VDB TV Program

Sandwiched Between Trauma and Apocalypse: history as it intersects with biography and the rewriting of the past

with works by Steve Reinke, Jesse McLean, Walid Raad, Souheil Bachar, Ximena Cuevas, Paul Chan

This program takes as its starting point the third sequence in Steve Reinke’s Hobbit Love is the Greatest Love (2007), in which Reinke elaborates and schematizes his hyperbolic historical theorem. He relates history to biography by diagramming their projected forms — history culminates through progress in apocalypse, whereas, biography begins with trauma. Who we are, he states, is “determined retrospectively” by this original trauma. Reinke combines these two diagrams, resulting in a diamond-shaped figure — its widest point marks the present. By relating history to biography in this way, we find ourselves snuggly positioned between trauma and apocalypse. It is between these two points that this program unfolds, each work radically reconfiguring this relationship between history and biography to make meaning of the present. These videos by Paul Chan, Ximena Cuevas, Jesse McLean, Steve Reinke, and Walid Raad propose subjective rewritings of historical events, claiming agency over how these pasts are understood. The works variously articulate the irreconcilability of worlds — we live together in alternate, yet parallel realities. -AN

Read full essay on this program here.