What Hannah Arendt calls the ‘total state’ that totalitarianism proffers, for example, is one, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy suggest, in which ‘I’ can be just as totally represented to myself as a subject. On the one hand, such phantasies appear to erase the self by transforming identity into a limited set of masks, each wearing the grimace of the common good, and which testify to the uniformity of the ‘masses’ for whose sake the subject is willing to sacrifice its difference. (152)Such a totalitarian state represents the difficulty of maintaining the distinction between the self and non-self even when it would seem that the rediscovery of the one in the other would grant a much-needed redemption. In this sense, Stonebridge’s discussion of the postwar work of wartime trauma indicates how aesthetic notions of “staging” and the “frame” perform the work of keeping open a space for reverie.
picture: Marian Milner, On Not Being Able to Paint