|Allan Hughes: Enemy Blue, 2012, installation shot; courtesy the artist|
A three-screen video installation conflates several stories: Edward Hunter’s Analysis of Jane Fonda Activities in North Vietnam – a Committee report to the United States House of Representatives – Misleading information from the battlefield: the Tillman and Lynch episodes,and Gerhard Richter reading notes on political ideology. To the purposefully graded video segments Enemy Blue, Chromatic Aberration, Geisterbilder and Blue on Blue, Allan Hughes added found footage of Pat Tillman as a player for the NFL Arizona Cardinals. A part of ongoing research into the failure of video images to escape false authenticity, the installation presents both their power to define authenticity, and the easy compliance of the viewers to accept what is seen as truth. Recently (6 September), I read a comment by Michael Daley, cited in a blog by J H Dobrzynski, which echoes that concern: “What interests people today has less to do with authenticity – and more with experience of being a part of the crowd.” As an example of mass psychology, this need for sameness brings its long history to bear; however, perceived under the contemporaneous constellation of conditions, today, it threatens individual freedom in democracies as strongly as during the wars and under openly oppressive regimes.