“In Isaac Julien’s short film Lessons of the Hour, there’s a shot of black hands picking cotton, overlayed with the sound of a cracking whip. In Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea, the recorded distress calls of drowning migrants is played over a shot of a blinking radio tower.
These particular audio-visual combinations were chilling, almost terrifying, for the very fact that they don’t show the act of torture. The viewer/listener is forced to hone in on the audio: the wailed words, the gasps of desperation, the sound of cruelty, rather than get lost in the familiar excess of visual suffering. The image is instead created in the mind, circumventing suffering as spectacle.”