The dialectical debt-image

Nicholas Mirzoeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay asks what is “the image of unpayable debt”? I approach Ferreira da Silva’s assemblage from the angle delineated by Walter Benjamin’s concept of the “image,” a multi-layered composite of time-spaces. I include Benjamin’s weak Messianism, via the democratic debt jubilee, and the general strike reconfigured for the present as the feminist strike against debt. The “image” formed in this process is multiple and sedimented with layers of time-space, containing a caesura. This “break” is comprised of weak Messianism and blackness. The essay concludes by asking how the debt-image can be projected into the world as the general strike.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalCultural Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • blackness
  • debt
  • general strike
  • image
  • jubilee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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