Emanuel Licha - It's Like Being in a Movie

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Dispatx Art Collective is pleased to announce a further addition to the Eminent Domain collection currently published in Show: Emanuel Licha’s It’s Like Being in a Movie. This project, developed online in Make, explores the ritual systemisation of violence and destruction, particularly through modern media. The assumed persona of the War Tourist is an amorphous spokesperson for the unsettling combination of war, disaster and tourism, a coupling of event and response that is tied with a drive for sensational imagery and compartmentalisation of global problems. The presence of this freewheeling persona is suitably complex, and its curiosity and hunger for destruction are often couched in a jovial, innocent manner, with a near childlike emphasis on the motives that he is frank enough to admit to.

The central concerns around the theme of Eminent Domain, focusing on various explorations of obstacle and negotiation throughout a creative method, strikes immediate and unsettling chords in the War Tourist’s own inevitable progression. His desire to assume control over the chaos he seeks leads him to invent and construct war zones - and even spurious reasons for entering into one - further ensuring that such events are happening in places that he can master and profit by without threatening the security of his home.

Emanuel’s project, charting the War Tourist’s growing “disillusionment” with his virtual environments and the desire to reintroduce his fabrications into the real world, has employed various techniques and conceits in its development including evidence of shifting control between authors and the fabrication of material. These methods have been used to compose a layered body of material that effectively and amusingly questions the gap between tongue and cheek. Its culmination - a qualified, somewhat ambiguous communiqué redirecting his destructive focus onto a figure of potential support in his campaign - seems an apparent, though pointedly uncertain, gesture of renunciation.

This signing-off report from the War Tourist is a fitting conclusion to the project’s unruly positioning somewhere between farce and seriousness. Ultimately, the work manages to circumvent all manner of distancing affects to approach a stark encounter with the absurdity of events, broaching immediate and challenging implications for political and ethical responsibility, whether set up via ‘thrown voices’ or in elaborate fabrications ready to be destroyed.


Dispatx is a curatorial platform that provides the tools of a socialised internet for the development and presentation of contemporary art and literature. It was created in 2004 by Oliver Luker, Vanessa Oniboni and David Stent.