2008. Anno Dijstra. PROPOSAL NR. 19 + GIFT (published text)

Obliged seeing

A witness of the famine in Ethiopia in 1984, 14 years old, I was watching television at home.

A memory of a scene seen on television. An image with which I am not directly related to, immaterial, elusive, without a location, floating through the air. I can’t go back to the place where the drama happened. The television in my living room is the location where it happened, but the television shows already other images and there is nothing in my living room that refers to the drama.

How free is watching without engaging? In other words, can a witness become guilty because of what he sees?


For Madrid Abierto I want to research a new angle of the reconstruction/proposal by investigating misplacement. The misplacement caused by the media. In this context, a well known media icon is moved outside his original context, from the television/internet of our living room to the public space. From the flat public space (tv) to the three-dimensional public space. By the conflict erasing from the misplacement, (I know this image, but what has it to do with this place?) the new situation reveals the viewer’s absurd position, the absurd situation of being witness in the global media age.