Once upon a place... The assassination of an American journalist (2015)
The work was shown at Stadtgalerie as part of the exhibition 'Values of Deconstruction' in 2017 and presented in a new format. Originally it was a performance and video projection that dealt with my experience during ISIS propaganda and the overload of images and assassination videos in relating that topic back in 2015.
"Photography was invented in order to render imaginable events around us. [...] And they could be used, as a sort of memory of history. Now this is called documentation. Images where used to document historical events.
It wasn’t so easy as I say because the problem of subjectivity came into it, you know photography was invented to give an objective image. But since the camera is coded, it is even less objective then is a painting. Still the idea was that there is history and then there is a photographer, and he steps back from history, into something, which we might call mystical transcendence, and out of this mystical transcendence, he photographs what happens.
You know, there is a problem: the moment you step back from politics into the image, you can have no point of view. The political point of view is lost. Because the moment you get out from politics, you see that every event has many possible points of view, none of it is correct and what you can do is multiply points of views. [...] The idea was that the image should document politics. But [...] after the second war, this relation started to change. [...] The purpose of politics, which so far nobody knew the purpose of politics, progress is not a purpose, progress is a method, but where do we advance at? What do you mean we advance? We don’t know where.
All of the sudden, we discovered where. We advanced toward an image. Everything wanted to be photographed, and filmed and taken in video and the purpose of everything [...] The purpose of going on the Moon was to be so that Mr. Nixon could be on television and see how people walked on the Moon. The purpose of the Arab hijackers of airplanes was to be taken on television. So all of the sudden, people discov- ered what politics is about.
Politics is aimed at being taken, aufgenommen, in an image. And you know, this created a curious phenomenon. Events begin to accelerate. They rolled toward the image. Things, one event followed an other, because every event wanted to be taken in an image. [...] Now what happened in Romania? If I am right, another inversion happened. It’s the image, which now causes the events. [...]
I don’t think that we’re aware when we speak about post-history, we are aware of the terror we are speaking about. [...] So, what we saw, the images today and yesterday was highly aesthetic, it was “l’art pour l’art”, it was the purpose of theatre. I think it was Lessing who said: “The purpose of theatre is “Mitleid und Furcht zu erwecken” [...]
You ask whether those bodies are real or not which we saw. That’s a bad metaphysical question. The real experience is in the image. What happened behind the image is no use to us. Political reasoning is no longer valid. All reality is in the image. What is now happening in Romania cannot be history, its something else. Political reasoning does not apply to it.
It is the result of magic. It’s a sort of technical voodoo. How can we judge it? We do not have the criteria for it. We do not have a philosophy of post-history. We do not yet have a philosophy of an image in power."
The extract of Vilém Flusser’s 1990 Lecture in Budapest from the Film “We shall survive in the memory of others” by M. Peternák, M. Marburger and S. Zielinski. This extract was part of the work.