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Wittgenstein at Ground Zero

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date02/2008
JournalSpace and Culture
Journal number1
Volume11
Number of pages8
Pages12-19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Drawing on the work of Barthes and Wittgenstein, this article presents an argument for taking seriously the widespread sentiment, at the time, that the events of what we have since come to call “9-11” were unspeakable. Central to the article is an analysis of two sharply contrasting responses to the 9-11 events, the Here Is New York photographic exhibition and a symposium by prominent intellectuals in The London Review of Books. The widespread revulsion that greeted such intellectual attempts to make sense of 9-11, the article argues, is not evidence of sentiment clouding reason so much as a refusal to efface a profound otherness by assimilating it to the categories of our comprehension—much like Here Is New York's use of photographs to resist the translation of 9-11 into text.