decade a war without images, ‘an invisible war’ fought within a
‘culture of silence’. It is for this reason, he contends, that
the 1997 photograph of a grieving Algerian woman became such a famous visual
index of the conflict, winning the World Press Photo prize and being
circulated around the world. The visibility of this image screened the
absence of any others (see Stora 2001 : 7). Similarly, the novelist Boualem Sansal has written of a
jinn as well as from intrusions by secular state institutions.
My intention has been to specifically explore the role of theinvisible in their experiences of mental illness and spirit possession, and as such, this book belongs to a long tradition of studies aiming to understand theinvisible in human life. Illnesses such as psychosis and possession occupy an ambiguous position in the borderland between the visible and invisible. Such illnesses are sometimes expressed through visible signs, but the cause of illness and the experience of
Exposing theinvisible: visual
investigation and conflict
Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski
For the last, almost two hundred years, journalists and illustrators and then photographers would be present on battlefields. The landscapes of conflict were part of the
reporting of those conflicts, and they deeply influenced our understanding of them.
We talk about the media activities around the Gulf War, the first genuinely televised
war, but before that there was photography in Vietnam, and water-colourists on the
battlefields of Crimea. We have an
Approaching theinvisible centre:
middle-class identity and documentary
So far in this book I have considered various engagements with
screen documentary made by viewers other than myself. In this
chapter I turn attention to some of my own responses to documentary films, and explore how my identity, particularly its middleclass aspect, has shaped these reactions. The purpose behind this
move is not to wallow in narcissism, nor to ‘restore’ a middleclass, white and male subjectivity to the centre stage of film and
media studies – if it has ever been truly
N THE FIRST PART of this study an attempt was made to consider afresh the familiar civilian experience of the Second World
War in Britain with a view to assessing how well the morale of
the ordinary people came through that time of trial. That it did not
break was not the point at issue – no one has ever suggested it did.
The issue was, simply, where on the continuum from ‘low’ to ‘high’,
from ‘poor’ to ‘good’ would one, in retrospect, place the spirit and
behaviour of the people during those six years.
their subjects to take off the European-style clothing that they had picked up through contact, or transporting them from one place to another in order to film them in supposedly more authentic surroundings.
In an attempt to sidestep this contradiction, some ethnographic film-makers developed a mode of praxis whereby their authorship would be acknowledged in preliminary or end credits, or in accompanying texts, but would then remain largely invisible in the main body of their films. In this way, the films could look like works of objective
nation-states’, leading them to be represented by academics, policy makers and the media as ‘matter out of place’. 45 Much the same could be said of transmigrants in the early twentieth century and their subsequent invisibility – in spite of their huge numbers.
The power of exclusive narratives, both then and now, and the subsequent effort required to humanise those in the lower decks is neatly illustrated through the career of Southampton-born artist, Sam Smith. Smith was born in 1908 and it has been suggested that ‘Childhood experiences of
What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge
from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark? As elsewhere in
Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through
intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion
remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians,
commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause
of ‘integration problems’. Over several years Christian Suhr followed
Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital.
With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the
invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the
bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of
Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states. The book
reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief
from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the
cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.
Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera,
both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to
destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow
patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.
The diabetic body can be mapped as a profoundly Gothic landscape, referencing theories of the monstrous, the uncanny and the abject. Diabetes is revealed under what Foucault has termed the medical gaze, where the body becomes a contested site, its ownership questioned by the repeated invasion of medical procedures. As an invisible chronic illness, diabetic lifestyle is positioned in relation to issues of control, transformation, and the abnormal normal. Translating the Gothic trope of the outsider into medical and social realms, the diabetic body is seen as the Othered body ceaselessly striving to attain perfection through blood purification rituals. This essay examines how diabetes is portrayed in film and fine art practice from the filmic approach to diabetes as dramatic trope to fine art techniques that parallel ethnographic and sociological approaches to chronic illness.
looking on that the catastrophe has been
contained . It is a kind of quarantine effect, whereby what frightens observers
is the idea of uncontrolled, ongoing, unpredictable suffering. Humanitarians arrive to create a
moment of ‘new normal’ where the flow has been stemmed, the hole plugged. The
Ebola response is an example of this – the vast cost in life and suffering and the
everyday life experiences of West Africans in the communities affected are all but invisible now
because the breach was contained. What normal does is obscure and disguise