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Of Ziploc Bags and Black Holes: The Aesthetics of Transparency in the War on Terror

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This essay examines the technological, media, and mediation shifts that are taking place in what has become generally referred to the "war on terror" contemporary moment. Through a careful and detailed analysis of the visual manifestation of this discourse in U.S. border security procedures and mainstream media coverage of the "war on terror," the essay contributes to a growing series of commentaries that question the contemporary aesthetic effect of this political and cultural discourse. The essay provides a comparative analysis of Computer generated imagery in surveillance and border technologies, on the one hand, and in CNN's coverage of Saddam Hussein's capture, on the other. The author argues that through the language and aesthetics of transparency, human embodiment is being challenged and that there is a significant political cost to the ways by which human subjectivity is being experienced and understood.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication Studies, Louisiana State University,

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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