Shimon Attie's Writing on the Wall
History, Memory, Aesthetics
Shimon Attie's Writing on the Wall: History, Memory, Aesthetics theorises images from Attie's 'The Writing on the Wall 1991-1993' installation as a memorial activity, and as an index or habitation for history. The images, which appeared in Berlin's Scheunenviertel district, are suspended by the palimpsestic associations established between the fixated dead of the past and their ghostly appearance in the present. Part of that palimpsest is a collective cultural knowledge of the impending obliteration of community (both the Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of Berlin) by mass-produced death. Peter Muir analyses Attie's work by responding to a series of propositions arising from Walter Benjamin's Thesis 'On the Concept of History.' Shimon Attie's Writing on the Wall: History, Memory, Aesthetics's presiding metaphor is that of loss - the central problem that the book addresses is that of forgetting.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Memory and the Scheunenviertel site; The space of forgetfulness; The archival apace; Spaces of exception; Allegory as a threshold space; Mediating signs; The tragic drama of Shimon Attie; Bibliography; Index.
Dr Peter Muir is a Research Associate with MIRIAD (the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design): http://www.miriad.mmu.ac.uk/visualculture/locationmemory/ and an Associate Lecturer with the Open University.