Didactic Elegy — Ben Lerner


It is difficult to differentiate between the collapse of the towers
and the image of the towers collapsing.
The influence of images is often stronger than the influence of events,
as the film of Pollock painting is more influential than Pollock’s paintings.

But as it is repeated, the power of an image diminishes,
producing anxiety and a symbolic reinvestment.
The image may then be assigned value where there is none.
Can an image be heroic?

but an image may proclaim its distance from the event it ostensibly depicts,
that is, it may declare itself its own event,
and thereby ban all further investment.

The critic watches the image of the towers collapsing.
She remembers less and less about the towers collapsing
each time she watches the image of the towers collapsing.

The critic feels guilty viewing the image like a work of art,
but guilt here stems from an error of cognition,
as the critic fails to distinguish between an event
and the event of the event’s image.

The image of the towers collapsing is a work of art
and, like all works of art, may be rejected
for soiling that which it ostensibly depicts. As a general rule,
if a representation of the towers collapsing
may be repeated, it is unrealistic.


Typo — Issue Two