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Meet Alfredo Jaar, a visual artist concerned with the state of humanity


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Alfredo Jaar is not only a famous artist, but he is also an artist concerned with the state of humanity.

Jaar is worried about the levels of humanity within the modern man, and is concerned that humanity is not only low, but decreasing.

His art has the potential to create alternatives to mass media images, thus becoming a defence mechanism, a last resort, or resistance, in a world in which reality is mediated by the image and the image creates its own reality.

Art can call into question the truth of the screen. Therefore, the focus of Alfredo Jaar's work is in the concept of this 'image'.

Visual immediacy of political events, the politicisation of the image and the uncontrolled spread of speed and circulation of images has stimulated contemporary art to engage in an analysis of the status of the image, and also the related concepts of representation and perception.

Susan Sontag wrote about the mechanism of perception trauma in her classic text. She recognised that the subsequent scenes, through constant repetition of events depicted in the picture, make the viewer become less realistic.

Jaar's work poses questions about the possibilities and limitations of art as a medium for communicating the truth about the suffering of others. It is also a commentary on the relationship of aesthetics and ethical considerations, focusing on the problem of representation and problematising the apparent conflict between the aesthetic and non-aesthetic function of art.

On his work, Jaar says: “My imagination starts to work, when I start to investigate, based on an event from real life, mainly the tragedy, which analyse; I start to spin some thoughts ... it is this event from real life trying to answer?"

For the "Sound of Silence" this "event from real life" is directly inspired by the true story of Kevin Carter, a photographer from South Africa and a member of the famous brotherhood "Bang-Bang", which won a Pulitzer Prize for one of the most shocking and controversial images in the history of photography press, depicting famine in Africa.

Shortly after receiving this, the prestigious award photographer committed suicide. His story became the starting point for Jaar, who created, as he calls it, "a theatre built for one image."

In a specially built theatre for installation of spectacular scenery, we see the eight-minute long film, whose narrative and structure raises questions of power and politics of the image.

At the same time, however, the movie produces intense visual experience, forcing the viewer to a deeper reflection on human responses to the suffering of others, responsibility eyewitnesses of events and properties of images that serve as a witness in the media.

"The Sound of Silence" is a moving elegy, a powerful witness led by Alfredo Jaar's long-term analysis of the political niesprawiedliowości and limitations that are associated with portraying through imagery through presentations of human misery.

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