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Experience and Trauma in Contemporary Art

8 febbraio 2012
San Micheletto - Via S. Micheletto 3 (Classroom 6 )
This contribution approaches the value of some artistic works for the notion of experience. The word experience has different meanings in different contexts and time spots. My main hypothesis is that, if we pay attention to some contemporary artistic works, we discover an original and disconcerting sense of that notion. It doesn’t bound up anymore with meaning, order and familiar world. It refers to some liminal and sublime states of our life, that we could also comprehend as loss of control, rupture and trauma. I will focus on Andy Wahrol’s series Death in America and Marco Bechis’ film Garage Olympo. Here the experience of death and persecution is not endowed with meaning, but it is just repeated. I will analyze repetition (Widerkehr) as the basilar psychological strategy for recording the original and traumatic experience. In this form the notion of experience will take a new relevance. It can not be fragmented by languages and interpretations, because it is beyond both of them. Through other artistic works (Liebeskind, memory monuments) I will further show art-experience-effects, irreducible to meaning bestowals. All that hints to a post-post-modern art: it is at odds with the fragmentation and the evaporation of the concrete world. But it also challenges the idea of reality as stable and unchangeable world or object of reference.