Monday, March 1, 2010

refracting terror

“Somewhere in the heap, a wild equine eye, always open.”
Beckett, The Unnamable, 1953/58

As the wars went on, missiles and phosphorous pounding down on civilians across the Global South, computer animator Lena Gieseke mapped the space of Picasso’s great protest of the terror wreaked on Guernica.

Not unproblematic, her technical “exploration.” The last thing we need is another cartoon trivializing what weapons keep doing to bodies. (Nor does Picasso escape this old problem of the enjoyment factor intrinsic to aesthetic semblance, at work in all images, even painful representations of the worst.) 

But her risky estrangement convinces – and the more so by not reassuring. She fingers the questions raised, without pretending to fix the relation between her “three-dimensional reproduction” and Picasso’s painting. The haunting result disturbs on many levels, even as it activates the image shards of horror all of us are forced to carry in our heads.


  1. Did you happen to listen to Tim's lectures on Picasso and Truth? I think you might like them...I think they are brilliant - all the old favorites - Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, plus alot of close reading, some Freud and an anti-war anti-terror capper. Scroll down to May 2009:

    When can we expect the jehan alonzo podcast?

  2. Oh yes, and this video has always freaked me out.

  3. Thanks for the link -- fine stuff.

    I fear this bloggy thing, whatever it is, will be forever in lieu of the j.a. podcasts... (Some forms of prolixity would be beyond stomaching.)