PRINT December 1997

Boris Groys

1 The Funeral of Diana The beautiful princess has traditionally played the role of mediator between life and death, fortune and defeat, power and the people. Either she was sacrificed to the dragon, or saved by the hero, or banished to the underworld, or awarded as the ultimate prize. At times she displayed compassion, at others vanity and cruelty—dealt out with the same mercurial hand as human fate. It’s no exaggeration to regard all of modern civilization as an attempt to replace the myth of the beautiful princess with something else—whether it’s communism, democracy, or an avant-garde. At century’s end we have come once again to see a beautiful princess as the embodiment of fate—and her funeral too, which grows into a global spectacle. Obviously it’s not just the fate of the Princess that’s being mourned here. The mourning’s also for all modern utopias, whose deaths have, out of false

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