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New Read: Animating Torture


In my new gig as a blogger for the International Observatory of Human Rights, I talk about the ways journalists, human rights workers, and humanitarians are turning to animation to present graphic subjects. 

Here’s a preview:

When telling stories of violence for mass audiences, we cannot always rely on text or audio to make an impression. If our goal is to build empathy and understanding between the viewer and the victims, visuals can help us achieve that. But when the subject we want to draw attention to is so potentially disturbing, how can we engage with eyes without causing further harm?

Increasingly for human rights organisations and news media, the answer lies in animation. Moving images and audio based on survivor memory offers everyone a way to witness violence without resorting to voyeurism. Often, these videos will mix documentary footage with the animation, grounding it all firmly in reality.

I have had this story in the works for a while, ever since I saw Just Vision’s new film “Naila And the Uprising”, which features a lot of beautiful animation. But no one who could pay me wanted to publish a review of the film focusing on the aesthetic choices, or at least they didn’t want one from me.

I have just been lucky enough to find IOHR and for them to be open my point of view on human rights activism. So please, enjoy the article and leave questions/comments for me here if you’d like!

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