‘‘Real-Time History is an on-going research project, based on subjective, image based analysis of a small selection of Youtube videos which are thought to provide important future evidence related to the Syrian conflict. The primary source of Youtube videos are sourced from a web platform called Syrian Archives (www.syrianarchive.org) which according to their website is “a Syrian-led and initiated collective of human rights activists dedicated to curating visual documentation relating to human rights violations and other crimes”. The first video iteration of Real-time History was launched in September 2018, and looks at a particular attack on Douma on the 7th of April 2018 as a starting point.
Directly after the attack day, both the Russian government and Western allies began to furiously speculate about whether the Douma attack involved poisonous chemical weapons or not. The Douma attack was denied by Russian authorities however the UK, United States and France could not let supposed chemical weapons usage go unpunished and eventually Western counter attacks took place on 12 April 2018 aimed at Syrian regime chemical storage. Foundland embarked on a hunt for the possible video evidence which could have been used to justify truth claims on both sides of the story.
Real-time History is a start to an open discussion amongst ourselves, (Lauren and Ghalia) which clearly demonstrates that identical video material can be used to tell multiple and conflicting truths. We do not aim to discern real-time true events, but wish to expose and deconstruct how and why narratives are designed, and how evidence can be used, and potentially abused. We are yet to discover what the future of video material and existing archives such as the Syrian Archive will be, in seeking justice for the overwhelming human rights abuses which have occurred since 2011. Real-time History is an ongoing investigation into how subjective video material can form evidential material and how it can be read and interpreted.’’