'Untitled (2:10am)'

Broadey, Andrew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2916-0115 (2015) 'Untitled (2:10am)'. In: 5th Derrida Today Conference, Weds 8th – Sat 11th June, 2016, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. (Unpublished)

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This paper examines the relationship between iconography and notions of messianicity developed by Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida with reference to my own photo-series 'Untitled (2:10am)’. Benjamin's weak messianism concerns the rupturing of how the historical past appears to us, whilst Derrida examines the radical futurity of the messianic and grounds this promise in the comprehension of the dislocated nature of the historical present. Both accounts address the iconography of revolutionary France. Benjamin cites the iconoclasm of insurgents, who directed gunfire towards the clock towers of Paris, and Derrida examines questions of inheritance and appropriation in Marx's analysis of the various figures of revolution and empire in The Eighteenth Brumiare. Recent analysis has addressed the possibility of messianic art practices (Adrian Heathfield, 2004) as well as the specific structures of capital-time that the messianic must address (Sami Khatib, 2012). In these contexts iconography is conceived as operative in nature and its critical charge is measured by conjurations it might provoke in the historical present. I will develop this line of argument in order to challenge Anselm Haverkamp's 2014 critique of Derrida, in which he claims that iconography's power lies in its capacity to illustrate.

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