What’s Up Doc? / 2013

Animation, 1’10”

Possibly the most disturbing work by Hoogerbrugge to date (or that I have been allowed to see?), this incredibly powerful short film is based on the sounds that accompanied the final moments of Libya’s ex-parrot, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, which must have been rather unpleasant, judging from the noises that document his beating and terminal head-shot by rebel fighters who had dragged him from the sewerage pipe where he was hiding. Hoogerbrugge used the soundtrack accompanying his execution – taken from online cell-phone videos – as the ‘script’ for his animation of Bugs Bunny in the fated role of Gaddafi being shredded by opposition National Transition Council fighters. This work is a superb example of what cultural re-appropriation can achieve. And a reminder that cell phones can kill....
After Tripoli fell in August 2011, Gaddafi and his family fled to Sirte. As this last loyalist district fell, he fled again, this time in a 75-vehicle convoy. NATO forces intercepted a satellite phone call made by Gaddafi, the convoy was tracked by a British reconnaissance plane, and was bombed, first by a US Predator drone, and then twice by NATO planes, all of whom claimed they did not know at the time of the strike that Gaddafi was in the convoy.
But… like Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein and a swathe of other dusky leaders who went from being ‘our boys’ to becoming yet another incarnation of Hitler, the details surrounding Gaddafi’s death have invited alternative histories, the most widespread being the involvement of a member of the French secret services who infiltrated the mob of rebels that captured Gaddafi and shot him in the head after his capture. The motive was allegedly to prevent Gaddafi from being interrogated and revealing links worth €50 million with then French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Dead men tell no truths, you see. (And if you don’t manage to kill them, lock ‘em up for good, away from probing ears, ain’t that right, Manuel?) Another one of ‘our boys’, now gone rogue, too – Bashar al-Assad – apparently sold Gaddafi’s phone number to French spies operating in Sirte in exchange for a ‘grace period’ and less political pressure from France.
Unfortunately the cell-phone video shot at the scene doesn’t reveal who actually killed Bugs Bunny.

Edition: 5 + 1 AP

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