Thursday, August 21, 2008

Now You See It . . . Now You Don't . . . Now You Do Again

A recent Public Radio International story about the destruction and rebuilding of Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka, a Serbian stronghold in Bosnia that was known for its de facto ethnic cleansing when civil rights protections for Muslim inhabitants were withheld, featured the importance of certain kinds of software applications.

In "Rebuilding a Bosnian mosque" reporters describe how after the mosque was obliterated from the urban landscape of the city by Serbian wrecking crews with orders to disperse and hide the pieces, images of the old mosque in historical photographs were also "airbrushed out." Although it is not clear that Photoshop was used to alter the photographs in this official exhibition, one political critic has created a Photoshopped composition that shows the mosque rebuilt where the twin towers in New York were destroyed.

Digital technologies have also played a role in rebuilding the mosque as recovered fragments of the stone are cataloged in a database and then virtually positioned in a software program, much like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle. See the website for the project here.

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