Art as resistance against political violence
The Observer - Part 1 of Bottled Songs
The Observer - Part 1 of Bottled Songs

Bottled Songs Part 1: The Observer

We don’t only look at videos but research the way videos are circulated within the online environment. How they are shared, reshared, repurposed, commented upon and how their meaning changes. (Chloé Galibert-Laîné)

The Observer is the first part of Bottled Songs. 

Bottled Songs is an ongoing media project depicting strategies for making sense of online terrorist propaganda. Filmmakers and media researchers Chloé Galibert-Laîné and Kevin B. Lee compose letters addressed to each other, narrating their encounters with videos originating from the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS). They use a desktop documentary approach to trace and record their investigations playing directly upon their computer screens. 

In The Observer, Chloé finds a phone video showing hundreds of ISIS captives running through a desert. She is puzzled that the video is posted on YouTube by Les Observateurs, a French state-funded news channel as a work of “citizen journalism”. While the video has been removed from many other channels, the French news channel’s legitimacy allows the video to remain online and spread terror over several years. Further investigation uncovers multiple variants of the footage on countless other sites, leading her to despair.  



Someone once told me

cinema was the gift of being able to see 

through someone else's eyes

to see what they see

to dream what they dream

what dream am I in now


Dear Chloé,

In your last letter, you asked if I should think less about how these images were created, and look more at what I have created myself: an editing timeline for making jihadist propaganda.

You asked how I feel about this creation of mine.

I could reply sheepishly, there's still so much about these images I don't know how to create. 


I remember a quote by Paul Virilio "What shall we dream of when everything is visible? We'll dream of being blind."

Then, what shall we dream of when we can bring anything to life?


Chloé Galibert-Laîné & Kevin B. Lee

Chloé Galibert-Laîné & Kevin B. Lee