Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trauma of Images- Haiti

I was thinking about our conversation regarding the trauma of images. We discussed those images that are frozen in our minds and some shared that traumatic experiences are more of a movie they replay over and over. I'm sure we all have some combination of these experiences regarding trauma. It prompted me to consider the images coming from the earthquake in Haiti. I had been feeling like the images were increasingly shocking as compared to images from other disasters/wars. I found this Washington Post article asking about our responsibility in these situations. Elikins talked about the images we censor or are forbidden to see. How do you think this has shifted over the years?

Another question to ask- recently my friend witnessed the man who jumped off of the empire state building. She described this to me in great detail and I made an image in my mind that I can't shake. This image or one like it, from a New Yorker, traumatically dead would never be shared, yet images of twisted bodies from other countries are. I think this is interesting. Is it o.k for us to exploit and view the mangled dead elsewhere?

Here's the link for the Washington Post article:

1 comment:

  1. I think this is really interesting, Christy, and something that I've thought a lot about. With so many images surrounding us, we can often become desensitized to them, especially if they happen "elsewhere" - they can mean nothing until they affect us closer to home.

    I recently read an article called "Imaginary Worlds" by John Black, where he talks about how our society is losing the ability to imagine, and how we become immune to much of what is happening around us because of media saturation and "virtual worlds" that media constructs for us. He makes the argument that images from media have given us a false sense of security in believing tragic events "can't happen to us." Because we’re constantly bombarded by them, “there is no time to make the crucial inferences needed to fully comprehend what is going on and why,” especially when it’s an event happening elsewhere. Interesting stuff.