Scott Contreras-Koterbay, behind podium, is shown as he begins his presentation Monday evening (9/24) at Tusculum College.
His program featured photographs taken of Holocaust survivors and American soldiers who liberated them. The individuals shown were photographed in recent years and new live in Tennessee. Contreras-Koterbay’s presentation in the Allison Gallery was part of the Humanities Series presented by Tusculum College’s English Department.
Contreras-Koterbay, an East Tennessee State University educator, art historian and philosopher, explored how people with no personal connection with either the survivors or soldiers could view the photographs, basing his analysis on ideas and theories of French psychoanalyst and post-structuralist philosopher Jacques Lacan.
According to Lacan’s theories, he said, an individual would not be able to personally relate to the “otherness” of the experiences of those in the photos because of the horrible circumstances and the number of years that have passed, which would leave an emptiness and, thus, create a lasting remembrance of their experiences. The photographs of Holocaust survivors and their American soldier liberators are on display through Nov. 29 at the Carroll Reece Museum on the campus of ETSU in Johnson City.