[ by Charles Cameron -- in which jihadis utilize the graphical technique known as kinetic typography for what may be the first time -- follow on to part 1: interfaith hatred ]
Today the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point notified their mailing list of the launch of their Militant Imagery Project online. It’s a very helpful resource, covering much of the same issues as Artur Beifuss & Francesco Trivini Bellini, Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations and Asiem El Difraoui, The Jihad of Images — which I discussed briefly in Jottings 7: Two for the iconography of terror a while back.
The CTC explains:
The use of propaganda and imagery by terrorist groups has long been an understudied dimension of the broader field of political violence. This project explores the use of imagery and visual themes by militant groups, focusing largely on jihadist media production. Jihadist organizations and individuals inspired by their message are prolific producers and distributors of visual propaganda, and their efforts have expanded exponentially online. However, these images frequently utilize themes which can be inscrutable to those not familiar with the sub-culture. It is our hope that this project will provide academics, practitioners, and students with a basic contextual understanding of the ideas these images convey before they turn to the larger questions of why they are employed, how they work, and what responses they may elicit.
It is in that spirit that I would point you to the following three screengrabs from the Al-Shabaab video I discussed in my previous post…
Imagine the images tilting and changing, as the words spoken on the soundtrack are gradually spelled out typographically on screen in this sequence:
Jihad was now global. Jihad in the West — Madrid — London — Paris — Boston — Jihad was now coming home to the West, And it was making a dramatic entrance… WOOLWICH ATTACK
Here are the screengrabs:
These three screengrabs illustrate what may well be the first use of the technology called “kinetic typography” or more simply “moving text” in jihadist propaganda. Somali news outlet Harar24‘s Editorials team claim it’s a first, writing:
It is not unusual for jihadi videos to be laden with high graphics and effects. However Al-Shabaab this time used a never technique never adopted before in any jihadi videos, kinetic typography.
The best way to investigate kinetic typography in depth is via Marco Papale‘s video site, the Kinetic typography Channel on Vimeo.
I don’t intend to embed the Shabaab piece itself, but here for your further illumination is the Grandmaster Flash sample rom which the screengrab at the top of this post was taken, in full:
That’s kinetic typography!