The war in Ukraine, which has been going on since February 24th, 2022, is the first armed conflict which has been mediated on such a large scale by social media: from now on, we can watch footage of warfare, accounts of civilians, evidence of crimes, aid actions, propaganda messages, etc., not only through established journalistic outlets, such as The Guardian or OKO.Press, but above all on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and Tik-Tok, literally live and first-hand – by people experiencing the Russian invasion. However, even this “live” way of experiencing current events has a history: its origins are to be found in the democratization and spread of digital technologies at the dawn of the new millennium. Self-documentations of protesters published on YouTube played an important role during the clashes accompanying the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001, but most of all they accompanied the events of the Arab Spring (2010-2012) and the civil war in Syria (since 2011).
Social pictures represent a paradigm shift in the visualization of conflict – they abandon the ethos of objective information in favor of sharing personal experience, while exposing both paradigms as conventions. The price of the “authenticity” of social media is not only the ephemeral, fleeting nature of these images and their overwhelming numbers, but also the blurring of the line between “news” and “fake”.
The Feed of War project began to emerge spontaneously in the first days of the war in Ukraine, initially with the intention of archiving – preserving these temporary images and trying to organize them; searching for recurring motifs, narrative and other patterns. This quickly proved to be an impossible task and one that, as occurred to us, was fundamentally less valuable than subjecting these vast collections to diverse analytical strategies by the participants of the project. In this way, a series of works or gestures problematizing the phenomenon of the social mediation of the ongoing war was created.
The project is an effect of the work of 4th year students of the photography curriculum at the Łódź Film School within the activities of the studio co-run by Witek Orski and Krzysztof Pijarski. Feed of War includes work by: Maciej Bernaś, Estella Dandyk, Bartosz Fatek, Natalia Godek, Iuliia Iarko, Michalina Kacperak, Wioletta Kulas, Alicja Lesiów, Hanna Nawrot, and Krzysztof Pijarski.