Digital Witnessing Reflection

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my research into the area of Digital Witnessing. In searching for documentation and resources on this topic, I have realised that it is quite a new and niche field of research, especially concerning art as a conduit for Digital Witnessing. I had always set out to do a field study, and was able to conduct extremely insightful, interesting and propelling interviews with Lynette Wallworth (Collisions VR), Nishat Awan (Sheffield University), Francisco Gallardo and Audrey Samson (FRAUD), and Simon Rowat (Forensic Architecture). As always, Feminist TechnoScience has been my primary method of inquiry, however all of the works I looked at also touch on Archival theory, with post-Colonial narratives and geopolitical privilege in mind.

The interviews that I conducted had a really profound effect on me, and I was surprised to find that voices, even within the “political art” context, can differ significantly when it comes to discussions about Digital Witnessing and whether there can be positive change as a result of artistic works. A particular impression was made on me in speaking to Lynette Wallworth, as I am such an admirer of her work, attitude, understanding and respect in creating moving and significant immersive art. Most importantly, however, is the thought and energy she exerts to create effective communication and change by knowing exactly who her audience is and seeking them out.

Through conducting interviews and reflecting on what I was hoping to achieve, I decided that I would like to create and include some audio about my research journey. This allowed me to approach the project in an artistic and meditative way, which I found immensely rewarding, and I now have a record of the most profound words that have been imparted in the process.

I never intended to come to any conclusions about Digital Witnessing, rather I was exploring its entanglement with political issues, and my research has only emphasised how complex and potentially problematic the act of Digital Witnessing is. And yet, the power of technology has also been used as a tool to create educational resources, awareness, change and helped to forge new narratives, disseminating voices of people who have historically been unable to speak.