War Tourist is a video project by visual artist Emanuel Licha
Copyright Emanuel Licha 2004-08

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War Tourist is a 5-channel video project by visual artist Emanuel Licha.
MiniDV transferred to mpeg, colour, stereo sound, in english with english subtitles, 98', 2004-08.
ed. 5 + 2 AP

 

 

In cities which have been through a war or a disaster recently, or which are known to be dangerous, a professional tourist guide is hired and asked to organize a guided tour — which is filmed — of the worst destructions, or the most dangerous zones in the city.

war tourist wants to see, up close, the chaos and pain of others. He travels the world in search of ever-stronger sensations. His curiosity also acts to keep these events at a distance. He travels to assure himself that all this destruction and pain are well and truly somewhere else and that they don’t threaten him at home.

The guide’s talk brings two views of the place face to face: the local view and the outside view. In the relationship between the guide and War Tourist, these two views meet through an arrangement identical to that of a supplier filling a customer’s order. The guide shows the tourist what the tourist wants to see, even if it means inventing an idealized, picturesque version of reality. He expresses himself in English — the language of tourism — and, even though they are wholly intelligible, his words are subtitled and slightly altered, in that same language. This detail denotes the tourist-viewer’s sense of superiority and reinforces the idea that the guide is indeed the Other: never perfectly clear or comprehensible.

 

5 episodes (20 min. each)
War Tourist in Sarajevo
War Tourist in the Suburbs of Paris
War Tourist in New Orleans
War Tourist in Chernobyl
War Tourist in Auschwitz

 

 

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