Clément Cogitore
Digital Desert #2, 2015

  • C-Print, Glas Diasec, Signed and numbered 2/5 on a label on the reverse
  • 121 x 172 x 4 cm
  • Acquired in 2017
The photographs of the Digital Desert series, like Clément Cogitores award winning movie The Wakhan Front [Ni le ciel ni la terre], focus on military surveillance techniques and establish the paranoid observing eye as a metaphor for the psychological state of war. The movie The Wakhan Front shows torn-open eyes staring into the darkness, a highly technological blindness, while the enemy remains a phantom and yet one soldier perpetually disappears after another. It’s scenes like these with which Cogitore designs a contemporary anti-war epic. The parallel series Digital Desert is a photographic search for traces of war, we see almost abstract-looking shots of rust-red earth and the staged remains of uniforms of fallen soldiers. Individual death and collective military goals abruptly confront each other. The images pose questions about the motivations, the political and psychological mechanisms that produce these human voids. Like anonymous, abstract devotional images, the partly pixelated photographs of the eleven-part series form a digital archeology of those who fell in the Afghanistan war. The name of the series refers to the American “Digital Desert Camo Uniform”. Introduced in 2001, the Digital Desert camo is a digital camouflage type which replaced the classic 3-Color Desert pattern and is used within the United States Marine Corps. Based on the idea behind the Canadian CADPAT camo, it consists of small rectangular pixels of color which in theory makes this camouflage far more effective than standard uniform patterns. Because it mimics the dappled textures and rough boundaries found in the natural desert and arid settings it works well in most of the dry desert and arid Environments.

Clément Cogitore

* 1983 Colmar, F
Lives and works in Paris and Berlin, F and D

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