As Above, So Below
Missile testing rarely is about testing missiles.
More precisely, missile testing we have footage of, rarely is about testing missiles.
Precious military secrets are kept hidden. Therefore, the equipment we see from time to time on nightly news broadcasts aim to project power. They are orchestrated images, visual propaganda of force and status. From the 1950's mushroom clouds, to the contemporary ICBM tests broadcast by North Korea, Russia or the USA.
The series of images David Fathi presents in "As Above, So Below" are classified in two categories. Separated by altitude, time period & methodology.
Above, there are skyscapes; clouds of shimmering colors. Video stills of missile tests, extracted from newsreels, governmental propaganda or amateur Youtube footage. But in these images, only the moment after the fiery launch is left, where only the trace of the missile remains floating in the air. A cloud.
Below, there are craters; massive holes scarring the earth. These come from satellite imagery of the Nevada Test Site, sixty-five miles away from Las Vegas, the place on earth where the most nuclear bombs have ever been detonated. Sixty years later the land keeps the wounds, literally hundreds of bullet holes visible from the sky. Every single impact the vestige left of a nuclear bomb.
These image are overblown, pixelated remnants of our military arsenal. Traces left in the atmosphere, traces left in the soil. Images of the sky taken from cameras on the ground below. Images of the earth captured by satellites above. The images are abstract representations of power, but also their aesthetic contradictions. After all the apocalyptic fire, only clouds and dirt are left behind.
As above, so below.