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In the pain of others





Digital technology in many ways favours the emergence of a new disaster figure. Whether it is a video-playback of the catastrophistic experience (via the interface of the video game), the virtualisation of the cataclysmic landscape (via synthetic imaging — or the CGI — in the cinema) or the release of devastation scenes (via the mobility of the portable device), many of the current media devices contribute to the formation of a new iconosphere of the disaster that could, among other things, redefine the places where the traumatic space emerges. Thus, while analogue technology and the many unbearable images it has taught us have taught us to sorry in front of the pain of others (S. Sontag), digital technology also teaches us to vibrate in the pain of others. In order to illustrate the topical and aesthetic implications of this unprecedented area of trauma and, consequently, to better understand the digital culture of which it is the symptoms, we will take as an example the imagination regime specific to the 3th or 4th generation “smartphone”. We will try, on the one hand, to understand how the digital portable device is creating a new “space practice” of devastation and, on the other hand, to analyse how this practice succeeds in creating real mobility of the disaster within contemporary visual culture. Mobility which has the primary consequence of introducing into the iconosphere the concepts of actor and network, and which, in order to be understood in all its complexity, requires the development of a visual theory of media skimming (P. Sloterdijk).

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