In this episode, Jasper and Murray are joined by Dr Nicolas Wiater and Dr Alice König who lead the Visualising War project at St Andrews University.
"War is a topic of perennial importance to people from all sectors of all societies, and battle narratives play a major role – in many different forms – in shaping and mediating responses to war. Think of Homer’s Iliad, the histories of Livy, the Bayeux Tapestry, Shakespeare’s history plays, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Picasso’s Guernica, Shostakovich’s Stalingrad Symphony and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now – to name just a few. At first glance these representations of battle are all strikingly different. Whether we are conscious of it or not, however, they have long been interacting with each other – in different ways, and to different extents – in artists’, authors’, viewers’ and listeners’ minds, adjusting the ways in which war is visualised and canonising broader ideas about (e.g.) gender, leadership, ‘success’ and sacrifice’.
The aim of the project is to foreground these interactions and explore their impacts. In a nutshell, we ask: how do battles narratives from different media, communities and historical periods both shape and differentiate themselves from each other? How do their interactions reflect and shape broader attitudes to war? And how do the attitudes and ideologies which they generate influence the ways in which people think, feel and behave in their day-to-day lives?"