Riddles of form. Exploration & Discovery in Word & Image
IAWIS/AIERTI international conference at the University of Dundee (Scotland), August 11-15, 2014.
More information is available at the website: http://www.scottishwordimage.org/conferences/iawis2014
Session 20. Travel, Technology and War: Word and Image/Engagement and Denial
Organiser: Janet T. Marquardt (Eastern Illinois University, USA)
Responding to the centennial of the ‘Great War’ commencing this year, this session solicits papers on the letters, journals, sketches and photographs that form travel observations during times of war. From the powerful appearance of military technology that drives war to the quiet byways where tourists can pretend no conflict is occurring, personal narratives and visual documentation describe scenes both at odds with the realities of political conflict and only too vibrantly conveying the horrors of destruction. In fact, much of the technology that makes war possible also drives tourism-planes and trains, bridges, cameras and binoculars, printed media, trucks transporting food and supplies, and so forth. As spectators, some travelers seek to visit hotspots and record the science of war while others avoid areas of danger, preferring to employ their immunity as citizens of neutral countries in order to explore the underlying culture. All of their narratives and images are valid documentation of the times.
How have different individuals’ travel experiences and depictions shaped our understanding of the technology of war? How did imaginative and documentary observations during wartime travel drive literary and visual expression, political convictions, or technological inventions? This session will explore the elements of exploration and discovery in travelers’ written and visual accounts of their tours across countries while at war and how those vivid images portray the contemporary use of technology to simultaneously drive both tourism and destruction.