video, 9 min.
Shooting Images by Rabih Mroué
shows a performative reenactment of existing videos uploaded onto websites such as YouTube in which we see what a person is recording with his mobile phone: a Syrian regime sniper aiming his rifle at the civilian and shooting. The cameraman’s death becomes apparent when the phone, through which we witness the scene, is roughly slammed to the ground. Investigating the images produced outside of official regime media during the Syrian civil war, ongoing since 2011, Mroué became intrigued by these disturbing videos that portray the questionable reciprocal intimacy that exists in the brief moment of eye contact between the sniper and civilian when the rifle’s sight line aligns with the lens of the mobile phone. According to Mroué, the fictional reconstruction of such a “double shooting” in this video meticulously deconstructs such moments by isolating sound from visuals, offering extreme slow motion, and by zooming into the gunman’s eyes in a manner that surpasses what technology realistically allows. Instead of providing the desired clarification of what occurs, however, Mroué’s extreme deconstruction confronts us with the paradoxical impossibility of fully “seeing” even the most hyper-real moment, that is, the documentation of one’s own death. Complicating the supposedly unlimited democratic agency, global political transparency, and insurgent togetherness some believe to be the promise of technological progress, Mroué’s video searches for the possibility of human connection in the midst of an alienating civil war.