By Roger I. Simon
Explores the curating of “difficult wisdom” throughout the exhibition of lynching pictures in modern museums.
This amazing comparative research at the curating of “difficult wisdom” makes a speciality of museum exhibitions that offered a similar lynching images. via a close description of the exhibitions and drawing on interviews with museum employees and customer reviews, Roger I. Simon explores the affective demanding situations to notion that lie at the back of the various curatorial frameworks and the way audience’ reviews at the exhibitions practice a selected dialog approximately race in the USA. He then extends the dialogue to incorporate contrasting exhibitions of photos of atrocities devoted through the German military at the jap entrance in the course of global battle II, in addition to to pictures taken on the Khmer Rouge S-21 torture and killing heart. With an insightful mixing of theoretical and qualitative research, Simon proposes new conceptualizations for a modern public pedagogy devoted to bearing witness to the files of racism
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Additional resources for A Pedagogy of Witnessing: Curatorial Practice and the Pursuit of Social Justice
It is offered simultaneously as a relational posture, a plea, a moral injunction, a question, and a hope for oneself. It reads as an overdetermined response that suggests an inability to remain indifferent to what one has just seen. Something must be done, though what it is, is not apparent. Most importantly, the ambivalence of this sign is a semiotic trace 14 A PEDAGOGY OF WITNESSING of an embodied situation in which, as a consequence of visiting an exhibition, a person has become charged with an affect that is itself a force to thought, particularly to the extent to which this thought is that which seeks some alteration as a result of the encounter that provoked it.
As she put it, “One cannot sustain the difficulty offered by any given photograph through the confrontation with so many photographs” (97). Commenting on the proliferation of various images of the subjection to pain and death presented in Beautiful Suffering, she noted that when one encounters an exhibition wherein there is “an image of consequences of famine here, a corpse lying about there, and a wounded figure and lots of blood just over there, soon the turbulent emotions vanish” (97). In the place of this emotional turbulence, a customary ease develops as one grasps the thematic frame that has allowed one to settle the meaning that resides in the presentation 30 A PEDAGOGY OF WITNESSING of each and all these images.
Affect here is not to be taken as simply an equivalent term for emotion. ). 17 In other words, the emotions we feel are, in part, conditioned by the way in which our conscious and unconscious interpretations of the world encode affect within interpretable sensations. 18 This means that what is particularly difficult about difficult knowledge is what comes to the fore when the affective force of an encounter provokes substantial problems in settling (at least provisionally) on the meaning and significance of the images, objects, and texts encountered within an exhibition.
A Pedagogy of Witnessing: Curatorial Practice and the Pursuit of Social Justice by Roger I. Simon