Thursday, 27 November 2008
"And in 2835, time started to slow, just a little at first, but it was enough to throw everything out. The rules of physics started to adjust, and managed for a while, but the slow down increased and soon all the established laws started to break down. After a couple of years electricity, magnetism all started to fail. Gravity was our worst problem...."
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Walter Benjamin not only mentioned Mickey Mouse in the first (1935) version of the famous essay best-known in English as 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', but also left among his papers a whole bundle of press-cuttings and notes on the very same rodent.
Walter Benjamin's had a positive response (from 'Erfahrung und Armut' ['Experience and Poverty'], an essay of 1933) to the dissolution of form in early Mickey Mouse: 'The existence of Mickey Mouse is just such a dream of today's people. His existence is full of miracles, which not only outdo technical wonders, but make fun of them too a redemptive existence appears'
For Walter the early animated cartoons populate the collective dream-landscape of the twentieth century, and may yet have a redemptive message for the twenty-first
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Before he died Professor Schickt made three predictions:-
A great bird would come from the orient and shit in the ocean.
No two men would be alike.
Time would come to an end.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
But a difficult question remains. Does any kind of fuse or trail lead from his words to their deeds? If so, it would mark a striking instance of the general problem: how responsible is a thinker for the fate of his/her ideas? Such questions were hardly foreign to Benjamin. He had, he wrote only a year before Hitler seized power, not yet considered what meaning might be extracted from Nietzsche’s writings ‘in an extreme case’. But who, or what, determines, precisely when such a case obtains? Does the trajectory of the Red Army Faction (which will here henceforth be termed the RAF) raise in retrospect the question of the political meaning that might be wrested, in an extreme case, from Benjamin’s writings – especially since such states of emergency were their common concern?
The Municipal Buildings were opened on 17th April 1884 by the Mayor Alderman Edwin Woodhouse. The Library consisted of a reading room, lending library and reference library. The reading room was sited in the Tiled Hall at the front of the building. The Yorkshireman described the reading room on opening as ‘a magnificent place. The floor is the finest parquetry in oak, walnut and ebony..’ The roof was so magnificent it was feared that ‘people will be continually gazing up at it, instead of quietly reading the magazines and newspapers.’
Thursday, 13 November 2008
The modern world has the horror-face of an endless movement of conveyor-belt commodity production.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Their appeal to Walter was that of the "petrified, frozen or obsolete components of culture", such as fossils, or plants in herbariums. Benjamin, it could be said, was attracted to everything which was alienated from "homely aliveness".
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
"The Arcades Project, whatever our verdict on it - ruin, failure, impossible project - suggests a new way of writing about a civilization, using its rubbish as materials rather than its artworks: history from below rather than from above. And [Benjamin's] call (in the 'Theses') for a history centered on the sufferings of the vanquished, rather than on the achievements of the victors, is prophetic of the way in which history-writing has begun to think of itself in our lifetime." - J. M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books;
Monday, 10 November 2008
He simply could not "respond rightly to false circumstances - that is, with something "right", he could only respond via a "necessary, symptomatic, productive falseness."
This is why he never joined the German Communist Party, or indeed any other organisation with its own form of "right".
Friday, 7 November 2008
"For it is another nature which speaks to the camera rather than to the eye: 'other' above all in the sense that a space informed by human consciousness gives way to a space informed by the unconscious."
Photographic images reveal the phantamasgoric, physiognomic aspects of the image worlds which exist in parallel with our normal world, like parallel universes just a second out of sync with ours, like dreams, like the unconscious.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
1985. It was while working as a Librarian at the University that Benjamin first came across Miss L. He was sharing a house with a couple of students and Lomay had moved into the spare room for a little while, until she found something more suitable. Lomay was the most beautiful creature Walter had ever seen, she was womanly, voluptuous even, a far cry from his wife who had been overweight or Asja who was scrawny as hell. Walter did his usual trick of trying to become friends with her. He hung around her so much; he neglected his duties and got into trouble with Professor Schicht.
Anyway, none of Walters’s usual tactics had got him anywhere. It’d been dragging on for months now; it was just like that time in Moscow with Asja. And then one week, suddenly everything changed. Lomay had always been flirty but suddenly she was more so, it was as if she’d discovered ecstasy or sex or something. He heard a story about something that had happened in The Venue nightclub, where apparently she’d been dancing all night, (She loved to dance), real sexy and letting guys rub up against her and all that; caused a bit of a scene she did. The story went, so his friend Heine, (who was prone to poetic exaggeration), told him, that the night ended with Lomay writhing on the dance floor simulating sex with a long line of potential suitors. She’d been snogging anyone and everyone, they’d actually been lining up to snog her, laughing about it as they stood in line, you know how guys are about that sort of thing. Ended up where she had her skirt hoiked up and they were all fingering her through her pants. Walter was amazed and kind of wished he’d been there.
When he saw her later that day, she was totally normal, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened at all.
Later that week a mutual friend was having a house party and Walter had managed to swing it so that he and Lomay would go together. Let’s hope she gets all sexed up again, thought Walter, this is my big chance. The night of the party and she was wearing an incredibly short skirt, high heels, beautiful, just beautiful. Those legs, thought Walter, just the chance to get his hands on those legs.
The party was nothing special, just a bunch of people standing around in rooms and hallways. He kept on losing Lomay, and whilst she was drinking, there was no sign of her going sex crazy again. She was flirting with a lot of different guys, and whenever he caught sight of her she was usually draped around some guy’s shoulders.
He lost her again, for the best part of an hour and stood around the stairwell hoping she’d have to pass that way. He chatted to K that toady of Professor S. It was pretty obvious that K held him in disdain and whilst they chatted for quite a while, both were just passing the time till someone more interesting came along. Didn’t want to be seen to be standing alone.
They talked about Lomay a little bit as the story about the nightclub had got around and K had heard that back in Japan she’d been going out with a guy for the last 4 years and he’d finished with her a couple of weeks ago. Turned out he’d met someone else. Well, that might explain a lot though Benjamin.
The night drags on and Benjamin goes into the kitchen to get another beer. There’s Lomay standing by the back door. Everyone is chatting and Benjamin gets caught by K again. Looking over, Walter notices that Lomay is standing on her own with no one talking to her. She’s looking around and is a bit twitchy; she seems to be nervous somehow.
Suddenly she pipes up, “Anyone want to fuck me?” This is in the middle of a kitchen, packed with guys. Pretty much everyone looks round, amazed. Lomay, “Seriously, I really need a fuck. Come on, who want to?” Everyone there is pretty embarrassed and looks at each other not really knowing what to do. Silence. Eventually a couple of Pakistani guys who’ve crashed the party say they’ll have a go; “Yeah, go on”, and she leads them both by the hand out into the garden. It’s dark outside so they become only vague shapes. Most people leave the kitchen, embarrassed to hang around. Under his breath Kroll says, “Fuckin unbelievable, what a fucking slag.” Benjamin; “Yeah” The garden door is open, and Walter stares out into the darkness…….
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
"The course of history as represented in the concept of catastrophe has no more claim on the thinking man's attention than the kaleidoscope in the hands of a child. With each new twist, everything collapses into a new order. The image is thoroughly well grounded. The concepts of the rulers have always been the mirrors by which the image of an 'order' was established. - The kaleidoscope must be smashed."
Monday, 3 November 2008
"Is this dull multitude not waiting for a disaster great enough to strike a spark from its own inner tension: a conflagration or world-end, something that could suddenly convert this velvet thousand-voiced murmuring into a single cry, as a gust of wind suddenly exposes the scarlet lining of a cloak? For the piercing cry of terror, panic dread, is the other side of all authentic mass celebration. In the unconscious depths of mass existence, conflagrations and celebrations are both only so much play, preparation for its coming of age, the hour when panic and celebration, now recognising the other as a long-separated brother, embrace one another in the revolutionary uprising.