez, News of a Kidnapping (New York Penguin, 1996) and Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (New York Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1998).

(26.) Katherine Q. Seelye, “New Reign of Domestic Terror,” in The New York Times (May 28,1999), p. 12.

(27.) Orlando Patterson, “When ‘They’ Are ‘US” Op Ed, in The New York Times (April 30, 1999), p. 34.

(28.) Katherine Q. Seelye, “Killings in Littleton Pierced the Soul of the Nation, Clinton Says,” in The New York Times (May 21, 1999), p. 13.

(29.) Photograph by Monica Almeida, in The New York Times (April 29, 1999), p. 15.

(30.) Maureen Dowd, “In the D.C. Matrix,” Op Ed, in The New York Times, (April 28, 1999), p. A29.

(31.) Slavoj Zizek, The Plague of Fantasies (London: Verso. 1997), p. 156.

(32.) See Paul Virilin, Open Sky (London: Verso, 1997), pp. 119-145.

(33.) Zizek, The Plague of Fantasies, pp. 61-62.

(34.) Trinh T. Minh-ha, Cinema Interval (New York Routledge. 1999), pp. 33-50.

(35.) Peter Weibel, “The World as Interface: Towards the Construction of Context-Controlled Event-Worlds,” in Druckery, p. 343.

(36.) Stuart Sim, Derrida and the End of History (London: Icon Books, 1999), pp. 3-29.

(37.) For a discussion of how images negotiated the Balkans ass zone of incoherence, see International Action Center, Nato in the Balkans: Voices of Opposition (New York International Action Center, 1998).

(38.) Aida Hone, “The War in Kosovo,” speech at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY, April 6, 1999.

(39.) David Tomas, “From Photograph to Postphotographic Practice: Toward Postoptical Ecology of the Eye,” in Druckery, pp. 145-153.

(40.) Hayden White, for example, has argued that “the past is a place of fantasy,” and that the historian’s task is to transform these fantasies through writing. See interview with Hayden White, in Ewa Domanaka, ed., Encounters: Philosophy of History after Postsmodemism (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998), pp. 16-21.

(41.) Zixek, The Plague of Fantasies, p. 18.

(42.) Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz The Witness and the Archive (New York Zone Books, 1999), pp. 32-33.

(43.) For explanations of how trananational corporate capital is built upon digital networks across borders, see Dan Schiller, Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Market System (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1999) and Robert W. McChesney, Ellen Meiksins Wood and John Bellamy Foster, eds. Capitalism and the Information Age (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1999).

(44.) See Hayden White, Metahistory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973).

(45.) Vilem Flusser, “Digital Apparition,” in Druckery, p. 243.

(46.) Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995), pp. 26-44.

(47.) Zizek, The Plague of Fantasies, pp. 10-11.

(48.) Ibid., p. 17.

(49.) Hayden White, “The Modernist Event,” in Vivian Sobchack, ed., The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event (New York: Routledge, 1996), p .32.

(50.) “In Clinton’s Words: ‘Speak with a Single Voice,'” in The New York Times, (April 29, 1999), p. A14.

(51.) Agence France-Prease photograph in The New York Times (May 6, 1999), p. A22.

(52.) See Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990).

(53.) Photograph by Jeff Mitchell of Reuters in The New York Times (May 5, 1999), p. 1.

(54.) It is essential to note the contiguity between the U.S. Department of Justice’s anti-trust case against Microsoft’s bundling and Operation Allied Force. For a concise exposition of the Microsoft case, see John Heilemann, “The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth: The Untold Story of the Microsoft Antitrust Case,” in Wired (November 2000), pp. 260-311.

(55.) Andrea Lisa, Trespassing Through Shadows: Memory, Photography and The Holocaust (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), p. 43. [Ed. Note: See Afterimage 26, no. 6 for a feature review.]

(56.) Ibid., p. 49.

(57.) Ibid., p.77.

(58.) Ibid., p.48.

(59.) This invocation of the Holocaust is a repetitive trope in Balkan War iconography, typified in the well-known and controversial image of Fikret Alic, a Bosnian Muslim, who looked to be imprisoned behind barbed wire. In fact, as subsequent reporting has demonstrated, he was not in a concentration camp, but at a collection center for refugees. For an expose of this image and its circulation see Thomas Deichmann, “The Picture that Fooled the World,” in Nato in the Balkans, pp. 165-178.

(60.) Coalition for Kosovo Relief advertisement, in The New York Times (April 30, 1999), p. A25.

(61.) Photograph in The New York Times(May 20, 1999), p. A15.

(62.) See Paul Virilio, The Information Bomb (London: Verso, 2000), pp. 58-68.

(63.) Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), pp. 53-84.

(64.) Slavoj Zizek, “NATO, The Left Hand of God? On the Self Deception of the West, or Why the Conflict in the Balkans Will Not Come to an End Anytime Soon,” posted on voti-agent, July 1, 1999.

(65.) Derrida, Archive Fever, p. 36.

(66.) See

(67.) Bill Nichols, “Historical Consciousness and the Viewer: Who Killed Vincent Chin?” in Sobehack, p. 65.

(68.) Ibid., p. 59.

(69.) Ibid., p. 62.

(70.) Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, “Digital Delirium,” in their edited volume, Digital Delirium (New York: St. Martins’ Press, 1997), p. ix.

(71.) For a discussion of as a live performance of reahuffled code and html, see Peter Lunenfeld, Snap to Grid: A User’s Guide to Digital Arts, Media and Cultures (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), pp. 80-84.

(72.) The creators of the Web site asserts “we serve no content.” It is a collaboration between Dirk Paesmans (Belgium) and Joan Heemakerk (The Netherlands) to create collages of materials found on the net and to deliberately create confusion through producing system crashes and desdend navigations through the Internet. For discussions of, see [less than][greater than][less than]http://web.syr.edul[sim]trrosins/jodi.html[greater than], and [less than] ml[greater than].

(73.) For a discussion of the political significance of refiguring ground wars in an era of aerial reconnaissance, see Patricia R. Zimmermann, States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), pp. 87-115.

(74.) For a discussion of how digitality can engages dialectical history, see Vivian Sobehack’s discussion of the morph as dialectic and dialogical in her essay “At the Still Point of the Turning World: Meta-Morphing and Meta-Stasia,” in Vivian Sobchack, ed., Metamorphing: Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick-Change (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), pp. 131-158.

(75.) See I thank Tim Murray for introducing me to this Web site.

(76.) This idea of collisions between images originated with Sergei Eisenstein. For a discussion of montage of collisions, see David Bordwell, The Cinema of Eisenstein (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 111-138. For an analysis of how digital art forms revamp montage through fluid spatialities and layering, see John Hess and Patricia R. Zimmermann, “Transnational Digital Imaginaries,” in Wide Angle (forthcoming).

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