A Body Learns
While studying forms of contemporary violence I found three images that resonated together. The first is a photo from the 2005 London bombing. In the havoc a woman covers her face with a mask to treat burns. Only her eyes and mouth are visible through the gauze. The second is a photo of a Taiwanese anti riot police officer donning a black bulletproof mask. The third is a photo of a Colombian guerrilla ELN fighter wearing a combat hood. The ominous presence of the last two photos stands in contrast to the first image’s feeling of vulnerability.
The three photos depict individuals whose bodily presence is altered by an outfit that is both a symbol and a result of our contemporary violence. The masks reveal two divergent human traits: We possess an extraordinary capability to wound and harm–our perpetual history of conflicts attests to that. Yet, we are particularly vulnerable beings: our skin is easily pierced, burned and torn apart.