Tag Archives: state of exception

Rescue Into Emergency

Now comes philosopher Santiago Zabala, in an interview from the invaluable ongoing Histories of Violence series convened by the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Images are from an environmental installation by artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho: Lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜

About Lines, Niittyvirta and Aho offer the following thoughts:

The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long-term effects. The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea-levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future.

Art has the potential to convey scientific data, complex ideas and concepts, in a powerful way that words or graphs fall short of. Hopefully, through this work, people can better visualise and relate to [the] reality. 

Humans have been influencing the climate since the beginning of the industrial revolution and the effects have only been accelerating. LED lights visually resonate with contemporary consumer society. 

We felt that this solution possibly illustrates dystopian projections of the sea-level rise in the most tangible way: a threat that is encountered within coastal communities all over the world.

˜˜˜˜˜


America Embodied

An article in The Intercept directed our attention to an extraordinary series of documentary photographs by artist-attorney Debi Cornwall, published in a book titled Welcome To Camp America. Among her images, we visit the “stage sets” of Guantanamo Bay within the vast security theatre of the surveillance state.

The images are freely viewable here, documenting a lounge chair in a room wired for visual media, rewards for compliant detainees; a prayer rug, with an arrow on the floor indicating the direction of Mecca; a sales display stocked with cigarettes, titled “Military Privileges (Kools)”; and a plastic toy floating in an empty swimming pool.

The projected play of normal life obfuscates the severely damaged or destroyed biographies at the heart of the state of exception, a fictionalized distortion that psychologist Robert Jay Lifton has characterized as “malignant normality”.

Towards the end of an interview published elsewhere, Ms. Cornwall  poses the question:

For the six and one half years of DP, we have proposed the latter.

˜˜˜˜˜

Elsewhere in the semiotic swamp of malignant normality, for those who have not yet viewed the bizarre “trailer” for the Trump/Kim “Summit Movie”, we urge consideration here:

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜


Malignant Normality

In an essay published in the Spring 2017 issue of Dissent, Robert Jay Lifton reminds us that the same ethical distortions that he discerned among physicians in Nazi Germany may occur among other groups of professionals at any time. Excerpts below, with a few malignantly normal charts from Stanley Milgram’s Obedience To Authority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜

We are reminded also of a passage (slightly edited by DP for continuity) from a letter written in 1964 by Hannah Arendt to Gerhard Scholem:

You are quite right, I changed my mind and do no longer speak of “radical evil.” It is indeed my opinion now that evil is never “radical,” that it is only extreme, and that it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension. It can overgrow and lay waste the whole world precisely because it spreads like a fungus on the surface. It is “thought-defying,” as I said, because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing. That is its “banality.” Only the good has depth that can be radical.

˜˜˜˜˜