Memory Theatres, Virtual Witnessing, and the Trauma-Aesthetic

To enclave the human rights violation story at a primordial scene of violence is already to preselect the restorative powers of legal, medical, media, and textual rationalities as post-violent. Where violence is and is not positioned in the narrative of witness and the witnessing of narrative is the concern of this essay. I pose this question: Does the cultural intelligibility of the biographical and witnessing artifact depend on the violence of the signifier—by which I mean repressive authentication by various expert knowledge practices, truth-claiming procedures, and mass media circuits? And if so, how do we witness this particular violence?