5.21.2008

Eye Contact: Errol Morris on Abu Ghraib and the Interrotron

Watching Errol Morris' new documentary, "Standard Operating Procedure," I was reminded of a Jean Baudrillard quote I'd jotted in a notebook years ago: "Perhaps our eyes are merely a blank film which is taken from us after our deaths to be developed elsewhere and screened as our life story in some infernal cinema or despatched as microfilm into the sidereal void."

The film, like all of Morris' recent works, was made using his patented interviewing tool, The Interrotron, a device that puts a video image of Morris where the camera lens should be. It makes interviewees more comfortable and gives movie-theater audiences direct eye contact with them. Given what some of the Abu Ghraib guards have seen with those eyes -- often as perpetrators of horrible acts -- this contact can be unnerving, and I found an odd disconnect: the intimacy of eye contact is in such stark contrast to the distance I felt seeing those bizarre photographs. Here's what Morris had to say when I asked him about the use of the device in the specific case of Abu Ghraib:


Listen to the official Morris interview here.

Pictured: Spec. Sabrina Harman, featured in Standard Operating Procedure

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