Foundations of Science 23 (2):245-254 (2018)

Marc August De Kesel
University of Ottawa
Without the support of imagination, one would not have the slightest idea of the cruel ‘real’ that has occurred in the Nazi extermination camps. Yet, in documentaries imaging the events of the Shoah, one runs the risk of missing their most basic property, namely their unimaginability. The mere idea that one is able to imagine the unimaginable comes down to a denial of the Shoah’s status as an event that defies our understanding. The unimaginable ‘real’ of the Shoah, however, is not simply located in its object, in the cruelty of what happened in the camp. The Shoah makes us at the same time facing the unimaginable ‘real’ of the modern subject—the blind spot in our own identity. If we need imagination to deal with the Shoah, it is also because of an ungraspable ‘real’ in ourselves. This is why adequate Shoah representations, acknowledging their object as being beyond representation, include the same ‘beyond’ concerning the subject of the Holocaust memory. The essay makes this clear in an elaborated comparison of Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 film, Shoah, with some conceptual works of art from the late nineties—all of this ‘fine-tuned’ in a reflection upon Ingmar Bergman’s Persona.
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-016-9518-3
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Eros and Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan's Seminar Vii.Marc De Kesel - 2009 - State University of New York Press.

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