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Critical Trauma Studies"Understanding Violence, Conflict and Memory in Everyday Life"$
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Monica J. Casper and Eric Wertheimer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479896561

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479896561.001.0001

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Body Animations (or, Lullaby for Fallujah)

Body Animations (or, Lullaby for Fallujah)

A Performance

(p.157) 10 Body Animations (or, Lullaby for Fallujah)
Critical Trauma Studies

Jackie Orr

NYU Press

Based on the text of a live digital performance piece, this essay enacts performance as a traumatized method for exploring public memory, and public mourning, in relation to the forgotten dead of the Iraq War. Contrasting BodyWorlds, the popular science exhibition of plastinated corpses, with the uncounted dead in the U.S. siege of Fallujah in 2004, the essay mixes image, research, dream, and theory into a sustained meditation on violence and its un-remembrance. With digital culture now the most recent media platform for what Walter Benjamin named the “aestheticization of war,” how to compose a digital performance work that refuses the art of war, and produces a digital counter-aesthetic appropriate to our times? In the essay’s extended postscript, trauma is discussed as a powerful method-logic for generating postdisciplinary knowledge. Performance is theorized as a traumatized technique for conjuring the unspeakable political and psychic confusions of contemporary, militarized U.S. cultures.

Keywords:   Performance, Methods, Trauma, BodyWorlds, Iraq war, Public memory, Digital culture

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