Latent Images, Diary of a Photographer, 177 Days of Performance (Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige)


This was at the Guggenheim a bit back. It’s about trauma, erasure and the problematic of large scale social catastrophe. The “photographs” that would have otherwise constituted the visual documentation recorded in these “books” have been effectively closed up, sealed shut, expunged. No longer apparent, the images and the trauma they carry are no longer given to direct optical view. All that’s left are effects, namely the meticulous descriptions of each particular photograph and the indexical sign of the book as a serial platform for the marking historical cataclysm. The wall description describes it like this: “Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige explore the archive and the document as tools for representing trauma, specifically their personal experience of the devastating Lebanese Civil War. In this installation, the artists confront the titular images in a variety of ways, structuring their project around the biography of a fictitious aging photographer named Abdallah Farah, who has been recording the changing cultural and political landscape of Beirut. The work’s centerpiece is a book containing rolls of film that picture Lebanon’s war years. We do not see the rolls’ visual content, but are instead presented with meticulous written descriptions that are contextualized as having been taken from the photographer’s notebook. Hadjithomas and Joreige thereby explore the limitations of the image by evoking its erasure.”

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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