Dibagan and the audio assault.

Brian Kim Stefans’ Dibagan recounts the story of a reporter and his cameraman who were caught in an RPG attack against a foreign troop convoy in Iraq.

Stefans includes five bars at the bottom of the screen which consistently change color between green and red. Directly above these bars lie a jumble of words (“consuming, culminates, stumbling, curdles, fisheye,” etc…) which can be rearranged by moving up and down the screen after hovering over the bars. When the cursor is placed over one of these flashing bars, they begin to rise—to escalate—and only begin to fall when the cursor is removed. The word sits at the highest point the bar reached before it begins to return to the bottom of the screen.

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  The audio from the reporter’s story plays over a sequence of blurry, out-of-focus pictures from the attack which includes a drop of blood running down the lens of the camera. It provides a level of depth to this narrative which pictures and words could not convey. The sounds of soldiers shouting and the warbled sounds of emergency alarms fill the empty spaces between shots captured on camera.

This audio plays on a loop which allows the reader to immerse themselves in a short scene for a long period of time: a similar sentiment to those who experience these situations first-hand might feel. Words which begin to appear later in the exploration of the text (“blood, scream, death,” etc…) trap the reader in a sense of helplessness and cyclical doom.

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Projects such as these and reporters’ stories help bring the cost of war back home; to the people who are farthest removed from the conflict. This is important not only for posterity’s sake, but also to realize the personal cost each world conflict has.

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