By Sigrid Weigel
The decade has obvious a brand new wave of curiosity in philosophical and theoretical circles within the writings of Walter Benjamin. In Body-and Image-Space Sigrid Weigel, certainly one of Germany's prime feminist theorists and a popular commentator at the paintings of Walter Benjamin, argues that the reception of his paintings has thus far missed an important element of his notion - his use of pictures. Weigel indicates that it really is accurately his perform of pondering in photos that holds the main to knowing the complete complexity, richness and topicality of Benjamin's theory.
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Extra resources for Body- and Image- Space: Re-Reading Walter Benjamin (Warwick Studies in European Philosophy)
His readings of the latter became for him, in the context of the Passagen project which grew out of them, fragments of an ‘ur-history of modernity’ for which literature and written texts—in accordance with the theorem of readability—took their place alongside other scenes and figures. 2, 577; see CB 74), there are other heroes, multifarious types and figures of the modern city whose positions are distributed among both sexes. PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHORS IN THEIR ARCHIVES It is with these differing constellations that each of these two authors, Foucault and Benjamin, seems to have arrived at his own singular position, at the distinguishing mark of his own experience and attitudes.
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). If Foucault devoted his attention in his last works to an historical constellation in which he found discourses in their least ambiguous form, namely in prescriptive texts,6 Benjamin by contrast tested his theory of deciphering and readability not only on the ambiguous literary texts of modernity, but extended it to other cultural ‘texts’: to the topography of the city, to architecture, interiors, objects, fashions, and so on.
At first sight no greater contrast seems to be imaginable than that between the images and the discursive methods of the two thinkers: between the penetrative gaze and resolute bearing of the one and the contemplative, somewhat dreamy gaze and stylized gestures of the melancholic of the other; between Foucault’s lucid and systematic analysis of discourses on the one hand and Benjamin’s subtle literary thought-images on the other—although both these portraits would no doubt have appealed to Benjamin as illustrations of the physiognomy of the brooder (Grübler) beneath whose gaze the continuum disintegrates.