The latest propaganda video by ISIS shows British hostage John Cantlie reporting from the streets of Mosul explaining that ISIS are no threat to the community and the daily lifestyle continues as normal. This video is resemblant to a news report and also a travel programme, highlighting certain aspects of life in Mosul which is a clever ploy for ISIS, turning the picture around showing themselves in a ‘good light’.
Article about the idea that there is another book “The Management of Savagery” that is influencing ISIS and their actions.
The Book: https://azelin.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/abu-bakr-naji-the-management-of-savagery-the-most-critical-stage-through-which-the-umma-will-pass.pdf
“The key idea in the book is that you need to carry out attacks on a local government and sensitive infrastructure — tourism and energy in particular,” McCants said. “That causes a local government to pull in security resources to protect that infrastructure that will open up pockets where there is no government — a security vacuum.”
“They have turned ISIS into a franchise,” Kersten said. “Violence has turned into a political spectacle. Their ideas have been around for a while, but are being presented in a very new way, by carefully balancing the Islamic [religious elements] and their use of media. We’re looking at a new level of sophistication … It has pushed management of violence to new limits.”
Referring to ISIS as a franchise opens up a new perspective and is something that I could play when making work.
I found watching Adam Curtis’s documentary ‘Bitter Lake’ very insightful. I was able to gain further knowledge about historical events that effect how things are run in the world today, politically and otherwise.
What I found most interesting about was something that was said towards the end of the documentary along the lines of: Afghanistan has revealed the emptiness of the hypocrisy of our beliefs.
Hypocrisy of our beliefs
This really got me. It is very true. In the nature of our society and the way things are run today, individuals have become very critical and judgemental without the realisation that we are also very hypocritical.
I feel that the difference of beliefs is something that is quite pertinent within my research now. Of course every individual, society, religion etc all have their own beliefs, which they believe are correct and true. So regarding this and ISIS, we can say that they believe what they are doing is right and not necessarily just about killing innocent people for the sake of it. They BELIEVE that what they are doing is right. They believe that by doing this they are adhering to the laws of the Quran and will gain from it.
But on the other hand, the American and British governments/societies believe this is wrong. So in order to stop them we are fighting and killing them in a bid to stop them like a battle of good versus evil. But it is not that black and white anymore. The ideology and beliefs ISIS follow have been planted like a seed and have continued to grown into the Western world so even by killing them, it truly is not helping in any way. The notion is there, it exists in the world and nobody can change this.
We are stuck in this cycle of different beliefs in which people are fighting for what they believe is right yet no good ever comes from it, nothing is ever resolved.
ISIS have the intention to create an Islamic caliphate and use techniques of modern media but the same thing is happening as it did in the 1920s, British, Americans and Saudi’s are trying to kill jihadists and their ideas in Iraq but the idea, is still there and will stay.
The system of belief is a lot stronger than any physical force.
I recently went to see the ‘Post Pop: East Meets West’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. There was a lot of great work but something that really stood out to me was a piece of work by Sergey Shutov. His piece of work ‘Abacus’ (2001) is an installation piece consisting of motored mannequins draped in black fabric.
This work was so captivating, making a strong statement about the world we live in. Even though religion and beliefs are something many people share, they also divide people, which is a paradox we all face.
This is something that is quite visible in my work and could be explored further. Certain beliefs allow people to gain a strong sense of identity and belonging, whether it be to a God, community or universe but at the same time can alienate people from other faiths or even within the same faith. Despite the tolerance of the beliefs or how similar the understandings of the essence of the belief are.
This is very relevant to what his happening in the world regarding ISIS. Many members are participating with a strong belief that they are abiding by the rules of Islam, although many other Islamic people disagree with what they are doing. Not only this but they are killing people of other beliefs because of what they belief, creating a very distinct divide.
For our third exhibition, I decided to put in a portrait from the ‘mocking ISIS women’ photo shoot. I wanted to put in this piece of work to see how this worked as opposed to the video work I have been making.
Following the mockery of ISIS training in my previous work ‘Seeing II’, ‘Submissive Rebel’ explores the idea of the rebellion of western women and the contradiction this faces when these women flee to Iraq and Syria to support ISIS and end up up becoming nothing but submissive women. A lot of these women believe they will be able to go there and fight but when they get there, they are made jihadi brides, kept women whose purpose is to breed a new generation of fighters. This work plays on the ‘glamorisation’ of this and how it is just a fad, a new and exciting craze that these people will eventually realise isn’t any good – just like a fad diet.
One of the responses to the work suggested that the work be much bigger. I agree with this and would like to try presenting this work printed to human scale or even bigger. Doing this would create a bigger impact on the audience with the possibility to be intimidating.
I feel like this piece of work could be experimented with further. To bring the concept of censorship to forefront with this piece of work, I could try cropping sections of the images and enlarging them to create ambiguity, playing on the idea of controlled censorship/authority of the image.
‘Submissive Rebel’ 2014
Interesting article about a pornstar who has worn the Hijab during sex scenes. Naturally she received a lot of back lash from this but she claims that Hollywood has represented Muslim women in worse ways which is probably true but that doesn’t justify her actions.
A pair of Youtubers comment on the matter (humorously), saying that ISIS will be be after her.
The topic of sex and religion combined is very interesting, its always considered such a taboo and there is always a big controversy surrounding it and the dubiousness of ethicalness. This always brings into light ideas of representation and image and who has the authority to make this kind of image and the justification.