Spectral Evidence by Ulrich Baer
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Spectral Evidence
By Ulrich Baer

Spectral Evidence

The Photography of Trauma

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Format: Paperback

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Spectral Evidence by Ulrich Baer

Book Description

In this remarkable contribution to photographic criticism and psychoanalytic literature, Ulrich Baer traces the hitherto overlooked connection between the experience of trauma and the photographic image. Instead of treating trauma as a photographic "theme," Baer examines the striking parallel between those moments arrested mechanically by photography and those arrested experientially by the traumatized psyche -- moments that bypass normal cognition and memory. Taking as points of departure Charcot's images of hysteria and Freud's suggestion that the unconscious is structured like a camera, Baer shows how the invention of photography and the emergence of the modern category of "trauma" intersect. Drawing on recent work in the field of trauma studies, he shows how experiences that are inherently split between their occurrence and their remembrance might register in and as photographic images. In light of contemporary discussions of recovered memories and the limits of representing such catastrophes as the Holocaust, Baer examines photographs of artistic, medical, and historical subjects from the perspective of witnessing rather than merely viewing. He shows how historicist approaches to photography paradoxically overlook precisely those cataclysmic experiences that define our age. The photograph's apparent immunity to time is seen as a call for a future response -- a response that is prompted by the ghostly afterlife of every photograph's subject. In a moving discussion of a rare collection of color slides taken by a Nazi official in the Lodz ghetto, Baer makes us aware that it is the viewer's responsibility to account for the spectral evidence embedded in every image.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780262524476
ISBN-10: 0262524473
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 178mm x 12mm)
Pages: 218
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 11-Oct-2005
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Ulrich Baer

Poet's Guide to Life by Ulrich Baer Poet's Guide to Life, Hardback (March 2005)

An illuminating translation of writings by the Czech-born poet presents a selection of observations and reflections on the topics of illness and death, dreams and religion, language and art, love and happiness, work and ambition, childhood and old age, in a study of what makes up a meaningful life. 25,000 first printing.

110 Stories by Ulrich Baer 110 Stories, Paperback (August 2004)

New York is a city of writers. And when the city was attacked on 9/11, its writers began to do what writers do, they began to look and feel and think and write. This book gathers a multi-hued range of voices that convey, with immediacy and imagination, the shock and loss suffered in September.

» View all books by Ulrich Baer


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Author Biography - Ulrich Baer

Ulrich Baer is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at New York University.

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