La politique visuelle du terrorisme

NEW YORK – L’artiste britannique Damien Hirst a décrit l’attentat de 2001 contre les tours du World Trade Center à New York comme «  une sorte d’œuvre d’art en soi. C’était un acte malveillant, mais conçu ainsi pour l’impact qu’il aurait, un impact visuel ». Aujourd’hui, 13 ans plus tard, les gouvernements occidentaux, s’ils peuvent décrire en termes stratégiques la menace que fait peser l’État islamique (EI) sur le Moyen-Orient, éprouvent toujours des difficultés à composer avec sa tactique d’agression visuelle dans les médias mondiaux.

Comme avant lui Osama ben Laden et Al Qaïda, l’État islamique semble bien conscient de l’effet que peuvent avoir des images macabres et violentes sur l’imaginaire de l’opinion publique. L’ironie de cette tactique est bien évidemment que l’exploitation par l’EI de ces images de violence obscène contredit sa propre condamnation de toute stimulation visuelle dans les autres domaines de la vie. En fait, leurs vidéos poussent à l’extrême la sollicitation sensorielle. Comme un algorithme destiné à pénétrer le réseau numérique d’un adversaire, les vidéos soigneusement mises en scène de la décapitation de journalistes et de travailleurs humanitaires britanniques et américains par l’EI ont pénétré la psyché occidentale.

Cette psyché est depuis longtemps préparée à absorber des images choquantes. La propension actuelle des médias informatiques à la violence crue sert maintenant les objectifs de l’État islamique.

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