The Aesthetics of Terror

Ivana Spinelli, “Global Pin-ups”

Ivana Spinelli es una de las artistas de The Aesthetics of Terror, una exposición sobre el imaginario del Terror que llega a la Akademie der Kunste de Berlin este mes de marzo, dentro del programa Embedded Art.

Junto a la “guerra contra el terror” como argumento central de la administración Bush y otros gobiernos, ha emergido una cultura visual del shock y el temor, que se ha hecho ubicua gracias a Internet y los programas de noticias de 24 horas dedicados a representar el horror de la violencia asociada con el terrorismo, desde las estéticas imágenes de los bombardeos nocturnos de las ciudades en Irak hasta las grotescas matanzas de rehenes por los fundamentalistas. (Henry Giroux, “Beyond the Spectacle of Terrorism, Global Uncertainly and the Challenge of the New Media”)

The link between terror and aesthetics first became apparent to me in the preponderance of images I kept seeing in galleries that seemed to belong more in the pages of Time magazine or in news coverage, than in an art space — depictions of tanks and soldiers, riots in the streets, bodies strewn on the ground in the “aftermath” of conflict. As striking as many of these photographs were I questioned their function in the museum/gallery setting. Were they protests? Did they make visible (a claim I have heard) images that the newspapers would not print because of their inflammatory nature — disclosing what the government wanted to keep hidden? Or did this translation or appropriation of war imagery, images of suicide bombers, real or fictional, itself become another trope, a kind of Pop, in the sense that it was an uncritical mirroring of images already circulating in our culture, only now the soup can has become a gun? (Manon Slome)

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