Red pill, redemption

“Claude Lanzmann, the director of the epic documentary film Shoah…argues that his own approach to recording the experience of survivors—through direct testimony—is the only legitimate method, and that art and imagination can have no part in such an endeavor.” (The Paris Review)

The wounds of horror flew deep into the flesh. But art cannot be still, so it lends itself an air of skepticism in the face of yearning for redemption, of yearning for an imagined reason untainted by power, for the restoration of beauty into the world – as Leo Bersani put it, “Art as a correction for life.” Redeemed from our actions, our thoughts, our own death, even. Some, including visual artists such as Jean Debuffet, found these dogmatic notions disgusting, rejecting the very constructs that create such a wonderland: “I believe very much in the values of savagery,” he said, “Instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness.”

No. Humanity had hoisted itself upon a cross. Humanity as it was known had suffered, then died. Resurrection would come later (redemption, perhaps never) out of the bones of the soil, turned anew. The psychology of practice, as much as the concession of impotence, would become central to everything that followed it.

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