LEGOISIS and the distruction of the Mosul Museum

Over the last few years the jihadist militant group ISIS has released a number of appalling publicity videos depicting the beheading of journalists and prisoners of war and the violent destruction of ancient statues and sites of enormous cultural significance.

In 2015, one of these short pieces of video footage showed men destroying statues in the ISIS-occupied town of Mosul, in Northern Iraq. This footage was then reedited by the major media outlets, broadcast and uploaded to their websites.

LEGOISIS attempts to investigate the horrific marketing techniques of brand ISIS by re-enacting the destruction using LEGO, the popular construction set. In this short animation we see two global brands at opposite ends of the spectrum, fused together. The film follows similar media edits of the original footage but it depicts the protagonists as LEGO brick minifigures, disassembling other brick statues.

Using toys as stand-ins is a well-established methodology, borrowed from therapy, for processing traumatic events. Transformed into effigies, like those they destroy, the perpetrators are robbed of their power; their violent and provocative act subverted with humour. Seeing the shocking scene rendered in a LEGO world, where the plastic jackhammers skate harmlessly across the surfaces, such actions might be resisted, their ludicrous and childish nature revealed.

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