Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Electronic Columbaria

Apologies for using a title that draws on an etymology of pigeonholes for such a serious topic as how we mourn the dead of war. But I'd like to spend a few electronic kilobytes comparing Faces of the Dead from The New York Times and Faces of the Fallen from The Washington Post. Both could be seen as examples of what Lev Manovich calls "information aesthetics," in which the legacy of modernism plays a role.

As traditional newspapers try to compete with online news sources, they use so-called "interactive" features as one of the ways to appeal to the digital readership. Of course, some of these images are being repurposed in artworks. There was considerable discussion about whether the images for "War President" came from The Washington Post, and the grid image of the soldier's face made up of boxes representing other soldier's faces in The New York Times suggests this photomosaic aesthetic.

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