112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

The Graphic Space: Prosthetic (Re)Memories and Comic War

Amila Becirbegovic, University of California, Davis

Photography is one of the greatest weapons used to express our cruel way of seeing  and links the role of images with the narrations of atrocities. But what does war representation look like when it takes on another form, even further removed from photography? This paper aims to explore the representational (re)memory of the Holocaust via graphic narratives and illustrations. 

 

Proposal: 

In anticipation of WWII, Ernst Jünger wrote in On Pain that photography is one of the greatest weapons used to express our cruel way of seeing (40), thus linking the role of photographs with the narrations of atrocities and war. But what does war representation look like when it takes on another form, even further removed in time and from the representational space of photography?

 I aim to outline the conceptualization behind these extended spaces of visual representation, particularly as they are depicted through the increasingly popular use of graphic narratives. This representational style, which utilizes the graphic medium to illustrate war and atrocities, has been successful since Art Spiegelman’s Maus, originally serialized in Raw in the 1980s. Maus paved the way for representing instances of terror and atrocity and opened up a gate for a new cohort to visualize and engage with the Holocaust. Thus this graphic representation comes to correspond to a new and different space of visual depiction, encapsulating and relying on the historical memory of past events and images of these events as documentary proof, in order to convey a meaningful message for a contemporary audience. It is through these visual and cultural icons that viewers and readers in the present can gain access to events in the past, events that they have no immediate connection to otherwise. This connection is established as a result of this new space of graphic and public forms of cultural memory through prosthetic (re)memories.