Saturday, March 05, 2005

Interesting story today in Deutsche-Welle.

Evidently there's a new art exhibition in Berlin which looks at the lives of various members of the Red Army Faction, or RAF.

For those unfamiliar with the group, the RAF was a socialist guerilla group in the former West Germany which carried out numerous terrorist attacks over three decades. The predictable debate is whether the forum of an art exhibition necessarily dignifies terrorist activity, or whether it might be possible to hold the exhibition in such a way that dignity is withheld even as an "understanding" of that activity emerges.

Not sure where I stand yet on the question. But it's certainly interesting, especially if you transfer it to an American context. What if someone tried to hold an art exhibition devoted to understanding the lives of the 9/11 hijackers? Or to the life of Timothy McViegh? Or to the lives of those, say, who bombed abortion clinics?

Is there any context in which such an exhibition would be deemed acceptable? If so, where do you draw the line?


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