Article in ISEA2016 Proceedings, Hong Kong, based on critical urban media aesthetics research on a global phenomena of projecting colors of national flags – following terror attacks – on urban surfaces and in architectural lighting schemes.
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on September 13, 2015, a peculiar media-aesthetic phenomenon emerged, quickly expanding worldwide. In the days that followed the attacks, colors of blue, white and red, the colors of Le Tricolore, were illuminated on landmarks, embassies and museum buildings, and various architectural facades, in at least sixty cities around the world. In the article I question how come these ‘Tricolore-illuminations’ may have been considered an intuitive, appropriate response worldwide, by means of the contemporary socio-cultural behaviors that the initiatives express. I consider the Tricolore illuminations in line of a newly emerging gesture of employing visual media aesthetics in memorial events, as part of a greater orientation towards exploring these expressive means in a mode of ‘aesthetics of repair’. I point at the problematic culture of emergency that motivates current intuitive practices with these initiatives, not least considering a western-centric worldly sensibility. I argue that we need to critically reflect on how our media-aesthetic engagements are deeply engaged with our communicative existence, including its sensibilities, imbalances, and biases. I finally point at an alternative culture of urgency within which we can cultivate our media-aesthetic responses to crises and urgencies in the world.
Toft, Tanya Søndergaard. “Media-Aesthetic Expressions of Sympathy: The Projections of Le Tricolore.” ISEA2016 Proceedings, Hong Kong, 2016.