LIFE #1, a reenactment of a Japanese officer who is about to behead an Australian flier. The Pacific, 1945
Part of a series of videos called LIFE, where Shay Arik videos that re-enact iconic journalistic photographs. As explained by the video’s title, the departure point for LIFE #1 is the iconic 1943 photograph published by Life magazine that captures Japanese officer Yasuno Chikao from the Imperial Japanese Navy as he raises his sword, seconds before publically beheading Australian war commando Leonard Siffleet in the shores of Papua New Guinea. In Arick’s restaging there are no onlookers in the scene, the only two figures represented are Chikao and Siffleet: the perpetrator and victim of this fatal act of violence. The two subjects in the video assume the poses akin to the original photograph and remain still for the whole duration of the work, their act of endurance interlacing testimony, history, and temporality.