#WatchingTheWar is an installation designed to be photographed and shared online by the public. The photograph of children playing in the rubble of Aleppo was taken recently by Yasmin Al Tellawy. Yasmin has been covering the war in Syria since 2012 alongside running the Truth, Peace & Love Foundation, a humanitarian organisation assisting people in need from Syria.
Traditional forms of journalism are being challenged by the rise of citizen journalists using smartphones and social media platforms to spread information. The war in Syria has been consistently documented on Twitter and Youtube by the people living within. The New York Times runs a page called Watching Syria’s War, which collates footage of the conflict and tries to contextualise it in order to ‘track the human toll.’ Rather than leaving journalists out of a job this shift appears to have created a new role: collecting, curating and analysing the huge amount of news now available. In his book Bending the Frame, Fred Ritchin terms this metaphotography.
Art galleries are full of people instagramming contemporary paintings or posing next to classic sculptures. I am intrigued to see how this snap happy crowd will choose to document the scene of destruction from Aleppo. Will they even pose with it for a #SyriaSelfie in the style of crass poverty tourism? -We’ll have to wait and see.