Whispers of War is about the daily life under an approaching war.

Specifically it gives voice to the people living in a far Southeastern province of Turkey: Hâkkari. In this predominantly Kurdish province conflict has been raging for over three decades, therefore structural (state) violence have become part of daily life and trauma has become collective. Every aspect of life is politicized. Even writing or singing in Kurdish in public can be sufficient to be imprisoned.

The photo book (still to be published) is a stand alone work, but also constitutes the first chapter of an ongoing larger project: the Last Free River of Mesopotamia. For this project I aim following the Greater Zab River in Turkey and Iraq. This key tributary of the Tigris works as a metaphor to explain the sociopolitical complexities of Kurdistan and to document the politics of water. In this region, seemingly neutral infrastructural projects such as dams are often an attempt to control territories and serve political aims.

Alex Kemman ( is a visual storyteller, criminologist and cultural anthropologist. His expertise lies in state/corporate crime and environmental crime. He has been working primarily in Turkey, Iraq and and Latin America.

His photobook Whispers of War has been shortlisted by the 2017 book awards of MACK, Fiebre, Kassel and Recontres d’Arles.
He was also selected as a participant in the NOOR-Nikon masterclass in Amsterdam 2017.

The multimedia was presented at Slideluck Gazebook.

Multimedia Tips

a. What program was used to create the multimedia?

Windows Movie Maker, this is my first attempt at making a multimedia piece.


b. How and why did you choose that sound/music?

I believe this music helps in transferring the feeling of desperation. In my opinion the background song had to be Kurdish, but it is hard to find songs without voice. This is a longer adaptation of a traditional Kurdish song by extremely talented musicians and it has a western (piano) touch to it. I’ve cut out most of the singing, but I recommend you to listen to the whole song.


c. Tell us about the editing process when you think of a multimedia.
 My book is a combination of images and text, rather subtle. A photobook has a different pace than a video, therefore the challenge is to transmit a work that was made to be physical towards the digital realm. In this specific case I experimented with youtube videos to add an extra dimension. I’ve been surprised how much online footage there is and tried to connect the videos, the stills and the text to move beyond a digital version of a photobook.

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Alex Kemman – Whispers of War