TABLE OF CONTENTS

ALLEGORICAL IMPERATIVE: SILVIA KOLBOWSKI’S AFTER HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR

IN HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR’S opening montage, Alain Resnais’s camera glides through Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum, pausing before various reconstructions of horror—masses of anonymous hair; a gnarled, heat-blasted bicycle; a photograph of the bombed city reminiscent of Guernica—before moving on to a pearl-encrusted gift shop model of the Palace of Industry, a symbol of the city’s once-thriving military-industrial production, and then to a bus with the words ATOMIC TOURS printed on its side. An attractive young tour guide speaks cheerfully through a microphone to passengers (though we hear only two alternating, melancholy piano notes) as the bus motors through “New” Hiroshima, which is spare, modern, angular, clean. The subtext here is barely sub: Industrial capitalism, urban culture, and eternal war are not just interrelated but on some level indistinguishable.

This is indisputable, but

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.