About — MediaCV


Ethan Rafal is: an artist and photographer based in San Francisco, California and Oslo, Norway. His work deals with the individual and collective experience of violence, and the ways in which subsequent representations of violence inform personal and national mythologies. He teaches, mentors, helps run an art space, collaborates with Art For a Democratic Society, and has an imprint to publish so-called ‘difficult’ work.

Shock and Awe is active in the collections of Museums and Universities across the Western World — see Bookspaces for more. The First Edition, Special Edition, and tour ephemera are included in Museum collections devoted to the history of photography, and photography books. Shock and Awe has become source material in History and North American Studies programs. 

Note: Rafal’s work functions at the intersection of photography, expanded art practice, and social science research. His principal output is through photography, books, and a unique presentation method that is equal parts performance art and oral tradition story telling. Quantifying this output requires nuance. In 2016, for instance, major presentations of a 12-year project, Shock and Awe, were conducted in Museums and Universities across 14 countries, where cultural context placed the work as fine art, research, or both. Shock and Awe was presented as Performance Art at Oxford, but called research at SciencesPo. This book, and its associated performance, were also presented at many non-traditional venues, including public spaces, often created for the work itself. The project was presented at 100 venues, 2015-2016. See Tour for more. 

Earlier work, including projects completed in Darfur, Sudan (2006-2008), are not archived on this site. Performances and other time-based video works from this period were completed for crowds as large as 30,000 (NYC, September, 2006). If you would like to view these early projects, please contact: events@ethanrafal.com.

Select Media


San Francisco Public Library -- Live Performance, recorded 12/14/16

Mengi, Reykjavik, Iceland -- Shock and Awe at Mengi, Interview: 12/10/16

NPR's West Coast Live -- Ethan Rafal and Lia Rose duet. Ethan performs the opening story, September 10th, and Lia performs Ghosts and Images, written about the story that closes Shock and Awe. (Note: this song has since been aired on MTV, NBC, and performed widely. If you don't know Lia's work, fix that ASAP). 

ESAD, France -- Conférence: Shock and Awe 

Eliza Gregory -- Photography as Social Practice -- Interview re touring, Social Practice

Marcy Held -- WRCT, Pittsburgh -- Re: Touring, the book

Ann Jastrab -- Shock and Awe -- Review of book, tour, and image making process

Jennifer Yoffy Schwartz -- Crusade For Your Audience -- Interview in book, published 7/2017

Joshua Willey -- Shock and Awe Review

Lizzy Brooks -- Bibli-Agora -- Review of curatorial project


Download: here.