The Great War Channel on YouTube (and Mexico in WW1)

2017 has begun and still two years of "celebration" of the First World War Centenary are left. What after? And what during these two remaing years? One of the goals of this web site is to detect some initiatives and keep an eye open on what's going on around and what's worthy of mention. We try to produce also some new and useful contents. Beside of that, another goal is to remain after the Centenary as a possible starting point for people looking for resources and particular topics about that conflict. Among what is whorty of notice, we could point out the collection of short videos "The Great War", a Berlin based YouTube project still today meaningful in the digital panorama. Of course many debates can rise on the accuracy and on the editorial slant. Anyway, here below are the main contacts and finally a curious video about "Mexico in WW1".

"Is the purpose of geography to make war?" An exhibition of Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche in Treviso

Panorama - Montello hill
"Is the purpose of geography to make war?" This is the question coming from the exhibition at Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche, curated by Massimo Rossi and held in Palazzo Bomben, Treviso (Italy). The exhibition will be open from Sunday November 6 2016 to Sunday February 19 2017. Through three closely linked layouts that remain in constant dialogue, maps, atlases and works of art speak of the great communicative and persuasive force of geographic maps. Maps are a powerful means of non-verbal communication and the scenario of the celebrations of the Great War offers a valid opportunity for investigating their ability to condition public opinion when they back the point of view of the Major Nations. This is why the layout of the exhibition focuses on the historical period between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, but which actually spans from ancient times all the way to modern day, to tell the story of another possible geography and not necessarily based on military logics.

1918 - Italian positions along the river Piave
The exhibition begins with "Rocks and water", where we see how maps use a simple and preemptory sign - the natural border - to turn mountains and rivers into tools that are able to separate and offer physical shape to ethnic, linguistic groups, nations to transform them into the “geographical expression” of states. The second section, "Human signs", recounts the use of geographical knowledge for propagandist purposes to forcibly convey the idea of nation even before its official political proclamation. The third part, "War maps", highlights the co-existence of two seemingly irreconcilable cultural approaches, in the context of the First World War: graphic symbols representing the vast war industry disseminated on the Piave front, along with signs that bear witness to the presence of thousands of homing pigeons that by flying at more than one hundred meters of altitude and travelling great distances in short amounts of time, inform and send orders. 305 mm mortars that discharge projectiles weighing 400 kg and as big as a man, and tethered balloons suspended hundreds of metres above the ground «swaying in the sky in a long line along the Piave» as described by writer-tenant Fritz Weber, the enemy on the opposite bank.
A picture of the exhibition
At the exhibition visitors can appreciate how the maps provide order in an otherwise chaotic world, making it more understandable and familiar, distinguishing the objects, but most of all naming the places allowing us to recognise every single one of them. In every era, as quintessential social and human products, maps have also told the story of places through toponyms, sometimes playing an aggressive power over them. Especially when they alter the original spelling of centuries-old names or replace them altogether with new ones to make them more akin to the most recent dominators: the Dutch Niew Amsterdam becomes the English New York; the German Karfreit turns into the Italian Caporetto to then become the Slovenian Kobarid; the Hapsburg Sterzing becomes the Romanised Vipiteno. Or yet, to fulfil impellent social urgencies and to give a voice to hitherto unexpressed territorial hopes: “Alto Adige”, “Venezia Tridentina”, “Venezia Giulia”, or simply, in the case of a river, by changing its gender.
The century-old Piave of the log drivers changed gender in 1918 to offer greater virile resistance to the Austrian invasion, becoming “Il Piave” (male gender), to reassure the collective imagination of the young Italian nation.
But is it actually true that the purpose of geography is to make war? Certainly, without geography wars would not even be conceivable, but man has always been the one to make war, and is willing to use all the available knowledge of physics, chemistry, geometry or mathematics to achieve his objectives.
NASA Blue Marble from Apollo 17 (December 1972)
This exhibition also looks into another possible geography, a geography that urges us to reflect and act on the world when we try to observe it from above when leafing through the pages of the renaissance atlas of Abramo Ortelio, or pondering The Blue Marble, the first photograph of planet Earth taken from the lens of the astronauts of Apollo 17. A geography that multiplies its potential every time an artist decides to partake in a dialogue with a geographic map - and the exhibition displays geographic rugs and a number of works by contemporary artists.
But most of all it offers the opportunity to consider another geography, that is able to teach us to know places through an uninterrupted dialogue with the historical processes and to persuade us through the example of two authoritative pieces of evidence dating back by a century, geographer Cesare Battisti and historian Gaetano Salvemini, that «there are no natural political borders, because all political borders are artificial, meaning that they are created by the conscience and will of man».
Finally a few words about the set-up created by Fabrica: it is an experiential journey, on the discovery of the various geographical maps and the places that inspired them, through the creation of areas that urge visitors to follow them and interact with them. Elements with a linear and clean design, minimalist to focus solely on the works on display, combined with a graphic design that reinterprets the elements of traditional cartography in a modern style.
The entire design of the exhibition - set-up and communication - is combined with the spaces of Palazzo Bomben, rich in frescoes and history, in a dialogue of mutual accentuation.
The event, funded by the Regional Government of Veneto, is part of the programme commemorating the centenary of the Great War.
La geografia serve a fare la guerra?  
("Is the purpose of geography to make war?")
Representation of human beings
an exhibition of Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche
curated by Massimo Rossi and with the partnership of Fabrica
inauguration Saturday 5 November at 6:00 pm
open from Sunday 6 November 2016 to Sunday 19 February 2017
Tuesday-Friday 3:00pm-8:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-8:00pm

Treviso, Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche, via Cornarotta 7
tel. 0422.5121,
regular entry: 7 euro, discounted entry: 5 euro, school discount: 3 euro 

Press Office:
Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche
Silvia Cacco, tel. 0422.5121, cell. 331.6351105,
Studio ESSECI, Sergio Campagnolo
tel. 049.663499, (Simone Raddi)

The poets and the world war: "Si je mourais là-bas" by Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 - 1918)
A new English translation of the poems by Guillaume Apollinaire was published at the end of 2015 by Oxford University Press. The title of the book is Selected Poems, (with parallel French text) translated with an Introduction and Notes by Martin Sorrell (you see the cover below, in the middle of this post). Among these poems, a relevant group of compositions belongs to the war time and is about the love story with Louise deColigny-Châtillon. It's the second time we choose a poem by Apollinaire. The first one dates back to this old post. Particularly meaningful, also in the study of the war months, is the correspondance between Apollinaire and Lou.


If I died up there at the front
One day Lou my love you'd weep
And my memory would fizzle out
The way a shell-burst dies at the front
A lovely shell like mimosa in flower

And then that memory that bursts in space
Would cover the globe in my blood
The sea the hills the valleys and the flying star
The marvellous suns that ripen in space
Like golden fruit round Baratier*

Forgotten memory alive in all things
I'd redden the nipples of your pretty pink breasts
I'd redden your mouth and your blood-soaked hair
You'd not age a jot all these beautiful things
Would forever grow younger ready for gallant destinies

My fatal blood splashing the world
Would give the sun more brilliance
Flowers greater colour waves more speed
A rare love would fall on the world
The lover would be stronger in your body pushed away

Lou if I die up there memory that gets forgotten
—Remember me in those mad moments
Of youth and love and bursting ardour—
My blood's the ardent fountain of happiness
And because you're the prettiest be the happiest

O my unique love and my grand folly

                                             30th January 1915 Nimes 

[From Guillaume Apollinaire, Selected Poems, with parallel French text, translated with an Introduction and Notes by Martin Sorrell, Oxford University Press] 


Si je mourais là-bas sur le front de l’armée
Tu pleurerais un jour ô Lou ma bien-aimée
Et puis mon souvenir s’éteindrait comme meurt
Un obus éclatant sur le front de l’armée
Un bel obus semblable aux mimosas en fleur

Et puis ce souvenir éclaté dans l’espace
Couvrirait de mon sang le monde tout entier
La mer les monts les vals et l’étoile qui passe
Les soleils merveilleux mûrissant dans l’espace
Comme font les fruits d’or autour de Baratier

Souvenir oublié vivant dans toutes choses
Je rougirais le bout de tes jolis seins roses
Je rougirais ta bouche et tes cheveux sanglants
Tu ne vieillirais point toutes ces belles choses
Rajeuniraient toujours pour leurs destins galants

Le fatal giclement de mon sang sur le monde
Donnerait au soleil plus de vive clarté
Aux fleurs plus de couleur plus de vitesse à l’onde
Un amour inouï descendrait sur le monde
L’amant serait plus fort dans ton corps écarté

Lou si je meurs là-bas souvenir qu’on oublie
– Souviens-t’en quelquefois aux instants de folie
De jeunesse et d’amour et d’éclatante ardeur –
Mon sang c’est la fontaine ardente du bonheur
Et sois la plus heureuse étant la plus jolie

Ô mon unique amour et ma grande folie

                                               30 janv. 1915, Nîmes

"Wacht im Osten: German Encounters with the East in World War I". Special exhibition opens Oct. 25 at National World War I Museum and Memorial

Press release:

 German soldiers excavating a Japanese 28 cm. siege howitzer near Grodno; 
a munitions or spare parts crate sitting to the side.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When the German army advanced into the western territory of the Russian Empire in the spring and summer of 1915, soldiers encountered a physical and cultural environment quite different from what they previously encountered. Those experiences are told through the eyes of German soldiers in Wacht im Osten: German Encounters with the East in World War I, a new special exhibition at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

As historian Vejas Liulevicius describes, the German soldier formed a “mindscape” of the vast, sparsely populated, underdeveloped, alien landscape in which he found himself—something conquered by armed force, but beyond his power to fully understand and control. This landscape challenged him with a psychological learning curve beyond his capacity as a soldier or administrator to comprehend a completely new environment.

Constantly aware of this, the German occupier coped with his disoriented feelings by scrutinizing his environment more thoroughly than he might have in more familiar surroundings. The Germans’ “mindscape” transitioned from being a way of understanding the physical nature of this environment to understanding how to interact with it and eventually subdue it, by constant guarded watchfulness.

 “This special exhibition is unique in that we share the stories and experiences of common soldiers tasked with overseeing the occupation of foreign lands,” said National World War I Museum and Memorial Archivist and Edward Jones Research Center Manager Jonathan Casey. “Through their own personal photographs and diary entries, we’re able to gain an understanding of everyday life for soldiers in those circumstances.”

Wacht im Osten (“Watch in the East”) explores this encounter between the German soldier and the land and people he found himself trying to understand. An example of this is the Belarusian village of Iwje, which is depicted using commercial photo postcards illustrating its diverse mix of religious cultures, including Christian, Jewish and Muslim.

“Through Wacht im Osten, we’re able to explore an aspect of the Great War not commonly examined broadly: what life was like for soldiers serving as occupiers in lands previously unfamiliar from a cultural and environmental standpoint,” said National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor.

 The exhibition’s narrative unfolds mainly through the stories of two German soldiers: Georg Oertel and Friedrich Volkmann. Oertel served as a medic in a field hospital in Poland and once helped deliver a farmer’s baby during the Christmas holiday. Volkmann was a father with two small children who served in the infantry in Poland and was killed there. They are experiences of two soldiers, far from home in a foreign land, caught up in war. 

Wacht im Osten is open from Oct. 25, 2016 – March 12, 2017 in the Ellis Gallery. 

The National World War I Museum and Memorial holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war.

Media interested in covering any of the Museum’s offerings should contact Mike Vietti at 816-888-8122 or

About the National World War I Museum and Memorial
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National World War I Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit

"Representing the unrepresentable: the Great War". An international conference at University of Messina

Thanks to professor Pierandrea Amato for sharing with us the program of the coming international conference "Representing the unrepresentable: the Great War", 24-26 October 2016, University of Messina (for the PDF click here).


A special thanks to for sharing the below press release with World War I Bridges


(A SPECIAL Opening WEEK for the 3° edition OF THE FESTIVAL)

the artist ANA MROVLJE PROTAGONIST IN the international B#SIDE WAR festival

From October the 14th - to October the 22th, 2016 / Venice (Italy)

The B#SIDE WAR is an artistic and cultural festival of spread art, diffuse in 12 territories of Italy and Slovenia, thanks to artistic exhibitions and installations, performing, talks and conferences, researches and publications. The festival covers the area from the Mediterranean Sea to the Julian Alps, in addition, special events in Toronto (Canada), Kansas City (USA), Canberra (Australia), Verdun (France), Ieper (Belgium) and London (UK) take place every year.
Designed with the main scope of investigating the legacies that connect the First World War to our everyday life, the B#SIDE WAR project has then been devoted to the analysis of the relationship between the Human Being and the ‘900 conflicts, as well as to the examination of the kinship between our war past and the vision of the world we nowadays have. The third edition of the festival will takes place thanks to the artistic and curatorial work of several contributors belonging 39 different country: 68 artists from all round the world, 17 national museum directors, 25 researchers, a team of 25 cultural organizers.

Key themes for the third edition of the festival are: captivity, prisons, multi-vocal and poly-focal vision of history.
For the opening (called "Venice Stage"), the art direction has involved the international artists Ana Mrovlje, Manca Bajec and Dan Allon, which will inaugurate the third edition creating a week of intense and unique performative acts, interconnected by a common necessity of re-reading the war stories the artists have experienced on their skin (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in the Balkans), or the war stories of which they are heirs (the first and the second world war).
The Opening Week wants to involve the audience in exploring issues related to repression and inheritance of the conflict, entering into a contemplative space in which to undertake new interpretations and relive a necessary poly-focal and multi-vocal perception of war facts.

Ana Mrovlje, author of the installation Peacestool (Sit Down and Deal with War Inside of You), artist who studied as psychoanalyst, investigates something that is still part of our collective memory, lying in the subconscious and in everyone's inheritance: the lagacy of war. A chair shaped with 3000 bullet shells from the World Wars coming from different countries, appears as a witness of conflicts that with their echo nowadays are able in influencing other wars (as the Balkan conflict, of which the artist was a witness). The chair evokes also the path of introspective investigation that the artist pursued, sitting in the studio of her analyst every week, questioning herself about war from a chair. Putting the visitor in the centre of the artistic action, he becomes the protagonist of a war that takes place intimately in his/her mind and that becomes collective again in virtue of its “silent presence” in each of us.
The opening week will continue with the performance Witness Corner Marked by Manca Bajec: internationally renowned for her poetics and her research about the movement defined by James E. Young the ‘Counter-Monument’, the artist shows how contemporary art may act as an intruder, clarifying element for the grey areas of history writing. Witness Corner Marked focuses on the transmission and perceptions of multi-voice war stories (immaterial monuments of a collective past), feeding in this waya pluri-focal vision of history which still is a necessity today.
In a vacant space animated by floating voices, querying the memory of the past, sounds and objects become carriers of the experiences people endured in war. The visitor will share universal symbols and emotions, being a witness of individual moments that have never been “monumentalised”.

Than, the Israeli artist Dan Allon, who, in the performance All in Order Mr. General ponders upon the topic of repression, which is one of the principal instruments in the struggle for power. During the 7-day performance, the artist will step into the shoes of a dictator in captivity, imprisoned in a uneasy place, under everyone's eyes (being at the same time victim and executioner), creating a reverberation about some archetypal figures and re-elaborating the intense experience he lived as jailer in Kzioth (Israeli-Palestinian conflict).
Being aware of the relationship between the most powerful and the weakest in societies in war, the artist sheds a light on the complex relation between the military and civil world that are divided, so in wars of yesterday as today, by a very thin line. The performance concerns the complexity and the ambivalence of history, creating relationships and tensions with the visitor, starting from the asymmetric relation that binds the visitor to the prisoner.

Talk with the artists: saturday, october 15th, 6 PM (free entrance, booking is recommended)
Calle lunga San Barnaba (Dorsoduro), 2687, 30123 Venice, Italy +39 348-7768935
Press: +39 349-0526136

IoDeposito Ngo - Founded in 2009 with the aim of contributing tothe advancement of the cultural welfare and of the young people’s cultural well-being, IoDeposito NGO works nowadays on an international scale together with a network of partners from Italy and the World (Museums, Universities, Academy, Public Institutions). It has involved around 150.000 people in its projects (workshops, laboratories, cultural events, conferences, publications). Mostly, it has developed a unique expertise in the organisation of artistic and cultural events as well as in the research field dealing withthe theme of memories and legacies of the the World Conflicts.

"Lands of memory. International contemporary artists revealing war legacies". An exhibition in Vittorio Veneto (Italy)

b#side war festival presents:
lands of memory
international contemporary artists
revealing war legacies

vernissage invitation:
October, the 6th 2016 - Battlefield Museum in Vittorio Veneto (Italy) - 6 pm
(the exhibition will run until October, 25)
Cosima Montavoci - Vanitas - Site specific - 2016

An initiative by:
Museo della Battaglia Vittorio Veneto
CEDOS Grande Guerra
Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia
Council of Europe/Conseil de l'Europe
Centenario Prima Guerra Mondiale 2014/2018
Imperial War Museum
The National WWI Museum and Memorial
In Flanders Fields Museum

Connecting images of the war time with contemporary works of art, opposed and united by the represented subject, the legacies of the First World War emerge, enlightening the places that were most intense battlefields. The exhibition shows how these territories have assimilated the tragic events of the War, consciously or unconsciously: the landscape, its natural elements and material objects (both organic and anthropized), have absorbed the grief. Burying and incorporating remains and memories, the soil have became an authentic physical body of the conflicts memory. The symbology of the natural elements is developed by contemporary artists in videos and installations, in a kind of prophetic way, not necessarily reassuring, decreeing the protagonism of the soil’s organicity, which is evoked as an element of protection and survival, but also of concealment and suffocation. 

Artists: Ilisie Remus, Claudio Beorchia, Nathalie Vanheule, Jane Glynn, Gordon Belray, Victoria Lucas, Cosima Montavoci, Luca Terenzi.

Fur further information:

Hollywood and American War (CfP)

Among the dozens of Call for papers that we monthly sift, this seems to be more attractive and promising than others. The deadline is approaching fast, so we invite you to take it into account. It's about all the American Wars (The Great War, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, The First Gulf War and The Iraq War). 

A frame from Wings (1927) by William A. Wellman,
one of the first films to show two men kissing

Hollywood and American War
deadline for submissions:
November 1, 2016
full name / name of organization:
Andrew Rayment / Chiba University
contact email:

Call for papers
Hollywood and American War (Edited Collection)
Edited by Andrew Rayment and Paul Nadasdy
Contemporary Cinema (Brill) (tentative)
Submission deadline for abstracts (400-600 words): November 1, 2016

“Most men would rather die than think. Many do”. – Bertrand Russell

This edited collection will critique Hollywood representations of American war in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by providing critically substantial commentaries on films representative of each major conflict in which the U.S. Military has been involved. Covering films that depict The Great War, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, The First Gulf War and The Iraq War, Hollywood and American War will subject the notion that war films ought to be considered ʻthe war memorials of today’ to critical scrutiny. Topics may include (but are not limited to): memorialization and romanticism; memorialization and glorification; memorialization and silence; memorialization and appropriation; the ideology of memorialization; memorialization and power; memorialization and entertainment; memorialization and masculinity; memorialization and comedy; the aporia of memorialization.

Abstracts should include: 1. a proposal for the critique of a particular Hollywood film in relation to its status as a ʻwar memorial’ (or anti-memorial) of the war it depicts; 2. a short commentary of a particular scene from the proposed film that should illustrate both how it develops the themes, tropes, motifs (and so on) in the film as a whole and how it might relate to the broader topic of memorialization through film.

In the final submission, commentaries will vary in length depending on the run-time of the film under discussion but, as a rule of thumb, approximately 5,000 words of analysis will cover each hour of film.

The commentaries will be theoretically substantial but also accessible, written to engage both academics and the intelligent lay reader.