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Art is a diverse range of human activity, where feeling and emotions are express through paintings, films and photography. Quite often artists come up with their brilliant ideas for their work of art from experiences that they have had in life or some time, something that they have imagined or dreamed of. “It is often noted that art is not: a metaphysicians say, an aesthetic physiological saying, the manifestation of some mysterious ideas of God or beauty, not a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy, not the production of pleasing artifacts or objects; but it is seen as a means of union among men, through the joining of their identical feeling which are indispensible for the life and progress towards the well being of individuals and of humanity”.

Art in form of images has often been used to show instances of war were people are either fighting or died. In such occasions the artists usually has an intended motive by coming up with particular form of art, either a photograph or film. As one views a photograph or film, he or she is prone to interpret the photograph or film in the manner which the artist intended him or her to see the photograph or film. Hence it is noted that artists usually communicate a particular message through their art work. Quite often artists try to show how human life is lost during war through their paintings. In this, they influence how we depict the issue of war by drawing our attention to the epistemological problem that is usually raised by the issue of war. It is often realized that through war lives of many people are usually lost or injured and in this, draws the fact that war is usually a problem that is politically influenced.

Through the art of films, and photographs artists often try to show the appearance of war but they do not unilaterally decide the condition of appearance. Arts usually aim at delimiting the different spheres of appearance of war. In this, the main question that arises is, ‘what is life’.” It is often realized that life itself is usually constituted through selective mean; as a result, we cannot refer to this “being” outside of the operations of power, and therefore one must make more precise the specific mechanisms of power through which life is produced.” Quite often individuals view human life as a product of biology where a woman gives birth to a living child. In this, some individuals ignore the complexity that human life entails and therefore the destruction of it is seen to be a simple aspect.

Through artistic work of art of films and photographs, individuals are usually shown the damage and injury that comes with war. In this, various philosophers like Judith Butler, have been able to look at the deeper aspect of war on factors such as: what causes war, and the effects of war. Such philosophers have been able to see that war is usually a political matter which is caused by the disagreements of some individuals or states. It is noted that in various films, war has been depicted to cause an ending suffering to human life causing loss of not only property but also family and friends. Unlike photographs, films end to show the situation before the war, during the war, and after the war.
Before a war starts people are often seen to live a happy normal life but during the war the happiness and joy tend to be taken away from their faces by the war. Quite often cities and town that have experienced the effect of war tend to experience a change in both appearance and behavior of people. People living in areas that have experienced the effect of war tend to live a life full of fear and despair; artists have often shown this through different photographs and paintings (Judith, 2014).

Through Judith Butler one is able to explore how the U.S related wars have been able to bring out a differentiation between the lives that are recognized to be grievable and those that are not. Judith Butler has also been able to argue that the process of differential grieving is usually instituted through the various forms of media such as films, hence becoming part of the waging of war (Judith, 2014). Work of art through photography and films tend to lay a major part in the society, in that they tend to act as a reminder to certain situations and instances, especially of war. Quite often, photography and painting tend to act as the mirrors of the society where people can reflect on previous situations and instances.

According to Jean Baudrillard the gulf war was not a war but an atrocity that masqueraded in form of a war. Through his argument one is able to see that, in the aspect of war both parties must engage in a ground combat. Thus if one party participate in a combat using its air force while the other is using its ground army, this is not the real essence of war. Photographs and films of war tend to depict a fair play were both parties in the war participate on competitive grounds. In this, one is able to realize that in certain war fairs such as the gulf war (where the U.S air force took part in an unfair war with the Iraqi army) were not proper acts of war and hence the greed for political power is seen. This has made some philosophers like Berkeley, to emphasis on the critical thinking on the issue of war.

Berkeley emphasizes that individuals and student ought to be taught on the issue of war through seminars, postdoctoral fellowships, visiting professors and also in the support for dissertation. This has influenced the common task of many thinkers to think about how the shift in the nature of war can be able to change our ideas of critical theory as an effort to transform and understand social relations that ameliorate and draw the effects of war (Deutsche, 2010).

Through photography both the negative and positive aspects of war are usually portrayed, in this people tend to argue on various issues concerning war and how it tends to influence our lives. Some artists have also gone an extra mile to give their different views and perspectives about war. In this, it has been noted that there are films and photographs that tend to portray the good and also bad side of war. People who come up with these films and photographs tend to try to change our view or opinion about war. It is often realized that when an individual views a certain picture he/she tends to have his or her own interpretation of the picture or image.

Hence any photograph or film that shows or portrays a situation of war the individual that views the image or picture tends to interpret the photograph or film according to the context in which he or she is in. the frame that seeks to contain, convey, and determine what is seen (and sometimes, for a stretch, succeeds in doing precisely that) depends upon the conditions of reproducibility in order to succeed. Yet, this very reproducibility entails a constant breaking from context, a constant delimitation of new context, which mean that the “frame” does not quite constant what it conveys, but breaking apart every time it seeks to give definitive organization to its content. In other words, the frame does not hold anything together in one place, but it becomes a kind of perpetual breakage, subjects to a temporal logical by which it moves from place to place.

As the frame constantly breaks from its context, this self-breaking becomes part of the very definition. This leads us to a different way of understanding both the frame’s efficacy and its vulnerability to reversal, to subversion, even to critical instrumentalization. What is taken for granted in one instance becomes thermatized critically or even incredulously in another. This shifting temporal dimension of the frame constitutes the possible and trajectory of its affect as well. Thus the digital image circulates outside the confines of Abu Gharaib, or the poetry in Guantanamo is recovered by constant

The clear picture of war cannot be fully understood unless it has been represented by art. Art has the aesthetic way to portray everything that affects man’s life. War, for instance, has been represented in works of art, showing the audience its beautiful side in settling conflicts and achieving peace. Fine art is what defines war if at all images and films are concerned. One of the leading aspects to fine art is including all elements of a subject in one piece, and giving a clear image of how it would be in the battlefields. In this case as an artist you have to express clearly and in cut detail how events unfold out in the battlefields. Art has therefore been a representation of the beauty of an artist’s imagination and the process of achieving peace (Deutsche, 2010).

On the other hand, art has disfigured war. This has been as a result of artists targeting to deeply express themselves in their works to the tiniest detail possible. This thirst to express detail is what leads a sculptor to cut deep bruises in his/her model, a painter to paint red on the ground, and a film director to use weapons as props for the film’s characters. After all, an artist’s fineness is defined by his ability to transform reality onto his own work as precisely as possible. War has been revealed to those who have never been to it as brutal, non-accidental, and a poison to peace. War is shown to only cause the sprouting of problems and an accelerator for poverty. Films, photos and paintings have been on the frontline to prove that war is undesirable, and should be avoided at all costs.

We find artists incorporating the ugly sides of war in their final art. This is really informative and impressive considering how much detail can be incorporated in one piece of art. Critics have explored the various ways through which art has disfigured war. Jean Baudrillard was one of the deep critics of war. He claims failing to see the actual political stakes and reasons for the Vietnam war that was there in the 1970s, as well as the significance of the struggles between capitalist and communist blocs. Bloodshed in films, all the wails from women and children and the groans of warriors in the films are some of the ways the film industry portrays war. Sculptors use models carrying firearms while they even sculpt out weapons on their own. Sculptors will also curve out damaged property, statues and monuments to represent symbols of war. Painters are also not left behind in this quest for expression.

Generally, these pictures are disturbing to the human brain. The human brain is quite sensitive in the emphasis of a conducive environment, for optimal performance. A little disturbance to the peace of mind causes instability and in extreme cases even trauma. Some scenes in films for instance are so graphic, such that some people can’t stand watching complete episodes. This is one of the negative effects of art on us humans in the contemporary world.

Creation of these scenes and images is not only about setting up the set or the devising of props. There’s more to it. Artists have to include all events of war, if only to make their piece of art as realistic as possible. We have seen suffering of casualties and civilians in works of art. These ugly scenes of deaths of innocent people, never-healing scars of war and sufferings of families of those deceased during war are probably not the majority’s favorite (Deutsche, 2010).

The art of war has also created the perception of conflict between rivals during war. An artist will use his/her characters in deep conflict enough to spark a war between rivals like would happen in the real world. We have seen fighters anticipate in anger, prepare for vengeance and even use phrases like “Revenge is sweet” in films and in comic drawings. This conflict has apparently been exaggerated to make the artist’s work stand out from the rest.

Massive destruction of property, both private and public, has been exhibited in many art pieces, ranging from the smashing of a car in the streets to taking down a whole city of large buildings.

This destruction of property is a leading factor to poverty, that’s what poverty is about, a lot of damaged property. You see fighter planes taken down and crushing, whole buildings crumble and get reduced t dust. This is normally common in films, where the VGX is superficial. Pictures of crushed airplanes and broken windowpanes or even bullet holes on walls are some of the ways pictorial art has depicted the consequences of war.

War causes deaths, and if one is not a victim, their lives are made harder, by the prevailing trauma which is the aftermath of war. Trauma resulting from the brute of the opponents during war, and watching one’s loved ones die. During war one cant chose to live, and if it’s the opponent who can do that and he has a weapon, then death comes.
If for any reason one survives the fight, and lives, the fact that they ended others’ lives doesn’t live with them.
Giorgio Agamben in his literature says that war is most likely to happen in places without proper security. Poor security is a route for terrorists to penetrate and attack, creating a war. In films we have seen bleached security in countries being among the major reasons for attacks and defeat during wars. He also talks of terror, the state of shock as citizens don’t know what to expect next during attacks. This terror is majorly what well equipped security is supposed to counter.

War has been depicted as a cause for trouble, a death phenomenon, quite the catastrophe and the most undesirable.
War frontlines are taken down first, and it’s the worst spot to be in any battle.

War has been shown by artists to be very expensive, both in terms of time and finances since fire arms have to be paid for as well as soldiers.

Judith Butler says, in criticism, in her book that lives are lost in numbers, and these stories and plots keep on appearing in different works, thus endless and unnecessary repetitions. She also stipulates that if we were to say that a life is precarious we would require that not only the life be apprehended as a life, but also that precariousness is an aspect of what is apprehended in what is living. Art in its attempt to stand out must have forgotten the value of life to both the owner and those close to him, those who are left suffering trying to get over the fact that he is gone.

Butler also expresses her thoughts on art being monotonous on emphasizing on only the loss of human life during wars. She says we neglect the fact that plants and animals are living things too and that they lose life during wars as well. Artists have shown the homeless kids on the streets as a result of their parents dying during war, while they don’t show us the cub left an orphan after its mother dies from a stray gunshot in a fight in the woods.
Art has been quite informative about war, but too much information on the go can be the agent to lack of will power of people to fight for their countries in militia. Sculptures of one legged warriors and even some lacking heads show how brutal war can be. These visualizations in the human mind instill fear in the person, reducing people’s confidence to ever want to join the military or even participate in any conflict solution (Deutsche, 2010).

It becomes evident that the deeper the artist wants to go in explaining how war can be out in the battlefields, the more the audiences perceive the wrong message. An artist wants to feel the self satisfaction of self expression, that good feeling anyone is longing to satisfy every time their works are a reference for outstanding work.

Some of these images are purely imaginative and may be sometimes inaccurate in representing the exact events that unfold during real-time war. Viewers should hold scrutiny before any conclusions about war as depicted by artists.
Art has been used to express thoughts, both imaginative and from reality. War, for instance, there are numerous works of art expressing events that unfold during war. These works exhibit both the negative and positive aspects of war. War has been painted to only consist of negative consequences, but this has been cancelled out by fine art overtime. Art has done a great deal on expounding on how advantageous war can be, in episodes and scenes of films, paintings from painters, and even in statues of heroes and monuments.

Critics, scholars and philosophers as well have explored this positive side of war. Giorgio Agamben for instance expresses his view on how war has improved the standards of living of those left behind. People wouldn’t be waking chest high along sunny beaches or recreational parks if there wasn’t a war prior to, that boosted the economy and improved the financial status of the nation, as well as peace.

Improvement of technology and infrastructure is one of the advantageous aspects of war. Artists have gone an extra mile in showcasing this in the most detailed manner as possible. New technology has always been on the rise every time rivals take to war, with every side targeting on outdoing the opponent team. Sadly, most of the technology we enjoy in the modern day and that about to happen in the near future has come with numerous deaths in the battlefields. The internet and other communication systems were initially designed for soldiers of one team to easily communicate with each other. Parachutes, bullet proof vests and other innovations are inventions due to a result of war. Soldiers at war in any location tend to want to move smoothly and cross rivers, and this leads to the rise of smooth tarmac roads and bridges for more efficient transport.

Jean Baudrillard is another philosopher who thinks that war has its benefits too. He talks about the heroes who spring out during wars in his writing. Art has played a great role to make us embrace his school of thought. War has been shown to lead to the birth of great heroes. The leaders of the winning team take shoulder to shoulder and face to face onto the opposing team, taking their team through to the winning of the battle. These acts of great leadership and taking the team through to victory bear serious heroes, some war lords who can tactically lead a manageable small team to take on a large one (Deutsche, 2010).

Another positive aspect of war is the creation of employment in weaponry manufacture. Sums of workers are recruited in weapon factories to design new machinery and weaponry, while improving existing designs in previous machinery and weaponry. This leads to an entire fraction of a population securing a job and actually earning from it. This is beneficial to any economy, since the goal is to increase everyone’s income as much as possible.

Art depicts war as a source for motivation. Anyone can be on the verge of losing and maybe giving up, but with motivation drawn from great stories of victories of soldiers at war, people work extra harder to achieve their goals and make it in life. Through learning the histories of wars in the past, getting to know sayings by soldiers of the past, motivation of countering day to day activities is drawn. War can also be a motivation in its own if people look forward to go out there in the field and come out alive. They must therefore have a strong will to live. War has thus been an encouragement to live on (Deutsche, 2010).

Art is considered to be beautiful, so is peace, love and unity. Scores of symbols of peace, love and unity have
been put in drawing, logos, monuments and statues after engaging in war. This is one great role of artists in enabling the population to embrace these three keys to harmonious living. Perhaps the greatest achievement war ever gains is Peace. War results from conflicts and lack of peace between people. Deep rivalry and misunderstanding quickly or gradually develops and grows, sparking wars and fights, in an attempt to settle scores between the rivals. Injuries and bloodshed take place, and finally the scores are settled, even after, in some cases, mediation. At this stage the two teams have each had their share attended to, and feel satisfied that they are in peace of mind with both themselves and the other people. This is the state of peace being restored.

Though war has had all the negative traits painted on its face, its occurrence in a location is quite the key to leaving legacy to avoid future war. Time and again we have seen people who have not been into war engage in war, while a nation that has previously been to wall emphasizes on peace keeping in times of conflict that could spark wars. This is because permanent scars left on victims of war act as a reminder of how ugly things can get in a battlefield, thus no one in their right mind sees war as desirable. These scars can be physical, but the most effective ones are those that are psychological. Sometimes the legacy is left on a losing team by the winning team, such that no one desires to engage in war with a team that previously defeated them.

In her writing, Judith Butler thinks that war has played a great role in improving the social status of women, and making them recognised in the society over the years. Art shows war to contribute to the growing greater respect for women. Women have been, overtime, considered as the lesser gender in the human race. But with war, women get to take on responsibilities in families and in society as well. While the men are out there in the battlefields, the women are heading the families, or a social function, which has not been the tradition. This therefore shows that women of our society are equal to the men and deserve the same respect.

Improvement of medical advances is another aspect that rises during war. During war, people get injured and therefore require urgent medical attention, if at all to save lives. Such injuries from gun wounds, hostile environment and maybe from the game of the jungle are what need medical attention, and thus the medical options available have to keep on being improved to make sure they are as efficient as possible. Films directors have used their imaginations in creating fictional wars of the future and showing how medical services improve with every war. Portraits of soldiers at a camp preparing medicine are some of the ways art has shed light on the issue.
The League of Nations was as a result f World War I. This was a symbol of unity among countries that were involved in World War 1. Such kinds of cohesive agreements bring peace and economic stability to the involved nations, which, from any angle, is a positive thing. Though it might have failed and World War 2 arose, it was a great step towards building human cohesion in times of need (Hughes, 2005).

War has been shown to bring about greater regard for workers. Films have really taken the step to showcase this to the audience, as directors use numerous cast to act and play the roles of workers in machinery factories, and in weaponry design and manufacture stages. Many of them workers get recruited in the army, navy, and other defense forces, get trained and go ahead to win that war for their nation. This earns them respect, for their courage and determination that is a virtue lacking from many others (Deutsche, 2010).

As Judith Butler stipulates in her works in exploring her thoughts, without war, no one would have probably known anything in deep detail about how things go about in fights. Art does a commendable work in educating people about war. It showcases all terrors that’s possibly likely to happen if a war was about to happen. It therefore enlightens the population with a greater awareness of the horrors of war. This is fundamental if people have to be cautious in matters relating to war, and be prepared, or at least learn on how to counter it.

Though war has been depicted to be having a negative side and a positive side, the positive side of war has always been portrayed to be more evident through photography and films. Films have always shown how war has brought positive thinking in to our lives through freedom and prosperity. Politically photographs on war have always been kept on the wall of court houses and parliament houses to remind the people of the straggle that they had to undergo in order to attain their independence.

In the American history art work, the American citizens tend to remember the civil war through photography and films. Through art the American citizen tend to remember their struggle for independence and hence strengthening their natural heritage. It is realized that when individual value a certain occasion or situation, they tend to create a monument that will remind them of the occasion or situation. Such monuments tend to be if form of photographs and films which are created by artist who value a certain occasion. Photographs and films have found popularity especially among individuals who are political lovers. These individuals tend to interpret photographs and films of war in a way that arouses their emotions either positively or negatively.

In the negative aspect, photographs or films have been able to influence violence among individuals especially among children. It is often realized that some individuals tend to have a violent behavior or character due to the photographs and films that portray violence. Due to imitation and the assimilation of violent behavior individuals have gone to the extent of practicing the acts that they have seen in war films and photograph
Photographs and films on war have been used quite frequently in the political world. It is often noted that nations and states have used various media channels like photography and films in showing their military power, thus strengthening their political power. Although certain liberal principles remain crucial to this analysis, including equality and universality, it remains clear that liberal norms presupposing an ontology of discrete identity cannot yield the kinds of analytic vocabularies we need for thinking about heterogeneous social subjects. Although certain liberal principles remain crucial to this analysis, including equality and ontology of discrete identity cannot yield the kind of analytic vocabularies we need for thinking about global interdependency and the interlocking networks of power and position in contemporary life.

Part of the very problem of contemporary political life is that not everyone counts as a subject. Multiculturalism tends to presuppose already constituted communities, already established subjects, when what is at stake are communities not quite recognized as such, subjects who are living, but not yet regarded as “lives.” Further, the problem is not simply one of co-existence, but of how the politics of differential subject formation within contemporary maps of power seek to mobilize sexual progressives against new immigrants in the name of a spurious conception of freedom, and to deploy gender and sexual minorities in the rationalization of recent and current wars.

On the other hand politics in this regard would aim first to refocus and expand the political critique of state violence, including both war and those forms of legalized violence by which populations are differentially deprived of the basic resources needed to minimize precariousness. This seems urgently necessary in the context of crumbling welfare states and those in which social safety nets have been torn asunder or denied the chances to emerge. Secondly, the focus would be less on identity politics, or the kinds of interests and beliefs formulated on the basis of identity claims, and more on precarity and its differential distributions, in the how that new coalitions might be formed capable of overcoming the sort of liberal impasses mentioned above.

Precarity cuts across identity categories as well as multicultural maps, thus across forming the basis for an alliance focused on opposition to state violence and its capability to produce, exploit, and distribute precarity for the purpose of profit and territorial defense. Such an alliance would not require agreement on all questions of desire or belief or self-identification. It would be a movement sheltering certain kind of ongoing an antagonisms among its participants, valuing such persistent and animating differences as the sign and substances of a radical politics (Hughes, 2005).

It is often realized that artistic work on war often arises many emotions and thought among the people, quite often people tend to analyze war politically and socially but the political part is the most crucial part that many emphasis. Politically, people link war with the government that runs the nation or state that is under war. Therefore through photographs and films individuals are usually able to understand the basic aspect of (being a fight for power by power hungry nations) and also making them capable of understanding what a metropolis is, through the understanding of how power progressively takes over the character of government and finally the economy of a nation or state.

According to Giorgio Agamben, “the economy means nothing but the government, in the 18th century, the government of the living and things. The city of the feudal system of the ancient regime was always in a situation of exception to the territorial power, it was the citta franca, relatively autonomous from the great territorial power. So I would say that the metropolis is the dispositif or group of dispositifs that replaces the city when power becomes the government of the living and of things.” In this, one is able to realize that through films and photographs individuals are given the power to understand the aspect of war, and how it is politically linked. It is therefore realized that war essentially has two faces; one of them is the political benefit of some governments and the other is the loss of lives of some individuals (Hughes, 2005).
It is often realized that some political oriented governments tend to emphasis on war for them to acquire domination over other nations or states. In this, it becomes important for citizens to be enlightened on the aspects of war through films and photography. Through this, they will be able to influence the political motives of their nations through a democratic process.
Giorgio Agamben argues that, “we cannot go into the complexity of the transformation of power into government. Government is not domination and violence, it is a more complex configuration that traverses the very nature of the government thus implying their freedom, it is a power that is not transcendental but immanent, it’s essential character is that it always is, in its specific manifestation, a collateral effect, something that originates in a general economy and falls onto the particular. When the US strategists speak of collateral damage they have to be taken literally: the government always has a scheme for the general economy, with collateral effects on the particular, on the subjects.” Through the understanding of this, one is able to understand how the government works (Hughes, 2005).

In conclusion, one might say that artwork on war are representative of violence, in that the actual act of violence is shown through them. These acts of violence tend to play a basic part in influencing human action. It is often noted that through violence both fear and redemption are usually introduced. Quite often governments introduce the act of war in order to bring about redemption to its citizens and the nation.

On the other hand war tends to negatively influence violence among individuals and hence bringing about the loss of human life which is sacred. It is often realized that some individuals tend to find photographs and films on war aesthetic. These individual as a result of the influence of the violent acts that they view on photographs and films of war they tend to also be violent. Hence one can easily depict that photographs and films based on war can easily influence violence.

In all this, one can say that though photographs and films on war depict a negative side of influencing violence, they play a major role in educating the people on certain important issues. It is often realized that through certain films and photographs of war people tend to learn more about their nations and their history. Therefore one can easily state that art work in form of photographs and films based on war are neither representative or constitutive of violence


  • Baudrillard Short Introduction. (n.d.).Baudrillard Short Introduction. Retrieved January 6, 2014
  • Baudrillard, J., & Zurbrugg, N. (1997).Jean Baudrillard: art and artefact. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Coté, W. E., & Simpson, R. (2000).Covering violence: a guide to ethical reporting about victims and trauma. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Deutsche, R. (2010). Hiroshima After Iraq Three Studies in Art and War.. New York: Columbia University Press.
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