Message 232: Operation Phantom Fury

At Slowly Downward Manufactory, Donwood offers his cryptic short short stories gratis and sells screen prints of his visual art. The caption for “Operation Phantom Fury“—a limited-edition pr selling for £200—reads:

What we have here is some kind of hateful monster orchestrating a rain of incendiaries upon a burning city. Operation Phantom Fury was the codename given to the US military assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja in November 2004. You can read as much or as little into this picture as you like.

Drawn with clean lines and colored a careful, surgical white with crossed-out eyes and sickly long fingers, the monster stands with a determined, stitched-closed frown over a city with Mediterranean-inspired architecture that burns in unmixed reds, yellows and oranges. Explaining the print’s title, Donwood gives us an interpretation. But the caption’s closing sentences undermines any interpretation: “You can read as much or as little into this picture as you like.”

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