Austerlitz 
: the museification of evil
 
Index
Austerlitz: the museification of evil 1 Index 2 1. Introduction 3 2. Theoretical Framework 5
2.1. Giorgio AgambenÕs theory 5 2.2 Austerlitz 8
3. Austerlitz and the representation of the Lager-Museum 9
3.1. The Lager-Museum and its aestheticisation 9 3.2. The sacred ritual within the Lager 12 3.3. The Lager as an alienating non-place 14
4. The memory of the Lager 17
4.1. A desire of memory: The Lager-Archive 17 4.2. The transformation of the Lager and the technical means of its representation 19
5. Conclusion 22 Syllabus 24
 
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1. Introduction
This research paper will draw a comprehensive analysis of the documentary film
 Austerlitz 
 by the Ukrainian filmmaker
Sergei Loznitsa
 and will investigate the philosophical and anthropological stances behind it, with regard to its content and its aesthetics. Indeed, as I will argue, LoznitsaÕs work takes as a starting point some of the most interesting philosophical theories on the Holocaust,  by merely filming the masses visiting the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, destination of hundreds of tourists everyday, given its proximity to the German capital, Berlin. On the other hand, it also appears to drive some clever and insightful thoughts on the contemporary relationship  between humans and culture in general. I will thus demonstrate that through its filmic medium
 Austerlitz 
 helps bring up some rather philosophical reflections on the aesthetic experience within a certain type of historical and traumatic places. Places that, as many scholars have claimed, tend to  be banalised by a spectacular filter. In this sense, it seems necessary for this research to focus mainly on the Italian philosopher
Giorgio Agamben
 and his theories about the
museification of the world
. Indeed, the work of Sergei Loznitsa and his portray of those tourists filmed in Sachsenhausen, wandering around the concentration camp, seem to fall into AgambenÕs reflections on the aestheticisation of human experiences, or rather of the world
tout court 
. The idea of a world transformed into a proper museum - where nothing can be used anymore, and everything is turned into a spectacle - appears to  be crucial, I will claim, in order to understand LoznitsaÕs work and how some places, which should have perhaps remained intact, are also bent to a spectacular and entertainment idea of history and traumas. Starting from this assertion, the paper will thus aim to find out whether it may be possible to talk about the Lager as a museificated, thus aestheticised structure that somehow perpetrates the division  between the
 sacer
and the
 profanus
 which Agamben utterly discusses in his book
 Profanations
, and which I will briefly explain in the following chapter. From there, then, the paper will also aim to investigate the mechanism behind the transformation of such places into museums, or rather Ò
places of culture
Ó. In order to do so, I will extend the research to many other scholars who enquired todayÕs conception and understanding of the Museum as an institution, and the issue of the possible representations of the Holocaust without any risk of
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trivialising and making a spectacle out of it
. However, the main focus will still remain AgambenÕs theory, given also the fact that many of the scholars whom I will use to support my arguments are also drawing - at least partially - on the theories of the Italian philosopher. Ultimately, I will delve into LoznitsaÕs method and approach to the subject, to inquire the correlations between his documentary and AgambenÕs theories, but mainly to demonstrate how his filmic work could be conceived as a re-elaboration on the general issues of representation and memory in todayÕs society, given the Lager and the Holocaust only as a starting point for a wider, more global and comprehensive analysis.
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2. Theoretical Framework
2.1. Giorgio AgambenÕs theory
The idea of the so-called museification of the world has its own principles and implications in Giorgio AgambenÕs theory of a millennial division between two spheres, the sacred (
sacer 
)
 
and the  profane (
 profanus
) ones. This clear separation between the former and the latter had been first established by religion. Since ancient times, when religion had a greater role within human societies, it has been necessary to distinguish between the world of the Gods and the one of men. Whereas men could experience, live, and make use of their own world, it was strictly forbidden to experience or even get close to the GodsÕ one, to enter into the sacred sphere. Therefore, in order to subtract things from the menÕs sphere and to bring them to the GodsÕ one, thus to perpetrate this division, religion had to create a sacrificial ritual that would reestablish the demarcation line between what was sacred and what was not. This ritual, as Agamben describes it, is called
consecration.
On the other hand, the opposite process, which brings back to a usable and experienceable sphere those objects which were before considered sacred, thus inoperable, is called
 profanation
. This means that the profane sphere is the sphere of everything that from sacred has  been made available and accessible again, thus crossing the line of demarcation, or rather experiencing it in
its utterly new potentiality
. In this sense, for Agamben, to profane something means to bring it from a sacred, thus unusable sphere, to a usable one, hereby to abolish the separation which makes something impossible to be experienced, or rather to ignore it. Indeed, Agamben himself does not use the word
abolizione
[abolition] but the word
negligenza
[negligence]: ÇProfanare significa: aprire la possibilitˆ di una forma speciale di negligenza, che ignora la separazione o, piuttosto, ne fa un uso particolareÈ [To  profane means: to open to the possibility of a special form of negligence, which ignores the separation or, rather, makes a special use of it] (Agamben, 2005: p. 85). In fact this act - in order to  be considered fully and truly profane - must also create another use, which
releases the object from the chain of a scope, and makes it idle
. In other words, Agamben claims that to profane means to neglect the established demarcation line between the
 sacer 
 and the
 profanus
, and at the same time to learn how to create a new use, namely to open to the possibility and the potentiality of
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