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LECTURE at Graz Symposion on Photography

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Marina Gržinić, Images of Violence, or the Violence of Neoliberal Necrocapitalism

October 5, 2018

at Camera Austria Symposion on Photography XXI, 5-6.10.2018,
Die Gewalt der Bilder / The Violence of Images

Lecture Summary

Images with violent content are always historical, as what is seen as violent is constructed and is violently managed; therefore nothing is natural in relation to violence. What will be defined as violent is always an outcome of violent hegemonic processes. Seeing images of killings can provoke our rebellion and our insurgencies, unless we are paralyzed by our normativized occidental lives. Europe and the global neoliberal capitalist system in general are well attuned to the hierarchization, control, and management processes of the present neoliberal capitalist states. Especially under attack are migrants and all those not considered to be “natural” parts of the neoliberal capitalist national body in the West: asylum-seekers and refugees escaping war-torn parts of the global world (the Middle  East, Africa), from conflicts induced by capital and imperial management.

On the other side and at the same time, we can see, for example, the last election campaign in Austria, with posters by the Freedom Party (FPÖ) containing blatantly racist and fascist slogans and images. My interest is to connect racism with visual narratives, “trophy” artifacts, and culture. I will look at racism from a historical perspective, showing a horrifying trajectory of structural racism that reproduces itself almost always circularly from a pseudoscientific (biological) racism, “progressing” toward “cultural racism” to “return” again to “scientific racism,” though then coined “intellectual racism.”