The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of by Esther Peeren (auth.)
By Esther Peeren (auth.)
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Additional info for The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility
7, emphasis in text) Although the passage starts by invoking a ‘someone’ that ‘looks at us’, we do not ‘see’ this looking through its eyes; instead, the specter’s look is immediately drawn onto and then focalized by ‘us’. This focalization is paradoxical, as it takes place ‘before and beyond any look on our part’; it is an unseeing focalization that proceeds not through the eyes but through other senses, haptically, hauntingly: ‘we feel ourselves being looked at by it’. The ghost’s look may be unmasterable, leading ‘us’ to ‘an essentially blind submission to his secret’, but it only shows through ‘our’ blindness (7).
1 Forms of Invisibility: Undocumented Migrant Workers as Living Ghosts in Stephen Frears’s Dirty Pretty Things and Nick Broomﬁeld’s Ghosts The undocumented migrant workers at the center of the two British ﬁlms analyzed in this chapter, Stephen Frears’s Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and Nick Broomﬁeld’s Ghosts (2006), are physically present and visible, yet remain unseen. They may thus be said to appear as living ghosts, with the comparison grounded primarily in the aspect of transitional invisibility, the way ghosts are not fully or consistently apprehensible.
Yet toward the end of his text, he begins Introduction: The Spectral Metaphor 23 to recuperate the spectral as a possible way to combat the ghosting effects of late capitalism. First, in the form of the ‘spectral quality’ of Spinoza’s pathema, ‘a dual state of mind, which is between passivity and activity and lives in the present though it is prefabricated in memory, enduring the past while turned towards action’ (Negri 11). Here, ‘between passivity and activity’ recalls the ‘neither passive nor active’ of Derrida’s es spukt, while the pathema, which Spinoza called ‘a confused idea’, equally challenges the unmixed (qtd.