Neda, martyrdom and the media event: Death imagery as an iconic memory
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Death imagery online is a conflicted area of examination. At times it can assume a virality that will change public opinion creating iconic moments where death functions as a transformative device. The Internet with its ineradicable features to preserve content makes death a performance that can be consumed stripped of time and space. Death imagery becomes immortalized on the Internet defying the physical mortality of the body as a site of decay and decomposition. This article examines the death of Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, exploring the entwined notions of witnessing and how the death event courted virality, immortalizing Neda as a global icon. The Internet became a site of double articulation where the act of dying was both contemporaneous and historical – captured, disseminated and consumed non-stop on the Internet. This temporal dislocation of the Internet means death as a media event can be both banalized as part of popular culture and equally consigned to the iconic; igniting affective communities that can domesticate death for collective grieving, communion and agency.
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