Isabel Rocamora, Body of War, 2010, single-channel video, 20:00 min.
Through the observation of the training exercises performed by combat soldiers and interviews with them, Isabel Rocamora explores one of the most important aspects of war – the psychological state of mind necessary to motivate combatants into action.
The repetition of the physical movements performed in the course of hand-to-hand combat emphasizes the technical skills required when preparing to kill an enemy. The movements must be performed almost automatically, like a series of reflexes, and should involve as little thought as possible. At the same time, the mechanization of the body’s movements must be accompanied by a conscious effort to ignore the enemy’s humanity. As one soldier who fought in Iraq puts it: “If you start thinking on an emotional level about that person, his wife, his girlfriend, his kids, his family, you will fail, and the system won’t work.”