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<nettime> Re: Images and Official Language: The Gap or How not to Know
Alan Sondheim on Tue, 1 Jun 2004 13:57:07 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: Images and Official Language: The Gap or How not to Know

I think to be fair here, that there is a process of contamination going
on, which is becoming more and more evident; that the images by their very
overdetermined nature, are a form of speeage that will not be contained,
will not be defined by any particularization, whether it be a group of
seven soldiers or the prison system itself. Hopefully the contamination
will spread. Even so I agree, and what is appalling to me, even more, is
the over two million in the US prisons today - a system where in Jeb
Bush's Florida, there is a 30 percent incarceration rate for black males.

Returning briefly to Iraq, I think stating what the war is 'about' misses
the point - that the word 'about' must be deconstructed, that there is no
'about' - which 'systemics' perhaps implies as well. The war is not
'about' Daddy nor 'about' oil nor 'about' jeffersonian democracy' nor
'about' Saddam nor 'about' torture etc. etc. It certainly isn't 'about'
9/11. One might say it is 'about' those who ordered the war and managed
it, but this hits a psychoanalytical deadend.

'About' implies cause and effect and representation - this painting is
'about' the natural order of things, this war is 'about' oil. And such is
a peculiarly occidental approach, I believe, this aboutness which insists
on causation in relation to ethos, which insists on origin insead of,
perhaps, taint. The war is unjustifiable, cruel, and in many ways 'about'
America, in the sense of implication. America is responsible; reasoning
and reasons are left in the shadows, and there are as many as there are
shadows and they are as indistinct as shadows are. The darkness of the
photographs throw a little light on the subjects: it's the captors who
stand out, who make sure they are _named_ and _visible,_ while the
prisoners are hidden, faceless bodies, hooded.

Not even the privilege of Auschwitz tattooed numbers, nothing. America has
learned to manage everything. But the photographs leak, and it is the
faces of the US soldiers who illuminate. And now the faces of everyone
else, all this light.

Who knows the name of even one of the Iraqi in the images? On occasion
there is an occasion where a name appears, briefly, then descends.

Finally it might even be added that 'about' implies some justification,
however minimal. If this is 'real'ly 'about' oil, perhaps the oil will
save lives elsewhere, But there is none of this, no balance, no reason.

Stare into the face of evil, and there's surprisingly little detail. Evil
manages the news.

- Alan

http://www.asondheim.org/ http://www.asondheim.org/portal/.nikuko
Trace projects http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/writers/sondheim/index.htm
finger sondheim {AT} panix.com

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