By Akira Mizuta Lippit
Goals, x-rays, atomic radiation, and "invisible males" are phenomena which are visible in nature yet unseen. Atomic gentle (Shadow Optics) finds those hidden interiors of cultural lifestyles, the "avisual" because it has emerged within the writings of Jorge Luis Borges and Jacques Derrida, Tanizaki Jun'ichirô and Sigmund Freud, and H. G. Wells and Ralph Ellison, and within the early cinema and the postwar eastern motion pictures of Kobayashi Masaki, Teshigahara Hiroshi, Kore-eda Hirokazu, and Kurosawa Kiyoshi, all below the shadow forged through the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Akira Mizuta Lippit makes a speciality of historic moments within which such modes of avisuality got here into being - the coming of cinema, which introduced mind's eye to lifestyles; psychoanalysis, which uncovered the psyche; the invention of x-rays, which disclosed the interior of the physique; and the "catastrophic mild" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which instituted an period of atomic discourses. With a taut, poetic variety, Lippit produces speculative readings of mystery and shadow records and visible buildings or phenomenologies of the interior, charting the materiality of what either can and can't be noticeable within the radioactive mild of the 20th century.
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Extra info for Atomic light
Freud has replaced Irma's nausea with a constriction of the throat. But he has not eliminated the nausea and disgust, which will eventually leave the body in dysentery. Using the same techniques that Freud himself developed and applied to dream analysis, one can speculate that Irma wants to say something to Freud who has, in the dreamwork, choked her, and forced back inside of her an accusation that threatens to ruin him. It is perhaps the expression of Irma's feelings of nausea and disgust for him, for his solution, which Freud is preventing.
Among the many effects of this reconfiguration of the inside and out, surface and depth, visuality and avisuality was the formation of a secret visuality. "66 The contiguity of the body and things, fused by the "same stuff," forms inside Merleau-Ponty's imaginary body a regime of secret visibility intrinsic to the body. X-ray, cinema, psychoanalysis provided a view of the secret visibility, not an access or opening as such, but a mode of avisuality. Those new phenomenologies introduced an alien you, secret and distant in its proximity to you.
The atomic assaults on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States unleashed the heat and light of atoms, which threatened not only the Japanese archive but the "mansion called literature," the literary archive. It threatened to destroy the trace, to destroy even the shadows. "48 Derrida consigns the nuclear war to the archive, literature, and the human habitat as an absolute referent. "49 The hypothetical referent of a "total and remainderless destruction of the archive," Derrida insists, remains a fable, a fabulous fiction, which aligns it in some fundamental manner with literature, the arkheion or mansion of literature, the law of literature.
Atomic light by Akira Mizuta Lippit