How do we know what we know?

hdv, colour, sound, 17'30", 2011

How Do We Know What We Know? The journalist in the studio talks to the special correspondent who couldn’t get into the conflict zone that is the topic of the news report he put together out of amateur footage. Just a few years ago, one still heard it said that the media decided when a conflict started: it began the moment journalists arrived on the scene. The rapid growth in the amount of images shot by the protagonists themselves, in combina- tion with their almost immediate broadcast, has modified this equation. Do we still need journalists?

Images are the tools and weaponry of warfare. In itself this is not new, but what is undoubtedly new is the way their sources have multiplied. Now, then, is a propitious moment for examining the work of “classical” journalism, the kind that relies mostly on rarely contested reports from the field by war correspondents. The entire edifice around this media coverage already seems a little out of touch and may soon be left behind: special correspondents, TV crews, satellite trucks, hotels full of war correspondents, news flashes and breaking news, the news show’s dramatic jingle...

What is a “good” image of conflict? Where are they made and how will they be made tomorrow? How can we critique them with other images? Media production and dissemination create systems in which we are caught and to which we contribute more or less voluntarily. What we can try to describe are the details of these systems, sometimes benign in appearance, as a way of thinking about them and perhaps of loosening their grip.

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Produced with the support of
Conseil des arts et des lettres du québec