t.j. clark: the sight of death


Clark: Immensely hard to talk about these things, Kathryn—but you’re right, they’re ultimately what the book is about. These days I can’t get the lines by Emily Dickinson out of my mind: “Because I could not stop for Death—/He kindly stopped for me”. I guess it’s Dickinson’s verb that particularly strikes home. Death is everywhere, but we can’t stop for it. We can’t make it part of our lives—and therefore of our politics. The capital D Dickinson was able to give it is way beyond us.

Yeah, yeah… I don’t mind you bringing on the word “spectacle” at this point, just as long as we’re not using the word to reduce the issues simply to “too many images too fast!” It’s not the technics and quantity that matter most, it’s the shattered sociality in which the images circulate. It’s the dismantling, over the past half-century, of so many forms of resistance to the image—so many of the forms of life in which the image-life of power could once be derided or spoken back to. Who was it who called the spectacle “the totalitarian dictatorship of the fragment”? It’s a bit clumsy, that formula, but it gets a lot right.

more from the interview at Brooklyn Rail here.