Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last dying image of Basil al Sayid


If art means something, it means truth. But truth -even in its most non-hyperbolic manner- shows itself as it performs. The video above documents the last seconds of Basil al Sayid, an activist journalist of the city of Homs, as he films his own death. He had recorded dozens of videos of the daily civilian slaughter by Assad's Syrian militias. This time Al Sayid ran out of luck and wаѕ shot іn thе head.

In the video we don't get to see his face. Life can only hold up the image for a few seconds: it gives us a point of view from the floor into Al Sayid's arm and gray jacket. Then, as people scream, the image goes black. A  pure slice of reality can be quite brief.

If this is not art, what is it?

Al Sayid's death captured on video, settles a lingering question in Rainer Maria Rilke's Ninth Elegy, the idea that in a world of fading, crumbling reality, images becomes invalid:

Speak and bear testimony. 
More than ever
the things that fall away, the things that can be experienced, for
what replaces them, displacing them, is an act without image.*

Al Sayid's interrupted, unforeseen last image bears testimony to truth. 
*Translation, introduction, and commentary by J. B. Leishman and Stephen Spender ( New York, Norton, 1963).


Anonymous said...

So moving. Thanks for posting.


dnavid said...


Feminista said...

I agree with you, Triff. There is not much to see but it hurts.
Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Very very sad.