Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-2

As pieces of this book have passed through so many skilled and caring hands over the past decade, it is impossible to faithfully represent the full catalog of those who have helped bring it into being. What I offer here represents only a small sampling of the many individuals who have participated in the ongoing conversation....

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Introduction: Spectacle and Its Other

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pp. 3-26

The collision of the jet passenger planes with the Twin Towers, their subsequent collapse into nothingness, the ominous absence within the smoke-filled skyline, the busy streets of Manhattan turned disaster movie – these scenes were images as much or more than actual events.1 The hard truth of this realization came less than a week after the attacks when Karlheinz Stockhausen described the disaster as “the greatest...

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1 From Latent to Live: Disaster Photography after the Digital Turn

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pp. 27-54

As the first year that digital cameras outsold their analog counterparts, 2001 marked a tipping point in the digital turn, one that would forge a new relation between the medium and the spectacle of disaster.1 With its dematerialization into code and capacity for instant transmission, the digital format allowed photography, perhaps for the first time in its history, to satiate the desire for “live” images. As a result of this sudden...

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2 Origins of Affect: The Falling Body and Other Symptoms of Cinema

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pp. 55-86

During the stock market crash of 1929, it was widely circulated that disheartened financiers began jumping from the windows of their Wall Street offices in record numbers. A London newspaper described Manhattan pedestrians’ having to wade through bodies of jumpers that “littered the sidewalks.”1 Mexican painter José Clemente Orozco, who was in New York working on a mural for the New School, explained, “Many...

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3 Remembering-Images: Empty Cities, Machinic Vision, and the Post-9/11 Imaginary

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pp. 87-124

From the early perspectival diagrams of the Renaissance to the modern models of city planners, the image of the empty city has historically operated as what Barthes calls “a pure signifier,” an empty sign “into which men put meaning.”1 In this capacity, such images provide the “degree zero” of the built environment, that substrate of underlying possibilities from which the city is reimagined from a seemingly...

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4 Lights, Camera, Iconoclasm: How Do Monuments Die and Live to Tell about It?

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pp. 125-152

The World Trade Center was targeted on 9/11 not so much for the number of casualties it would produce or the damage to the infrastructure it would inflict, but rather for the larger symbolic statement that the destruction of this iconic structure would make. As the architectural centerpiece of the economic capital of the world, the triumphant verticality of the Twin Towers succinctly embodied the global reach and selfassuredness...

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5 The Failure of the Failure of Images: The Crisis of the Unrepresentable from the Graphic Novel to the 9/11 Memorial

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pp. 153-180

For the first hundred years of their existence, comics functioned as an art form whose abbreviated shelf life rivaled the ephemerality of modern media such as television or radio.1 Born out of the nineteenth-century “circulation wars,” their serial format was aimed at transforming the casual reader into the regular customer and as such betrayed not only an incompleteness at the level of narrative, but a material disintegration...

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Conclusion: Disaster(s) without Content

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pp. 181-188

While the immediate aftermath of 9/11 saw Hollywood pull virtually anything from distribution that vaguely resembled the experience of that day, five years later in 2006 the event would be front and center in films such as United 93 and World Trade Center. Writing in February of the same year, Julian Stallabrass noted, “There is . . . a vast outpouring of 9-11 merchandise that surely seeks to heal the image wound: posters...

Notes

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pp. 189-216

Bibliography

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pp. 217-228

Index

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pp. 229-237