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The Clearing Topics

Sarajevo's Lost Innocents


The Clearing, 1994
Interactive Installation, dimensions variable

An interactive installation artwork that focuses on the language of American print media's representation of the Bosnian crisis during the 1993-1994 period based on material culled from the archives of the Oakland Data Center.

In its dormant stage, the program features an image going in and out of focus with breathing sounds. The program is to be activated by gallery audience viewers with the use of the mouse. Through the act of search and information gathering of bits and pieces of news data, viewers assemble a narrative concerning this event by exploring the surface of an old hunting photograph visible in a fragmented mode.

The experience of navigating through the program's interface speaks to technology's origins in medical and weapons design and philosophy as discussed by media theorists Jonathan Crary and Paul Virilio. The viewer explores the surface details of an old hunting photograph to search for meaning encoded beneath its surface. This image functions as a 'stand-in' for world events as chronicled to us through public media, a mode of communication which positions us as distanced, removed spectators unable to distinguish between the cinematic and the real. The Clearing's interface speaks to the origins of vision tools in medical and weapons design as technologies of domination and spectacle in the search for knowledge and truth. The interface accentuates the logistics of perception or piercing gaze of this mode of seeing in its aggressive search mode, quick stimulus response and the viewer's insatiable need for consumption.

Production Credits & Publications
Rosemary Comella, HyperReal Media Productions
Production by base.Arts publications, John Sappington

"Spread", SOMArts, San Francisco (2011)
"Can it Digit?", Postmasters Gallery, New York (1996)
"Das digitale Wort", Word Up Festival, Vienna (1996)
The 6th Fukui International Video Biennale, Fukui (1995)
International Video Fest, Berlin (1995)
[The Clearing], New Langton Arts Gallery, San Francisco (1994)