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Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Nguyễn Văn Lém on February 1, 1968 (Eddie Adams)

I think of how Delueze affirmed Dostoyevskian logic: “If you insist on banging your head on the wall all the time, life becomes impossible.” And yet this impossibility is an amazing thing, because as Delueze continues: “A creator who isn’t grabbed around the throat by a set of impossibilities is no creator,” and “A creator’s someone who creates their own impossibilities, and thereby creates possibilities.” But how can I look at a photograph of a gun pointing to the head and imagine an impossibility that becomes a possibility, especially if I have to imagine a gun to the head as the ultimate breakdown of order, the improbability of salvation, like what we see in an execution? If hope is not shaped first as despair what might it look like?

I write because I recall the infamous 1974 situation (which is first a kidnap, and then the victim joins forces with her captors against the world) when Patty “Tania” Hearst (the victim) says, “There is no victory in half-assed attempts at revolution.” I know that anything done halfway will probably kill you; the gun has to point to your head, right at your place of discomfort. You must look for positive troubles. We end with Delueze: “Creation takes place in choked passages,” in an abandoned filling station, for example.

Dilemma of the New Age (2012) in Aba, Nigeria, by Emeka Okereke

Follow Emmanuel on Twitter @emmaiduma


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Emmanuel Iduma​ was born and raised in Nigeria. Emmanuel is the author of The Sound of Things to Come. He received an MFA in art criticism and writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York.