Katherine Butcher


Soft Imperial Eyes

Video work installation
Trondheim kunstmuseum.
Cultural educational materials equip soldiers with speech that commands, warns and instructs: helpful words, phrases and questions to negotiate interactions, or interrogations, seek locations or conduct mine warfare. These phrases are what Martin Joos calls `formal and frozen registers` (1948) and observed by  Theodor Adorno (1981) as those verbal expressions that are pre-filtered, mediated by consciousness, by wider social structures and by language itself.

The special formal and frozen registers of the linguistic handbooks stand-in for the military body  revealling a way of seeing, and using cultural understanding of the other to control - through violence.

Exhibition photos by Lili Zaneta (2019)