Description: HD video, colour with stereo sound, 33 mins.
Material Witness is documentary that explores two massacre videos that were shot during the final days of ethnic conflict: a camcorder video produced in Izbica Kosovo in 1999 by Liri Loshi and the other, an anonymous execution video, captured by mobile phone in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. In the case of the former the tape has entered into the legal proceedings of the ICTY where it functioned to provide evidence of war crimes, whereas the Sri Lankan video has only circulated within the courts of public opinion despite two UN enquiries as to it authenticity.
The documentary begins with a rumination asking: What does it mean to stand in the place of death knowing that violent things happened in that very location but seeing apparently nothing? Over the course of the video, the landscape itself becomes a mnemonic device for revealing traces of these histories. The project is guided by Walter Benjamin's injunction that we need to be able to develop new ways of seeing and new modes of perception for looking into the "depths of historical shadows".