WarProductWar is in a constant state of flux with much deep linking. Every now and then some links break due to change of URLS, images and then other new links arrive. A perpetual multi-collage that shifts its contextual shape as time goes by.
When you have jumped into the site, you are inflicted by an influx of images, text, sounds and moving visuals. An intense barrage of all things related to America’s crusade and war against terrorism: the cost, financial dealings or news pictures, reporting images of the world’s civilians slaughtered in the name of War Against Terror. A sobering net journey. When exploring the many thumbnail links, with pop-up windows declaring news information about corporations such as Exxon gaining record-breaking profits of $7bn during the start of the three-month period of the war in Iraq.
The piece’s pace is heightened with the constant changing of large images in the main browser, the work’s backdrop, whilst clicking on smaller windows at the front. Many of these images feature men in safety helmets (all white) on oil rigs. Because there is so much in this site, you can be sure that you are not likely to come across everything with only one visit. You have a visual countdown and voice repeatedly counting down “5,4,3,2,1”. Then you hear inserted sounds of a synthetic trumpet, war music and chants along with various other snippets of audio: explosions, lift music, advertisement music and birds singing before the rattle of atomic bombs.
It convinces the user or viewer that war is most definitely tied up with product. One observes the cataloguing of all those maimed and dead civilians in contrast to the figures for corporate profits rising. Things begin to get even darker as you continue to click through the various avenues of the site. A feeling of helplessness begins to take over as one is overloaded with the intensity and seemingly unstoppable hunger of America’s corporations, complicit in the process of killing people for profit, backed by governmental greed for global power. And then you slump into a void, inertia.
The American people are constantly trapped in a conduit of intense fear and paranoia compared to the rest of the western world regarding war coverage. The use of such words such as “collateral damage” instead of “dead civilians”, and misleading reports, such as that about the attack on the Afghan wedding party was first presented as “Coalition bomb goes astray” when it was not a coalition bombing, it was American led. Even though the UK has its own issues with propaganda and the elimination of truth, actual events and the history surrounding mass graves and killings of civilians are remixed, spliced and blatantly re-invented. News corporations continue to get away with quite literally promoting murder via misinformation.
The whole piece comes across like a massive, perpetually shifting billboard. Everything is very bold and direct, yet there are also subtle layers of information and smaller windows that one does not notice until a page is closed. Much like Joy Garnet’s The Bomb Project and Ruth Catlow’s One among 400,000, this work by Mark Cooley is an art piece, consisting of Internet-based networked information. This is net art as information offering a political subjectivity. For declaring subjectivity is to declare context, if that is eliminated, cut up and pared down by the corporate media via divisive means such as propaganda, then the real substance, spirit and essence of humanity is much easier to deny.
WarProductWar shows (and often quotes from) the pornographic nature of tactical news and its overbearing broadcasting of the spectacle, its bombardment of the mind via sensationalist means. Social intimacies are abstracted to a point of nonsensical confusion.