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Remembering, Repeating, Working Through

Public Talk

Sept '21

Rohit Goel

Remembering, Repeating, Working Through

Contemporary scholars, artists, curators, governments, and citizens everyday have responded to the near repetition compulsion of catastrophe in diverse ways around a single belief: human suffering recurs because we forget to remember the traumatic experience of pain. ‘Never Forget’ has become the global humanitarian mantra of our post-Cold War world. Yet catastrophe, human suffering seems to persist, indeed perdure the more we remember its supposed pastness; remembering has become an almost auto-erotic activity without goal. In this talk, we will reorient the faculty of memory – work through human suffering – by asking why catastrophe repeats, how memory has become untethered from its goal, by considering trauma outside experience in contemporary philosophy and the visual arts.