Saturday, April 29, 2017

But, Your Honor, My Friends Will Tell You I Wasn't There

Recently, I attended a lecture that revolved largely around Phalaris's brazen bull (the concept of which is illustrated to the left).  The concept is pretty gruesome, but the lecture was incredible and went into the politics of sight, compartmentalization, and the politics of pleasure and pain. It was pretty fascinating to learn about this killing device and how it's aesthetic beauty (the sculpture itself), pleasurable scent (the heat would eventually ignite incense that is kept in the nose of the bull), and pleasurable sound (there were pipes within the bull that would convert a person's screams into music) would sometimes lead people to not know of its function or, perhaps more often, would sway them into willful ignorance of what was happening.

I've been thinking a lot about this concept and some of the things that came up in the lecture quite a bit since attending it.  I'm not quite ready to rehash or to riff on it. For now, and pardon the disgusting pun, I will let it simmer.

[This lecture was based on ideas and research of Timothy Pachirat, Univ of Massachusetts Amherst]

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