San Augustine first, and later Voltaire denounced the morbid curiosity of the viewer, and the way we aestheticize other´s misfortune turning the wreck into an icon; Goethe, in the still smoking Battle of Jena remained totally silent, a silence that some called "prudence" ; Hegel thought it was possible to raise the murderous injustice of human nature to the rational level, in order to find in the wreckage of the battle, the famous reason in history; Schopenhauer thought, however, that the vision of such unhappiness could lead to the expression of the sublime; closer to our days, Burckhardt saw in this situation the more radical token of the possibility of history as knowledge: "We want to know which is the wave responsible for the wreck, but we are actually that wave."
It was Lucretius who invented the philosophical image of the "shipwreck with spectator"at the beginning of his second book De Rerum Natura.
At the scene of shipwreck and the sublime, the viewer has no real experience of evil and so feels pleasure and joy. He just gets ust exactly one simulacrum, the image of someone who is agitated and in whose figure it would be indifferent to recognize oneself.
Shipwreck with Spectator is a piece made through three different space and time stages: the original drama play from the 60´s, the performance made in Iraq, and the instalation an the gallery space:
Taken the drama play “Offending the Audience", written by the Austrian author Petre Handke in 1966 as an historical reference of metalinguistic work on theatricality and representation.
Often considered an anti-play due to its theatricality denial, Offending the Audience is a play with no plot. No story is being told at all. Instead, the audience is made aware that what they see is not a representation of anything else, but a literal fact. The actors continuously repeat the point that this is not a play, and that nothing theatrical will happen on scene.
Beign aware, as observers, of how their agency as subjects is taken away by western mass media imaginery, a volunteer group of students from Halabja Art Institute (Iraqi Kurdistan) performed for the camera a free reading and interpreting exercise of the play (Offending the Audience) in their native Kurdish. This actions were documented with video and photography.
The final presentation of the work, answers, as every choice made during the process, to a reflection on the paradigms that constitute the regulatory and representational contemporary frameworks: the concealment / deprivation and the replacement / substitution of a reference / subject .