there is survival in action. She has committed multiple suicides in this attempt at survival over
the years; each one further mutilating her personhood to make herself less offensive to the world
outside, making herself small to be easily received. So, she is on a mission to decipher messages
from her departed-selves, prior-versions of her that she believed made it impossible for her body
to survive. Her other-than-conscious-mind visually realizes a deeply ingrained impression of the
sites of these suicides and is able to access the visuality of these moments. These paranormal
messages guide her in this journey in the form of photographic and archival impulses. Her
photographic documents have the capacity to act as a catalyst for her to access a certain
psychology. This access, and the subsequent negotiation, is what allows the Girl, Departed to
discontinue the violence done to her. My notion of discontinuation must be considered in relation
to Butler’s assertion of continuation in the context of the American military torture the victims in
the Abu Ghraib photos endured. Butler states, “the photograph is a kind of promise that the event
will continue... producing an equivocation at the level of the temporality of the allows
the event to continue to happen, and I would suggest that, because of the photo, the event has not
stopped happening.”
My question to Butler is: if the event that an image is continuing is an
event of a rupture-in-oneself that ultimately provides the individual clarity to understand how
their personhood is not dictated by their torture, is that still a continuation of their torture? Or, is
it rather an event of ceasing the torture done to them? To say the image documenting the event of
torture, or visuality of torture and violence, can only continue the torture and violence on to the
victim would imply that the victim is never getting out of it alive, never to escape the torture; it
would mean that they are destined to live in this perpetual cycle of punishment and anguish. I am
hopeful that this is not the only way a photograph functions in terms of torture and violence. It is
pertinent to understand that I am not implying these acts of military torture are the same as
Butler. "Torture and the Ethics of Photography. (959-961)