Wednesday, December 5, 2012

proposal: visuality and truth

For my final essay, I want to work through some of the things I've been bringing up in recent blog posts, about how history and/or truth is imaged, the muteness of images as witnesses to historical truth, the resultant need for "expert interpretation" (re: Benjamin's 'Thesis on the Philosophy of HIstory'), and the forms of power inscribed in these images and interpretations. I will therefore likely engage Tsing in terms of 'speculative accumulation,' RanciĆ©re's "The Distribution of the Sensible," and Parks, especially where she discusses illiteracy. I think to explore these ideas effectively, I need to ground them in something specific. I'm considering different forms of documentary and political art, and at the moment am thinking about examining the work of Lebanese artist Walid Ra'ad, whose work engages exactly these questions (how is history written through images?) with regard to traumatic and violent events, and also plays with notions of authority via his 'fictional' art collective, the Atlas Group (scare quotes because it seems to me that, despite the fact that there are no actual members of the collective, the name being attached to works is a sort of performative actuality). This, however, might necessitate a lot of engagement with Lebanese history that I'm not quite sure I'm ready to mobilize. 

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