User account

Humanities

Lawless: Clouds Reprise
Lawless: Clouds Reprise

Ute Holl

The Moses Complex

The Moses complex derives its actuality from recalling the emergence of cultures as fields of mutually engendering relationships. From the perspective of media studies, which is a science of differential relationships between materialities and immaterialities, noises and messages, channels and signals, apparatuses and perceptions, the relationship to God or gods turns out to be one between people and their systems of thought. So media studies argues against fundamentalism, whether ontological, anthropological, or technicistic. The figure of Moses is a decisive node...
  • Jean-Marie Straub
  • community
  • Danièle Huillet
  • exile
  • Arnold Schönberg
Current Texts

We need more planetary dimensions!

My life-long engagement in the project of nomadic subjectivity rests on a specific cartography of our globalised times, marked by large-scale and technologically-mediated transformations of our social, economic and political universes. I start from the assumption that, as a result of these upheavals, traditional forms of self-representation, familiar cultural points of reference and age-old habits of thought are being re-composed, albeit in contradictory ways.

Our historical context is marked by the schizoid structure of technology-driven advanced capitalism, as Deleuze and Guattari lucidly put it. Examples of the non-linear and internally contradictory ways of the working of this system are the vast accumulation of wealth alongside growing disparities in income, well-being and access to the very technologies that sustain our economy. Another example is the paradox of a world economy linked by a thick web of transnational flows of capital and labour, which functions through different forms and speeds of mobility, including...

  • identity
  • globalization
  • feminism
  • capitalism
  • Europe
Current Texts
“Identity, fragile, gives way to identity”

“Identity, fragile, gives way to identity”

  • subjectification
  • identity
  • Kathy Acker
  • politics
  • emancipation / liberation
  • Theodor W. Adorno
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Félix Guattari
Current Texts

Fragility is the only thing I really know about me

I am not a very balanced person. I am fragile and sad – almost as described in Triste Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I feel both those adjectives, I grew up with them. I was aware of my fragility even when I was very young – a baby, learning to walk, living somewhere in Africa and already feeling that the number of white persons was very small compared to the number of black persons and also noticing that most of the black persons that I met were gardeners or maids. I felt – I am sure I am not lying – even at that very young age, not a sense of injustice, but a sort of guilt.

Guilt for what? My parents were nice people, they treated everyone well. My father was avidly learning languages, he spoke many African languages and also Pidgin English very well and he used to speak it...

  • film d'auteur
  • subjectivity
  • identity
  • autofiction

 

Topics
Topics

The development of cultural screens

The radicalisation of the process of civilisation is a challenge to art, even an overwhelming one. High-modernist art, with its claims to understanding and expressing the world, positioned within a world that has become highly complex, is challenged by itself.

How is one to dance against Auschwitz or Hiroshima?

The sheer attempt to “dance against” anything would be naïve! Art after modernism – and I think the date 1945 would serve very well as a point of reference – had to and must now relinquish its own irresolvable complexity and retreat. It becomes in a sense truly radical but it would be more accurate to say it becomes nuclear, focussing on the core. Beckett’s plays are destilled cores – their greatness lies in their smallness. Absolute music, absolute art – Merce Cunningham’s dance could well be termed absolute dance in this sense – cristallises something from out of the cultural forms of bourgeois art, something which can...

  • politics
  • crisis
  • body
  • dancing
  • immunization
Topics

Truth is separated from knowledge

I think that we can speak today, after the last century, of a classical revolutionary politics. And my thesis is that we are beyond this classical revolutionary politics, the most important characteristic of which is, in my conviction, what I call expressive dialectics. Certainly, political struggle, insurrection, revolution are not structural effects – neither in the classical conception – they are moments, and we have to grasp the moment, name the circumstances, and so on. But finally, the moment, the political struggle, expresses, concentrates the social contradictions. And that’s why an insurrection can be purely singular and universal. Purely singular because it’s a moment, the pure moment, and universal because finally this moment expresses the generality of fundamental contradictions.

In the same way – and it’s another part of expressive dialectics – the revolutionary party, the revolutionary organisation represents the working class. And finally we have the famous sentence of Lenin about the very heart...

  • potentiality
  • justice
  • emancipation / liberation
  • politics
  • ethics

 

Essays on Photography by Siegfried Kracauer
Essays on Photography by Siegfried Kracauer

Siegfried Kracauer, Philippe Despoix (ed.), ...

The Past's Threshold

There can be no doubt, however, that in Kracauer’s texts published at the turn of the 1920s and the 1930s from his position as an editor of the cultural pages at the daily newspaper Frankfurter ­Zeitung, then in the 1950s during his American period, he sketches out a theorisation of photography that can be described as groundbreaking. But it is also true that most of his works overlap, in more than one way, with this medium of reproduction or that...
  • History of photography
  • media theory
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • film
  • photography
Current Texts

Xavier Le Roy’s “Le Sacre du printemps”

In Le Roy’s Sacre the audience is not an “audience” in the sense of a closed unity; not an audience as a multitudinous communal body that is positioned opposite the “body” of performers (orchestra/ballet) of a performance of Le Sacre du printemps. The other side, the opposite is inverted the moment Le Roy – back on stage with his back to the audience – turns around to face it and, imitating a conductor’s movements, treats it as an orchestra, as if he were standing face to face with the various groups of musicians to whom he was giving cues. At his moment of turning the unities of the normal performance set-up collapse, and the conventions of representation are shaken. This theatrical “as if” – Le Roy conducting the audience as a fictitious orchestra – points once again to the aesthetic negativity of this process. The gaze – the gaze back, from the stage into the...

  • the public
  • performativity
  • reception
  • politics
  • body
Current Texts

A New Materialist Approach to 4Chan

From Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs in 2003 to Felix Stalder’s concept of Digital Solidarity in 2013, the Internet has inspired and still inspires the dream of new sorts of collectivity, of a potentially free and open space of information and communication that would emancipate and unite the people. These discourses often employ the swarm metaphor, the “ephemeral and apparently ‘grass-roots democratic’ conception of collectivity” that suggests emergent cooperation or solidarity and is therefore also used to point to new emancipatory politics.

The notion of a solidary swarm is especially interesting with regard to present forms of governmentality: On the one hand, it stands for subversive moments within societies of control or biopolitical capitalism, as it can point to new forms of sociality that overcome logics of neoliberal competition. On the other, inspiring swarm behavior is one way of governing in neoliberal capitalism. As the notion of the online swarm and, more...

  • digital culture
  • Bruno Latour
  • democracy
  • Anonymous
  • affects