The 9/11 Effect: Art and Cultural Politics in Post-9/11 Europe
01 / 2008 - 01 / 2012
Nous sommes tous américains declared Le Monde after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For a short moment, we were all Americans. On the political level, this transatlantic solidarity between Europe and the USA proved to be short-lived, as it was soon challenged by the unilateral stance of the Bush administration its War on Terror and the war in Iraq resulting in a revival of European anti-Americanism (Kroes 2006). On both sides of the Atlantic, however, significant new security practices and modes of governing are emerging in the name of the fight against terror. This research group has assembled around the premise that a thorough understanding of contemporary modes of governing in Europe has to include an analysis of the diversity of ways in which visual culture and cultural representation play a role in their constitution. Immediately after 9/11, it was asserted that art and literature could not matter much in the face of so much murder and alarm (Kunkel 2005). However, six years on it has become clear that the politics of fighting the war on terror intimately depends upon a landscape of cultural production (Retort 2005; Campbell and Shapiro 2007). If the spectacle of 9/11 was a symbolic targeting (Baudrillard 2002; i ek 2002), then so too have been the political and military responses taking place in the name of the war on terror (Buck-Morss 2006). Moreover, the televisual media spectacle of 9/11 has become inseparable from our understanding of what happened on September 11th (de Bloois 2006; Campbell 2002; Kooijman 2008). Starting from the premise that cultural production is essential to the constitution and challenge of contemporary modes of governing in Europe, this group has organized its activities around two closely related sets of questions, one from the perspective of politics and one from the perspective of the arts and literature.