The Performative Action of Trauma : Representation of Trauma in Prosthetic Culture
Kaam, Kim van
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis analyses the notion of trauma as ‘ownerless.’ Through the idea of mimesis, which is inherent to trauma as Ruth Leys and Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen theorised it, the experience of a traumatic event can be conceived of as not exclusively constitutive for traumatisation. Alison Landsberg’s theory of prosthesis makes it possible to incorporate a trauma one did not experience through mass mediation. It is argued that mimesis and prosthesis constitute a new perspective on trauma theories. The disownment of trauma also sheds a new light on the theory of representation, as trauma is inherently evasive of the latter. This thesis seeks to analyse a more experiential way of representing trauma in order to achieve prosthesis and thus a better understanding of trauma, while acknowledging the problems prosthetic representation, or mimetic incorporation can bring with it. In doing this, it focuses on the Holocaust in being the largest, most horrible trauma of the 20th century, which has been discussed very much in matters of representation. Finally, this thesis concludes with an analysis of the fake Holocaust memoir of Binjamin Wilkomirski, in which trauma, prosthesis, experience, and representation all come together.