COLLINS | Terror in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction


“To pry an object from its shell, to destroy its aura, is the mark of a perception whose ‘sense of the universal equality of things’ has increased to such a degree that it extracts it even from a unique object by means of production”

                       — Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

“I just wanted … something that everybody could understand easily, and everybody could share regardless of where they’re from”

                      — Jean Jullien on his drawing “Peace for Paris.”

I swore that I would not write about the November 13 and 14 terror attacks in Paris. I write from 3,665 miles away and amidst a deluge of photographs, videos, opinion pieces and articles. I swore that I would not write because of the difficulty of feeling that I knew anything beyond lists of facts and statistics: how many people were murdered, how many more injured, where the attacks occurred, which nations closed their borders, which states decided to stop accepting refugees. In the place of resolute, dispassionate knowledge, I saw emotional knowledge. In a Le Petit Journal video, Angel Le poignantly discussed the attacks with his toddler son Brandon.