Editor’s Letter: The Conflict Issue
Sara Andersdotter is the Editor of Corrupted Files, and Associate Senior Lecturer in Contextual Studies at Ravensbourne
This second issue of Corrupted Files journal of research focuses on concepts of – and angles on – conflict. Intriguingly, the term conflict can refer to a range of ideas, and be part of numerous, disparate contexts, from the physical to the metaphysical. This issue visually and textually presents some of those varied ideas and contexts.
Perhaps it is not odd that conflict may initially bring to mind notions of war and warfare, battle, armed attack, fight and combat. After all, we have used this term since the 15th Century to describe an ‘armed encounter’, ‘battle’, or ‘struggle’ (Harper 2016). By looking at the Latin root of the verb to conflict, one may glimpse a greater importance of the term; ‘to strike together’ (ibid.). A collision. Two, or more, different forces, ideas, beliefs, perceptions – or armies – striking together. With the emergence of the field of psychology in the 19th Century, we see references to not just physical battles, but mental struggle; conflict as ‘incompatible urges in one person’ (The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, n.d.). In fields of philosophy, conflict can be seen as at the heart of considerations of moral predicaments, resulting in discussions on conflicting obligations vs. conflicting promises.
Conflict has thus come to define an array of clashes; from those between countries and allegiances, to those between ideologies, schools of thought, and rival political, religious or philosophical views. Though the word conflict may find itself outside of direct contexts of war and combat, many of its uses allude to related feelings of animosity, rivalry, antagonism, hostility, contention, disagreement or friction. However, conflict may here not merely refer its negative connotations of bloodshed, hatred, carnage, havoc. Conflict could also be understood as the space that is formed by difference in thought, approaches, ethics, systems, feelings and beliefs, and that which forces new ideas to emerge.
This issue of Corrupted Files introduces a variety of angles on, or interpretations of, conflict. Sometimes the texts or the visuals contain the conflict itself, at other times, the conflict is in the reader, or the viewer. We see conflicts between representation and reality in Nehir Glean’s (BA Hons Digital Film Production) dissertation of the depiction of Regency Britain in British period dramas, while BA (Hons.) Digital Film Production graduate Johnny Birkbeck’s first year essay reflects on conflicts of acceptability of homosexual characters in mainstream cinema. Conflict in relation to the reading of culture, religion and gender is at the heart of documentary photographer Abbie Trayler Smith’s photographic series Mothers of Yemen, which is explored from a Fashion angle in first year student Alexia Kwarteng-Amaning’s essay on Dolce & Gabbana’s recent hijab collection. Inspired by 19th Century photographic Cartes-de-Visite portraits, artist and performer Heather Agyepong’s focuses on identity, racism and stereotypes in her photographic project, Too Many Blackamoors. Also included in this issue are paintings by the artist and writer Graham Lang. Born in former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and living in Australia, both Lang’s visual and written works are littered with conflict; conflict of belonging, racism, relationships and sense of place.
In bringing conflict to the familial, BA (Hons) Music for Media Production graduate Lyall Stephens’ Visual Dissertation Where I End You Begin presents a poetic, fictional narrative in the format of a short film on conflicts and relationships between a father and a son. Stills are part of the hardcopy of Corrupted Files, while the full film can be viewed on the online version.
As a publication on conflict, we see this as a space of difference and potential; a space that reflects the differences of and within thought, culture/s and practices. These clashes of conflict, forces ‘striking together’ within oneself or with others, may result in new ways of thinking, new appreciations of the world, new solutions and new creative approaches. Perhaps as a pure concept, conflict is neither negative nor positive, if one considers the term conflict as more of a process, a potentially creative force, as opposed to an outcome, of friction, disagreement or contention.
Bourriaud, N. (2009) Altermodern, London: Tate Publishing. Also available online: http://www.scribd.com/doc/29398878/Bourriaud-Altermodern (Accessed: 27 March 2011)
Bourriaud, N. (2002) Postproduction – Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World, New York: Lukas and Sternberg.
Deleuze, G. (1968/2004) Difference and Repetition, London: Continuum.
Dougherty, J. P. (2000) Western Creed, Western Identity: Essays in Legal and Social Philosophy, Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press
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Ryan-Lopez, B. (2009) Corruption and Infected Sin: the Elizabethan Rhetoric of Decay. Proquest, Umi Dissertation Publishing
Yue, A. R. and Peter, L. (2015) Corruption as co-created rupture: A definitional etymological approach. Ephemera Journal [Online]. Pp. 445-452. Available: http://www.ephemerajournal.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/contribution/15-2yuepeters.pdf
Illustration: from a publication of illustrations of monsters by Ulissi Aldrovandi (Aldrovadus) (1522-1605)