This video features 3 artists: painter, Henry Tanner, artist Kata Kollwitz, and sculptor Dan Flavin.
1} Watch the video.
2) In 50 words or so, describe how each of these 3 artists use light (and shadow) to “tell their story”.
Towards the end of March 2004, the world bore witness to by now familiar scenes of blood-letting from Iraq. Pictures captured on this occasion by an Associate Press journalist (Mascolo, 2006) showed Iraqis celebrating the killing of two foreigners. Emaciated and hardly recognisable, their bodies hung over the bridge they had just a moment ago attempted to cross. Some 30 miles west of Baghdad, the notoriously restless town of Fallujah formed the backdrop to the ambush where, it emerged from later reports, two of those killed as well as the surviving men were all American nationals who had been tasked with escorting the transportation of foodstuff. When they fell into the trap, all four had been sitting in their car. Following gunfire they incurred the wrath of insurgents keen to seek revenge on whom they saw as unwelcome occupiers by torching their vehicle (Scahill, 2006). Two of them managed to escape in time but the other two, it seems, could not retreat, either because they were already heavily injured or were already dead. Even to this day the precise circumstances of what really had happened remain unclear, and it will probably remain so. What is clear, however, is that none of them – either the dead or the survivors – were bona fide soldiers operating in uniform. Belonging neither to the United States Army nor to any other army of the “coalition of the willing” stationed in Iraq, all four were, to all legal intents and purposes, “civilians”, who had, at least as it appeared initially, the gross misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But on closer inspection one could discern that all four of them were employees of Blackwater, a private security company headquartered in Moyock, North Carolina (www.blackwaterusa.com). Founded only eleven years earlier to the incident, Blackwater symbolizes the growth of a new and booming sector of the military economy, which entrusts private companies with tasks that had previously been preserved for the state. Referring to the process of deregulation, which had made this possible, the founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, explained by way of comparison that, “we are trying to do for national security what Fed Ex did for the postal service. Fed Ex”, he went on to say in an interview with the Weekly Standard, “did many of the same services the postal service did, better, cheaper, smarter, and faster by innovating [which] the private sector can do much more effectively” (quoted in Hemingway, 2006). What his company was doing, he claimed, was nothing dissimilar and, in fact, in the national interest too, since his employees would save the American ratepayers a substantial amount of tax. 1.2. The challenge of Private Military Companies For those who lived through the twentieth-century, where it was a given that state-instituted regular standing armies which recruited from its own people were entrusted with the nation’s security, this arrangement would strike an inconceivable note. Not even in the heyday of unbridled Victorian laissez-faire liberalism did the state feel the need to call upon publically-traded companies to look after its own geopolitical interests. Yet the self-confidence, expressed by Prince, in the capability of his private firm to provide a better service than the state cannot be pushed aside as mere marketing rhetoric. In 2003, for example, Blackwater, DynCorp and other private military companies (hereafter PMCs) turned over a more than impressive collective profit of 100 million dollars (Mlinarcik, 2006). If the prognosis of forecasters is any guide, this sum is set to double by 2010, making the military market a lucrative one and pointing to further deregulation. Limited to Iraq alone, where the incident in Fallujah took place, there were at the last count some 60 private security firms operating in the country, with a total number of 20,000 personnel, or “contractors”, on their books. So ubiquitous have PMCs become that their size now even dwarf that of the British army, the second largest state-sanctioned contingent in the area. More importantly, PMCs have not limited their remit to support or mere logistics, situated far away from the field of combat, but ominously they now increasingly provide armed escorts, security in and around buildings and, if need be, take on roles which would normally be associated with soldiers in a regular army on fields of combat. Such a reliance on contractors moreover is set to escalate as states realise that outsourcing military responsibilities to these private firms, who typically hire experienced veterans of conflict, can be more effective as well as economical. Not least because of these attractions the United States government has taken out over 600 contracts in Iraq alone (Singer, 2003, 17). Such acts of outsourcing, it should be remembered, are not in themselves particularly unusual. Many states have had little qualms about taking on new spheres of responsi>GET ANSWER