Monday, March 24, 2008

You've probably heard the news by now: The U.S. Death toll in Iraq has reached 4,ooo. Four soldiers were killed in yet another roadside bombing on Sunday.

Last year, Spanish-born artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle pointed out that the war we're now six years into was sparked by phantasms. His piece in 2007's Documenta 12, The Phantom Truck, was an attempt to envision the Platonic ideal of the rolling weapons labs that Colin Powell described in his now-infamous presentation to the U.N.

Powell depicted these vehicles as an imminent danger--and therefore a justification for war. Of course, when the actual trucks were finally found, it became clear that they didn't have any of the capabilities that Powell had warned about:
…an idea is fabricated about a truck, which then becomes 'intelligence', which in turn becomes a virtual representation (i.e. a PowerPoint presentation), only later 'discovered' in the desert and retroactively identified as the actual object (literally a re-presentation that precedes its presentation), which is then revealed to be, in fact, a mis-representation and, finally, only as art, is it given actual form. That is to say, the 'fabrication' is now itself fabricated. No longer evidence of a supposed 'truth', the phantom honestly presents itself as a mere representation --that is to say, The Lie.


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