The Splenic Gaze

“The allegories of bourgeois culture do not find their truth content in an image of redeemed life, but, conversely, in an image of catastrophe. “Progress as catastrophe,” [in Benjamin’s language] therefore, is the sign under which the ruins of bourgeois civilization present themselves for decipherment to the splenic gaze of the allegorist, ‘The idea ofContinue reading “The Splenic Gaze”

Baroque

Situating your awareness of the ruins (of history and nature) in the present creates a scene where the distance between culture/nature collapses. Culture, as the short cycle of modern materials and their artificial cycle rapid in degeneration and violent destruction, and nature, as a slime dynamics of materia, have never been mutually exclusive categories. …andContinue reading “Baroque”

Imagine Scales That Exceed You

“In relation to the history of organic life of earth,” writes a modern biologist, “the paltry fifty millennia of homo sapiens constitutes something like two seconds at the close of a twenty-four hour day. On this scale, the history of civilized mankind would fill one-fifth of the last second of the last hour.” The present,Continue reading “Imagine Scales That Exceed You”

Baroque Ruins

History as a continuum of disaster. The concern of art is to present something enduring, yet something time-bound. In consequence it takes up the history of ruins, in its ‘material content,’ as a means of discovering ‘truth content.’ In Trauerspeil Benjamin writes, “Ultimately, in the death-signs of the baroque the direction of allegorical reflection isContinue reading “Baroque Ruins”

Walter Benjamin’s Speculative Theory of Knowledge

As symbolic entities, in their essential anticipatory structure, the ideas of the Prologue bear an important resemblance to the symbolic utopian images of Bloch’s philosophy. Both Bloch and Benjamin view traditional metaphysics as a vast, heretofore untapped wealth of utopian semantic potentials, and thus for both thinkers it is the task of reflection to attemptContinue reading “Walter Benjamin’s Speculative Theory of Knowledge”