Warhol, Zizek, and Foster: The Therapeutic Real In an interview, Andy Warhol noted of his “Death” pictures that “when you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it really doesn’t have any effect” (as quoted in Goldsmith, Wolf, and Koestenbaum 19). Zizek offered an explanation, by way of Freud, as to why repetition had this deadening effect on trauma: ...a trauma is by definition something one is not able to remember, i.e. to recollect by way of making it part of one’s symbolic narrative; as such, it repeats itself indefinitely, returning to haunt the subject...what repeats itself is the failure, impossibility even, to repeat/recollect the trauma properly (37). There is, however, some controversy as to whether the kinds of repetition...The end:
.....is the central insight of Warhol’s Ambulance Disaster and the corollary of Zizek’s dictum that repetition is a pathway to psychic therapy. Of course, we have lost meaning in the same transaction that brought us therapy, but that is a question for another analysis. References Benjamin, Walter. Selected Writings. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. Foster, Hal. The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. Goldsmith, Kenneth, Wolf, Reva, and Koestenbaum, Wayne. I’ll be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews. New York: Da Capo Press, 2004. Warhol, Andy. Ambulance Disaster. 1963-1964. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. Zizek, Slavoj. On Belief. New York: Routledge, 2001.