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Lo spettacolo del naufragio: migrazioni, luoghi visuali e politica delle emozioni


«No "we" should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people's pain». Referring to Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag argues for re-thinking the debate on images of war starting from a new and troubling point: the "we" at whom such shock-pictures are aimed. If the spectacle of suffering can turn into a silent and unproductive sympathy, it is only questioning its viewers and their geometries of power that the field of visibility can become a space of responsibility and cultural criticism. The aim of this paper is to move beyond the contemporary European representation of migrations and to critically explore the political, economic and cultural relations underlying its production. If representation is the main field where humanization and dehumanization occur ceaselessly (Butler 2004), then it is only by deconstructing it that we can understand which bio- and necro-political regimes (Mbembe 2003) govern the lives of those who choose to migrate and the restrictive definition of what is considered human and what is not. These theoretical premises will critically open up the following questions: how visual frames regulate and control our representations of the migrant body? Which are the racialised matrices underlying these frames? What hierarchy of the human is implied in the event of vision and which are the political effects of these images? Which gazes and viewers these frames contribute to create? And, above all, is it possible today producing images able to interrupt this regime of visibility and to critically question that “we” which never should be taken for granted?