The Bottled Songs of Lost Children*
An audiovisual exploration of terrorism in the age of social media
Chloé Galibert-Laîné & Kevin B. Lee
The Bottled Songs of Lost Children (working title) is a multi-platform investigation of desire, power and terrorism in online and social media. The work consists of a series of video “messages in bottles” exchanged between two researchers, investigating various figures encountered in the course of their explorations: a deceased ISIS social media star and his grieving sister; an award-winning producer of Russian drone videos of the Syrian War; a Moroccan-French immigrant who went to jail for repeatedly accessing online scholarly sources about islamist terrorism; a British journalist who becomes an unlikely spokesperson for the Islamic State..
The video letters, recorded from the researchers’ desktops, combine and recombine to form multiple narrative pathways and surprising intersections, revealing larger technological, economic and ideological networks through which desires circulate. They function within multiple forms: a feature length film, a multi-part episodic series, a ten-channel installation, and audiovisual performance lectures. These multiple manifestations of the work account for the volatile and mutational nature of contemporary terrorism across medias: a network of intersubjective desires perpetually (mis)perceived, (mis)understood, commented, shared, re-purposed and re-contextualized. The videos alternately depict and interrogate their subjects’ compulsive engagement in the production of everyday myths and fictions about themselves and others. How do personal truths impose their will upon the realm of facts to craft images of reality? How has the utopian promises of the social media age given way to nightmares? How might those promises be retrieved?
The Bottled Songs of Lost Children was conceived with the support of the Harun Farocki Institut, sponsored by the Goethe Institut.