Download Body-and image-space : re-reading Walter Benjamin by Benjamin, Walter; Weigel, Sigrid; Benjamin, Walter PDF

By Benjamin, Walter; Weigel, Sigrid; Benjamin, Walter

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Extra resources for Body-and image-space : re-reading Walter Benjamin

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The composition of the text stands in chronological proximity to the first phase of Benjamin’s work on the Passagen project (1927–29), in the context of which he also set out his conception of the dialectical image, something he would develop further in the second phase of the project (1934–40). The proximity between the two concepts is, however, more than merely chronological. 3 In both concepts representation (Darstellung) and idea (Vorstellung) coincide, and both have in common that they break the dimension of time out of the linear order in which it is traditionally structured.

Whereas in the first image the subject draws on an energy generated by a movement external to himself, in the closing image the mechanical movement has as it were become part of him: his face has itself become mechanical, is in a state of perpetual vibration or ceaseless ringing, so that time is completely filled by a combination of sound and movement—and thus ceases to obtain as a category. This image occurs at the end of a text which in terms of its style mimetically performs the transformation of the Surrealist revolt into revolution that it invokes, a text which develops as at an increasingly accelerated pace until it explodes in an uninterrupted striking of the alarm (Wecker-Anschlag).

Foucault here differentiates between a ‘language that says POLITICS OF IMAGES AND BODY 35 nothing, is never silent, and is called “literature”’ (1970:306) and discourse —discourse, that is, in the sense of a unity of general grammar in accordance with the model of simple representation such as pertained in the Classical age. He understands literary language as a kind of counterdiscourse (p. 44), and thus literature as the reappearance of language ‘in a multiplicity of modes of being, whose unity was probably irrecoverable’, of language ‘in an enigmatic multiplicity’ (1970:304, 305).

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