” … the oldest new structure in the history of this city.”


” … the oldest new structure in the history of this city.” Trafalgar Square, London.Altered Video. 2017. 42 seconds.

 


” … the oldest new structure in the history of this city.” City Hall Park, New York. Altered Video. 2017. 7 seconds. Original footage courtesy Claire Voon.

 

In the oldest new structure series I perform an act of digital removal to draw attention to the complicated implications of using new technology to replicate recently destroyed historical objects from Palmyra, Syria in the midst of an ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis in the region. I collect and alter the unveiling scenes of the replicated Triumphal (Monumental) arch of Palmyra along its world tour which, after being modeled by the U.K. based Institute for Digital Archaeology and robotically carved in Italy, began in London (video: RT News) and has since traveled to New York City (video credit: Claire Voon) and Dubai.

I use my experience in the American visual effects industry to alter and recirculate media spectacles. This body of work began in 2015 when I selectively removed objects from an ISIS propaganda video showing the destruction of Assyrian and Hatrene sculptures at the Mosul Museum. While the terrorist group claimed iconoclasm in destroying the sculptures, the filmed act was aimed at western internet dissemination and image multiplication.

The recreated Triumphal arch (original destroyed by ISIS in 2015) is similarly aimed at digital dissemination. The magic trick of unveiling a ghostly recreation is haunted by the United States’ pending refugee ban and xenophobic mistrust of people from the region from which the arch existed for nearly two millennia. This act of removal looks to isolate the magic trick, allowing the fullness of the unveiling spectacle to circulate while making room for emptiness, hypocrisy, and loss to be revealed.

research database for this project available here.

instructables article on using visual effects to alter footage coming soon.