friendly fIRe

a video composition

One day in the Spring of 1991, immediately following the first Gulf War, I received two UPS ‘overnight’ packaged U-Matic video cassettes, from the Pentagon, from which I had previously requested benign (no explosions or warfare) desert landscape IR documentation. The tapes were raw footage of the Forward Looking Infrared nightvision video from Apache helicopters and Abrams tanks, accompanied by recorded voice and digital communications between command center, tanks, aerial combat and reconnaissance personnel.

The tapes documented three incidents of “friendly fire” during the just ended conflict. The optics on the FLIRs allowed for extreme telephoto viewing of scenes and targets at over 6000 meter distances, with remotely discernable 'hot spots'. In dark, grainy, noisy, boring detail, they present the thoughtless inhumanity of the new virtual battlefield “Information Wars”.

“friendly fIRe” is an 18 minute video composition that includes an unedited Gulf War sequence leading to the killing of “friendlies”. The composition opens and closes with my own original FLIR (military system loan) video of a desert landscape, an eye and a reclining nude figure. The audio track has the actual incident voice communications, with excerpts from my digital speech compositions “IR”, and “Persian Love Song”, co-created with Utah composer, Philip Bimstein.