Fog of War
VR can fully swallow its viewer, which is why the medium was notably named the “empathy machine” by Chris Milk in 2015. In The Fog of War Anna Manankina takes its viewer to experience the terrors of war in Kharkiv, Ukraine. As the story unfolds, always keeping the viewers at the centre of this small universe, they inevitably maximally imbue in the surroundings.
The looped narrative displays sensitive content; the graphic imagery influences the viewers’ sense of self and perception of the surrounding reality. The video materials for this work were recorded by family members of the artist, who are still based in the city, despite the invasion. The VR experience doesn’t seek to copy reality, it rather embodies a memory of Kharkiv, documenting its present landscape mutilated with war wounds. The experience of following the destruction of one’s own home from a distance in a mediated way, through photos and videos, led to a split perception of reality: to a fog of war.
Anna Manankina based this work on her own experience: she left her hometown and found refuge as an artist-in-resident at the ZKM | Karlsruhe, where she could dedicate her time to developing this and other reflections on the current historical events in Ukraine.