speaking with specters

Luis Camnitzer, Last Words (2008). Excerpts from the final statements of death row prisoners, taken from website of the Texas Department of Justice.

What seems almost impossible is to speak always of the specter, to speak to the specter, to speak with it, therefore especially to make or to let a spirit speak. And the thing seems even more difficult for a reader, an expert, a professor, and interpreter, in short, for what Marcellus calls a “scholar.” Perhaps for a spectator in general. Finally, the last one to whom a specter can appear, address itself, or pay attention is a spectator as such. At the theater or at school. The reasons for this are essential. As theoreticians or witnesses, spectators, observers, and intellectuals, scholars believe that looking is sufficient. Therefore, they are not always in the most competent position to do what is necessary: speak to the specter. 

–Jacques Derrida (1994), Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International.

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2 thoughts on “speaking with specters

  1. My son tells me there was a Camnitzer reference on the Simpsons a couple weeks ago… Google seems to confirm it.

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