Safe Distance

Safe distance
Video black & white & blue
Duration: 21 min.
Form: Sony Video 8 VHS
Production: US AIR Force
Postproduction:, New Media Center, Novi Sad
Year of production: 2002

Safe distance is a video that was recorded during NATO air strikes against FR Yugoslavia. The videotape shows the electronic cockpit of an US AIR Force plane. There were 4 airplanes flying from a NATO-base from Italy to destinations in Yugoslavia. Their mission objective was to bomb several targets in the area around city of Novi Sad. On the way back, after mission was completed, a plane was shot down. A tape (Sony video 8) was found near the crashed plane in Fruska Gora mountain in Srem region. It shows the electronic cockpit with basic graphical interface and voice communication between pilots. The videotape is a regular document of flight used by command structures to analyze its efficiency and success after very mission. The tape presents these last moments before plain was crashed...

The interface of this cockpit is completely reduced, cold, black & white. Cold electronic display is a pixilated presentation of outside reality with basic position information (longitude & latitude). The first impression of video is that this is an excerpt from flight simulator, since we have learned to regard similar graphical interfaces as something that is basically virtual representation. Comparing to contemporary popular simulation games cockpit of airplane looks as an obsolete seventies style games.

The main promise in today's warfare is the institution of safe war; a war without casualties, and the whole campaign against FR Yugoslavia was based on that premise that this is not actually a war, but just a humanitarian intervention with some collateral damage. Intervention against FR Yugoslavia is the first war in history that is won with exclusively air strikes without ground troops involvement. This video provokes the myth of non-lethal military campaigns, a myth that was (and still is!) constantly fabricated in collective imaginatorium of allied countries.

The fact that multinational corporation Sony produces tape, used by US AIR Force, shows the transnational nature in today's global warfare. This symbolical point, Sony tape in US AIR Force plane, unfolds US - Japanese capitalistic axis (Sony has built its empire thanks to strong business relations with post WWII occupation forces). Also, there is an explicit example of global standardization, it's like coke - paradigm. Both the american president and the proletarian subject are drinking coke; both home videos and air strikes missions are recorded on Sony super 8.

The graphical interface of cockpit is the only connection that the pilot has with its surroundings; he is isolated from the exterior, from the reality that he produces below. The subject is immersed in a virtual presentation and he is completely dependent on the technological superstructure. After the very impact he is calm and alone, and the only thing that can shows us his personal drama is his breathing.

(slightly edited description, original by


March 28, 2012