A re-transcription of Charles Reznikoff’s book Holocaust—a poetic composition that appropriates the transcriptions from the speech of witnesses at the Eichmann and Nuremberg trials—into the shape of Hello Kitty. Part cartoon cat, part ubiquitous icon of popular pleasures, part branding of mouthless feminine forms, part symptom of our collective enthrallment with the cutely dependent and the seductively silent.
Visitors: Sit at the desk: listen, look and write. Make your own Hellocast, to take home or leave in front of the big kitty.
Divya Victor is from India, Singapore, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Buffalo. She has a Masters from Temple University and is a PhD. candidate in the English Department at SUNY Buffalo. Her work has appeared in ambit: journal of poetry and poetics, XConnect, ixnay reader 3, dusie, President’s Choice, P-QUEUE and Drunken Boat. Her recent chapbooks are SUTURES (Little Red Leaves) and Hellocasts By Charles Reznikoff by Divya Victor by Vanessa Place (ood Press). http://oodpress.net/
Writer’s Statement: Hellocast’s appropriation of transcriptions marks the difference between the roles of the witness and the historiographer. It demands that we examine the relationship of these roles to the artist who may or may not speak on behalf of someone, something, somewhere.
Hello Kitty, the cat, has no mouth. Hello Kitty, the brand, always speaks for itself; is always spoken for by its consumer; is a felicific felicitation of affirmed desires. The brand is the document of a figure’s reluctance to speak for itself. What is the distinction between the event of the Holocaust and the documents that brand it?
Hellocasts is a spoken address and a casting of documents into a new lot. As such, it is both a wager and acknowledgement of our belated presence in any historical event. How do we give an account of ourselves within a history for which we must be accountable? How is being accountable related to giving an account in art?
The interaction between Hellocasts, Holocaust, and the post-Holocaust trials bring the crisis of the question “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” into the aesthetic field and make it art’s wager; its Hippocratic, hypocritical, hypothetical oath; its promise to act.
A Holocaust is a complete burning, a total consumption by fire. But this complete loss comes with its remnants— ash, memory, trauma, institutions. Hölderin reminds us: “The remnant is what the poet found”. It is this remnant that the speech of the trials, the writing of Reznikoff, and the writing of Hellocasts continues to transcribe through the work of a body writing on a wall and a body writing at the desk. It is a writing of a saying of a writing of a writing of a writing of a writing of a saying. The remnant is always present in a continuum of bodies speaking of what has already happened. The remnant is what remains unsaid while being spoken of or written out. The remnant asks us to continue.