International Symposium 2002 / Colloque international
Hosted by the Maison Franco-Japonaise |
and the Organizing Committee of the International Conference "Between War and Media"
Co-sponsored by the Tokyo University Institute of Socio-information and Communication Studies
With support from the Japan Foundation, the French Embassy in Japan,
and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études
(entrance free, simultaneous interpretation in English and Japanese)|
March 25, 26 and 27, 2002|
Auditorium of the Maison Franco-Japonaise,
3-9-25 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(12 minutes from Ebisu Station of JR and Subway Hibiya Line).
[ Last modified: March 19, 2002 ]
The twentieth century was a century of wars. From two world wars to the Vietnam and Gulf wars at the end of the century, armed conflict has tended to frame the twentieth century. The desires, consciousness, and memory of wars in this age have also been deeply entwined with the period's media, from cinema to radio, from posters and photojournalism to television, from recent satellite communications and the internet to the thorough manipulation of information during the Gulf War. At the same time, war has offered revolutionary opportunities for the development of the media in the twentieth century. One can think of the twentieth century as a media century, and as a century of war, with both aspects indivisibly interrelated.
Recalling this history, one can say that the twentieth century first opened with World War I, a total war that overturned the nineteenth century model of limited war. Total war, as a form of conflict, caused fundamental transformations in the social organization of the nation state. Then World War II and its holocaust, exercised in total accordance with the system of total war, sparked a level of self-destruction unseen since the dawn of humanity, one that threated to upset even the basic conviction in civilization.
War has continued to grow in the half century since the end of World War II, from the nuclear balance of the Cold War, which multiplied the possibilities for "overkill" of the entire human race, and the innumerable irregular guerrilla wars in the postcolonial situation, to the Gulf War, which reduced death to the elimination of blips on a screen, and the bombing of Kosovo, which was discussed as if it was the first realization of the concept of "pure" war. The media have been deeply involved in each of these processes, just as they have proliferated under the decisive regulation of war's metamorphoses.
Now, we are at present witnessing the ultimate combination of war and media at the entrance to the twenty-first century. In fact, we are possibly already "living in wartime." With the incidents on September 11, 2001, the vast majority of people are learning of developments in America's "strike back against Afghanistan" by means of transnational satellite media such as CNN and Al-Jazeera; at the same time, through such media, they are able to represent this "war" for the first time. Not only that, but it is clear that the events of September 11 were, in the first place, planned and "performed" from the beginning with the assumption they would be captured by television cameras. As all was being media-ted, nearly 3000 people lost their lives in an instant.
The trends of the war that has just started are as yet unclear. Yet there is no doubt that media will become an essential condition for structuring our perception of the world, even if this war becomes one fought on a global scale, or even if it presents new aspects never conceived before. War, as a perpetually uncanny event, will drag us towards a new horizon of perception and cognition. And media, one must add, is steadily becoming unavoidably involved with this horizon of perception itself.
That is not all. After the attack on the World Trade Center, a certain funerary condition began to disseminate, centered on the mountain of rubble that remained. Manhatten suddenly started to be described as a "warzone," and those that died there were decorated with numerous American flags as America's innocent dead, as heroic victims of war. The image of airplanes slamming into high-rise buildings, like the scenes of Kennedy assassination or the Challenger disaster--perhaps with a tension far surpassing these--have become national images, America's memory. This "memory of terrorism" or "memory of war" has come into being, been manipulated, and started taking root as a new collective memory. The genuine sorrow of people who lost relatives and loved ones has come into conflict with actions that are trying to channel these feelings towards techniques of national memorialization. In that, the public memory of the incident is being created. However, one wonders how attuned people can be to the fact that this form of mourning can also become a form of deep cultural forgetting with regard to another set of dead.
With this conception of the issues, we plan to hold an international symposium entitled "Between War and Media" at the Maison Franco-Japonaise for three days between March 25 and 27, 2002, in hopes of elucidating the historical, perceptual, critical and contemporary relationship between war and media.
At the symposium, participants will re-address the relation between war and media in the twentieth century from a standpoint grounded in the conditions following the events of September 11, 2001. As a starting point, Carol Gluck, the historian from Columbia University, will commence the three days of discussion with a keynote address.
Next, we have organized four sessions. The first, "Images of Wars/Wars of Images," will reinvestigate from a historical perspective the complicated relationship between the apparatus of image media and the event of war. Session two, "Media of Memory: Narrating the Battle Front," will focus on war and collective memory, as well as on media as their mediative force. In the third session, entitled "From Media Crisis to Counter Media," participants will measure the depth of the crisis in today's media, where globalization and nationalism, war and military conflict intermix, and try to conceive what hope lays within such conditions. Finally, session four, "Between War and Media," will look back to trace how the questions posed in the keynote address were clarified in each of the sessions, and attempt to offer some preliminary answers. In general, after the keynote speech on the first day, the two sessions on day two will reconsider war and media in the twentieth century from a historical viewpoint, while the last sessions on day three will try to develop these issues from a contemporary perspective.
In the breaks between our discussions, we plan to present film works with a deep relation to the symposium's topic, as well as display wartime propaganda materials from the collection of the Tokyo University Institute of Socio-information and Communication Studies.
(Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.)
|Monday, March 25, 2002|
|Tuesday, March 26, 2002|
|Session 1: "Images of Wars / Wars of Images"|
|Session 2: "Media of Memory: Narrating the Battle Front"|
|Wednesday, March 27, 2002|
|Session 3: "From Media Crisis to Counter Media"|
The discussions on the first two days of the symposium will have shown how war has always been accompanied by and represented through media during the twentieth century. In that era, media did not simply record and cover war from without, but rather become a part of war, defining it, representing it, and mediating its memory and various reenactments. In this session, we will intersect the historical perspectives offered on the previous day with a contemporary viewpoint and consider the problem of the representation of war in today's media and forms of expression through such issues as sexual violence and the comfort women, the emperor's war responsibility, gender and imperialism/colonialism in representations of war, terrorism and the globalization of media, the crisis and possibility of the media, and media and the war of revenge against Afghanistan.
|Session 4: Summary Discussion: "Between War and Media"|
Chairs: Iwasaki Minoru, Yoshimi Shunya|
Panelists: Sebastian Conrad (Freie Universität Berlin)
Tessa Morris Suzuki
Kang Sang-iung (Tokyo University)
3-9-25, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013