[-empyre-] Sustenazo - Part 1

Monika Weiss gniewna at monika-weiss.com
Wed Oct 3 04:16:33 EST 2012

Hi dear All, 

I have been invited by the moderates to begin by writing about my work, which is closely related to the overall theme of this week's discussion.  In the first part of this introduction I will address my work that evokes public Lament as performative and political act in public domain. I will  continue by discussing recent work that has to do with memory and amnesia as related the construction of a physical and political space of a city. 

By enacting ancient gestures of lamentation, my recent work Sustenazo considers contemporary contexts of apathy, indifference, invisibility, and historical amnesia within the public forum. Lament is extreme expression in the face of loss. Ultimately, as Judith Butler wrote, “grief furnishes a sense of political community of a complex order, and it does this first of all by bringing to the fore the relational ties that have implications for theorizing fundamental dependency and ethical responsibility.”[i] Group mourning is an act of political force, and not only a response to individual grief. We should ask then, after Butler, whose life is or is not worthy of grief? In the context of war, loss is often about the loss of the Other, but in reality the Other is also a part of oneself. Empathy and collective mourning, including mourning the loss of others who are supposed to be our enemies, can become a powerful political tool, in opposition to heroic, masculine fantasies of conquest and power.

T o   b e   c o n t i n u e d   l a t e r  t o n i g h t . . .

Monika Weiss

[i] Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London/New York: Verso, 2004), p. 22.
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