By Roger I. Simon

Explores the curating of “difficult wisdom” during the exhibition of lynching pictures in modern museums.

This impressive comparative research at the curating of “difficult wisdom” makes a speciality of museum exhibitions that provided an identical lynching pictures. via an in depth description of the exhibitions and drawing on interviews with museum employees and customer reviews, Roger I. Simon explores the affective demanding situations to proposal that lie in the back of the various curatorial frameworks and the way audience’ reviews at the exhibitions practice a specific dialog approximately race in the USA. He then extends the dialogue to incorporate contrasting exhibitions of photos of atrocities devoted by way of the German military at the japanese entrance in the course of global battle II, in addition to to pictures taken on the Khmer Rouge S-21 torture and killing middle. 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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However, as my concern is how an exhibition might be conceived as an event, I have found it helpful to consider the implications of current writings that rethink the question of what is at stake in the notion of an image. Clearly, the most commonplace mode of apprehending an image is to consider it as a representation that draws its significance from its always-imperfect relation to that which it purports to represent. This is most evident in the way most people attend to photographs. If one trusts that a photograph has not been intentionally altered, it is usually taken for granted that such images are representations that underwrite the “realness” of a past presence that was there in front of the lens at the time a picture was taken.

Just as important was the attempt to call forth a consideration of what it would mean to act justly with the weight/force of these images as a part of one’s consciousness in the present. ”64 These are pregnant comments whose implications are worth unpacking. In a more general vein, Simpson’s comments suggest the need to think through how the historical repair initiated by the rendition and reframing of images of the past will guard the particularity and singularity of past and present, facilitating a dialectical connection among temporal events that avoids the collapse of diverse forms of victimization into each other.

This privileging of photography is grounded by an epistemological trust in the representational truth of an image as well as the hope that in informing a public, it will awaken compassion, understanding, and the desire for and action toward the amelioration of suffering. 40 On the other hand, there remains considerable anxiety in regard to the appropriateness of this assignation of photographic technology with the attempts to visually render the factual realities and experience of pain, anguish, and death.

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