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Visualizando lo Indecible: Reflexiones sobre El arte en la era del terrorismo (Spanish version) Imaging the Unspeakable: Reflections on Art in the Age of Terrorism (English version) [bilingual publication]

COULTER-SMITH, Graham (2009) Visualizando lo Indecible: Reflexiones sobre El arte en la era del terrorismo (Spanish version) Imaging the Unspeakable: Reflections on Art in the Age of Terrorism (English version) [bilingual publication]. In: Iconoclasm, Iconolatría. Brumaria A.C., Madrid, 15 & 115-28 & 122. ISBN 978-84-613-0423-3

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This paper reflects on the exhibition and book Art in the Age of Terrorism curated and co-edited by myself and Maurice Owen. It expands on the issues raised by the exhibition and book by examining aspects of moral and political philosophy that relate to terror in the form of Agamben's Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life and Lyotard's The Differend. In Agamben we have the elaboration of the ex-National Socialist political theorist Carl Schmitt’s thesis that dictatorship is implicitly interwoven into the fabric of democratic society via the deployment of “exceptions” to the rule of law. Agamben also offers the thesis that the concentration camp replaces Michel Foucault’s Benthamesque panoptic prison as the leitmotif not only for totalitarian but also democratic society; a notion that became particularly pertinent in the context of Guantanamo. And when we turn to The Differend we encounter situations beyond understanding in our current ethical framework, situations of irreconcilable difference and non-communication that counter Habermas’ concept of communicative reason. Such theoretical discussion is used to expand my interpretation of the works involved in the Art in the Age of Terrorism exhibition and key essays that were published in the book of the same title. The paper also discussed a work by Khaled Ramadan that was withdrawn from exhibition by the board of the Millais Gallery in Southampton. This 'missing work' was Khaled Ramadan’s Someone Else’s Everyday Reality, 2004, a three channel video the centrepiece of which is Ramadan’s cut of a propaganda memorialisation video of the nineteen “martyrs” who perpetrated 9/11. It is argued that the silencing of this exhibit was unfortunate because showing it would have addressed precisely what Ramadan’s title expresses: it would have provided some insight into the other and thereby transcend the political rhetoric that this enemy was “evil” and not-human.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Subjects: W100 Fine Art
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies > Art and Design
Depositing User: Graham COULTER-SMITH
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 10:02
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 10:36
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/840

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