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Sharing is believing: How Syrian digital propaganda images become re-inscribed as heroes

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Our article will take the reader on a tour through collected observations based on digital images, created both by the Syrian Al-Assad regime and anti-regime groups. The pool of digital images on which our observations and deductions are based, are scraped from social media such as Facebook and YouTube. We do not claim to have an entirely representative nor objective collection, but perceive the selected images as being valuable to understand and decode the current political situation since the Syrian uprising started in early 2011.

We trace the development and strategies connected to online image production and distribution. What began in 2011 as a euphoric and celebratory use of online images by anti-government protestors, soon became a web of propaganda. On opposing sides of the battle skilled Photoshoppers and hackers join forces in a virtual battle of images and data. Manipulated images, strategic false campaigns, identities and rumours became the norm. We contemplate the lack of identity of the Syrian opposition, as a result of vague and splintered fighters, activists and disappointing leaders. We speculate around the ways that historic images of leaders and childhood characters are re-inscribed to claim an important place online, where leaders and heroes are missing.
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Keywords: Syria; creative dissidence; digital images; fictional characters; heroism; image manipulation; leadership; popular cartoons; propaganda; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Foundland, the Netherlands

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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  • Technoetic Arts focuses upon the juncture between art, technology and the mind. Divisions between academic areas of study, once rigidly fixed, are gradually dissolving due to developments in science and cultural practice. This fusion has had a dramatic effect upon the scope of various disciplines. In particular, the profile of art has radically evolved in our present technological culture
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