Shop > Monographs


Material Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence

Susan Schuppli
MIT Press
17.8 × 22.9 cm
392 pp

The evidential role of matter—when media records trace evidence of violence—explored through a series of cases drawn from Kosovo, Japan, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

In this book, Susan Schuppli introduces a new operative concept: material witness, an exploration of the evidential role of matter as both registering external events and exposing the practices and procedures that enable matter to bear witness. Organized in the format of a trial, Material Witness moves through a series of cases that provide insight into the ways in which materials become contested agents of dispute around which stake holders gather.

These cases include an extraordinary videotape documenting the massacre at Izbica, Kosovo, used as war crimes evidence against Slobodan Milošević; the telephonic transmission of an iconic photograph of a South Vietnamese girl fleeing an accidental napalm attack; radioactive contamination discovered in Canada’s coastal waters five years after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi; and the ecological media or “disaster film” produced by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Each highlights the degree to which a rearrangement of matter exposes the contingency of witnessing, raising questions about what can be known in relationship to that which is seen or sensed, about who or what is able to bestow meaning onto things, and about whose stories will be heeded or dismissed.

An artist-researcher, Schuppli offers an analysis that merges her creative sensibility with a forensic imagination rich in technical detail. Her goal is to relink the material world and its affordances with the aesthetic, the juridical, and the political.

  1. Mailterial Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence

Related Items

  1. Susan Schuppli: Domicile
  2. Susan Schuppli and Kathryn Walter : World in a City
  3. Jean Arnaud, Hubert Damisch, Thierry de Duve, Andrée Hayum, Annette Michelson, Michael Snow, Amy Taubin, Malcolm Turvey, and Kenneth White: October Files: Michael Snow
  4. October 148
  5. Claire Doherty: Situation
  6. Dan Byrne-Smith: Science Fiction
  7. Sven Spieker: Destruction
  8. Gwen Allen: The Magazine
  9. Sarah Cook: Information
  10. October Files: Carrie Mae Weems
  11. Jamie Sutcliffe: Magic
  12. David Campany: The Cinematic
  13. Sophie J. Williamson: Translation
  14. Simon Morley: The Sublime
  15. Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz: Health
  16. Garry Neill Kennedy: The Last Art College
  17. Myvillages: The Rural
  18. Marcus Boon and Gabriel Levine: Practice
  19. Friederike Sigler: Work
  20. Tom McDonough: Boredom
  21. Filipa Ramos: Animals
  22. Natasha Degen: The Market
  23. André Lepecki: Dance
  24. Jens Hoffmann: The Studio
  25. Richard Noble: Utopias
  26. Alex Coles: Design and Art
  27. Claire Bishop: Participation
  28. October Magazine Issue 151
  29. October Magazine
  30. October Magazine Issue 153
  31. October Magazine Issue 149
  32. October 145: Summer 2013
  33. OCTOBER 146 - Fall 2013
  34. OCTOBER 146 - Winter 2014
  35. Jean Gagnon: Pornography in the Urban World
  36. Nina Valerie Kolowratnik: The Language of Secret Proof
  37. Les Levine: Transmedia, 1964 to 1974
  38. Walter Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  39. Nick Aikens and Elizabeth Robles: The Place is Here
  40. Mary Kavanagh - Daughters of Uranium