Glass, Light, & Ruins  Stereoscopic Glass Negative found at a Flea Market in Barcelona


Like the world, the image allows itself to be experienced only as what withdraws from experience. Its experience -and if it were different it would not be an experience at all- is an experience of the impossibility of experience. The image tells us that it is with loss and ruin that we have to live. Nevertheless, what makes the image an image is its capacity to bear the traces of what it cannot show, to go on, in the face of this loss and ruin, to suggest and gesture toward its potential for speaking. In other words, the fact of the image’s existence -and here I refer only to an image worthy of the name “image,” to an image that would remain faithful to the ruinous silences that make it what it is- ruins the ruin about which all images speak -or at least seek to speak. The image, then: this means “of ruin” -composed of ruin, belonging to ruin, taking its point of departure from ruin, seeking to speak of ruin, and not only its own- but also “the ruin of ruin,” the emergence and survival of an image that, telling us it can no longer show anything,  nevertheless shows and bears witness to what history has silenced, to what, no longer here, and arising from the darkest nights of memory, haunts us, and encourages us to remember the deaths and losses for which we remain, still today, responsible.

-Eduardo Cadava, "Lapsus Imaginis": The Image in Ruins

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