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Cloning Terror: The War of Images from 9/11 to the Abu Ghraib Photographs

Referent: Prof. Dr. William J.T. Mitchell

Datum: 02.12.2004
Uhrzeit: 19:00

Ort: Große Aula, LMU München

In the months before September 11, 2001, the cloning debate was the leading

issue in American newspapers. After September 11, terrorism dominated the

news. This paper explores the logic that connects cloning and terrorism as the twin phobias of our historical epoch. The clone and the terrorist are cultural icons linked by the fear of the "uncanny double," the mirror image of the self as its own worst enemy. The terrorist is the enemy who doubles as a friend or countryman, pretending to be "one of us." The clone is the figure of biological doubling as such, the inverted, perverted mirror image of a parent organism, an artificial simulation or twin of a natural person. The terrorist is the "evil twin" of the normal, respectable citizen-soldier, and the clone is the "evil twin" as such. The "war on terror" therefore is also a "war of images" that draws its vocabulary from the language of epidemiology, of plagues, sleeper cells, and viruses, on the one hand, and from iconoclasm, iconophobia, and holy wars over images on the other. Tracing the "war of images" in mass media and popular culture from the cloned Schwarzenegger of The Sixth Day to the clone armies of George Lucas, from the destruction of the World Trade Center to the Abu Ghraib torture photographs, this paper explains why the war on terror is actually "cloning terror" by breeding more terrorists.



Letzte Änderung 17.01.2006