Single channel video installation


"The beautiful is just the first degree of the terrible"

Rainer Maria Rilke

How is form affected by the impulse and velocity in the gesture of aggression?

Looking at combat frame by frame, The Speed of Violence exposes the deformations –at once beautiful and horrifying– that occur on the subject as it is captured on celluloid over time, inviting reflection on our inherent attraction for, and terror of, human violence.

The Speed of Violence takes the visceral fight that opens Body of War, and slows it down to reveal each still frame long enough for us to lose the illusion of continuous temporality through motion. In this way, the film further dissects the impulse, action and aftermath behind the act of killing. The shifts in and out of form produce a sense of defamiliarisation that takes shape in figures of monstrosity.

The Speed of Violence preserves the grain of the S16mm negative. This enhances the pictorial qualities of the brushing movements across the screen, and yet reminds us –together with the fragments of black inserted where the edit points would be in the referent film– of the image making apparatus. Refused the comfort of immersion, we are forced to remain awake to the realities of war.


This piece is part of The Intimacy of Violence exhibition, a solo show which considers the nature of military training in a series of interrelated moving image works and still images. Positioning Body of War as the central work, in a consciously reiterative way the surrounding pieces play on the military theme of repetition, by quoting the main film to expose further questions on the psychology and representation of conflict and its defence systems.

The exhibition premiered at Galeria Senda and Arts Santa Monica in Barcelona on May the 10th and ran until 12th June 2011. See also Body of War and Fear, Defence, Disappearance.