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Photos by Andy Johnson

The Trial 2013
video, sound, 4:04

Appropriating found footage from both legal dramas and Hillary Clinton’s Senate testimony on Benghazi, The Trial explores truth telling and performance within the highly gendered and racialized politico-legal framework of the cinematic courtoom. Taking stylistic cues from the videos of Christian Marclay, I use the mash-up to challenge notions of singular, stable truths that the court room purports to find; in my video, it is the fractured, contradictory narrative that is the most honest, the incomplete narrative that is most true.

In the courtroom, versions of competing subjective truths are performed. And yet, these simple and subjective “truths” have very objective, real consequences: The court can really sentence someoen to death. The court is a place of binaries – defendents are guilty or innocent, questions have yes or no answers, statements are true or false, and evidence is stable. However, real world events do not fit neatly within such a literal or simplistic framework. The narrative surrounding the Benghazi attacks changed as more information became available. As Hillary Clinton testifies, the government did not purposefully mislead the public but was instead trying in real time to get to the best information, some of which was later proven incorrect. Try as the senators do to restrict the Benghazi story to two narratives – a planned act of terror or a spontaneous attack by armed militants – Clinton shows that the narrative is much more complicated and much less stable.


©Emily Greenberg. All rights reserved.