05 October–30 November 201305 Oct–30 Nov 2013
Death has the tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.—Donald Rumsfeld
Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn’s video Touching Reality conflates seeing and touching. We watch fingertips scroll through photographs on a touchscreen. The photos are of corpses and carnage; scenes of war, violence, and dismemberment; bodies burnt and shredded. We see heads blown apart; bits of muscle, viscera, and brain matter. We do not find such images in newspapers, but they are accessible on the Internet. The shots are generic (they could be from anywhere), yet specific (we see individuals uniquely mangled). The fingers caress the screen, stopping to zoom in for more detail, then move on. But we don’t know their motivation. Are the fingers concerned, prurient, both, or neither? Certainly, they show us more than we might care to see.