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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...
  • photography
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • film
  • media theory
  • History of photography
Current Texts

Dieter Mersch

Digital disrupture

We really need an analysis of algorithmic conditions and their paradoxes and ambiguities that gives them an adequate framework and horizon. But instead we currently seem to be finding an algorithmic solution of the algorithmic, much as digital solutions are being offered for the problems of the digital public sphere, in the way that IT corporations, for example, use exclusively mathematical procedures to evaluate and delete “fake news,” inappropriate portrayals, or the violation of personal rights. This tends to result in a circularity that leaves the drawing of boundaries and raising of barriers solely to programming, instead of restoring them to our ethical conscience and understanding of what the social could mean today. The machine, by contrast, remains alien to any mechanical limitation—just as its inability to decide lies in the impossibility of self-calculation. The nucleus of digital culture should instead be sought where the cultural of culture is located:...

Current Texts

Marcus Quent

Belief in the world is what we most lack.

It was Gilles Deleuze who in various contexts underlined that what we most lacked was “belief in the world.” The odd remark appears, for example, in a conversation in 1990 with the Italian Marxist Antonio Negri about revolutionary emergence and the political force of minorities. In this dialogue Negri examines his interlocutor’s thought in the light of the “problem of the political,” which connects the various stages of the philosopher’s intellectual biography. Deleuze’s remark here is the reprise of a motif that would be familiar to readers of his second book on cinema, which appeared in 1985, in which Deleuze contends that the “power of modern cinema” is based on its ability to “give us back” our lost “belief in the world.”

At the end of the conversation Negri asks his dialogue partner about the possibility of present-day processes of subjectivization. After initially emphasizing the “rebellious spontaneity” of such processes, Deleuze...


The Storming of the Winter Palace
The Forensics of an Image

24.11.2017 – 08.04.2018

HMKV im Dortmunder U
44137 Dortmund

Scripted Culture: Book launch

12.04.2018, 18:00

Dresdener Str. 118
10999 Berlin


  • Choreographing multitudes

    Choreographing multitudes

    • social movements
    • protest movements
    • swarm model
    • social networks
    • crowd
    • crowd psychology
  • Color and meaning

    Color and meaning

    Who is afraid of Red, Yellow, Blue…?

    • image and imagery
    • color
    • chromatics / colour science
    • semiotics and semiology
    • monochrome
  • minima oeconomica

    minima oeconomica

    Analysen und Kritik moderner Ökonomie, deren Wissenschaft und Legitmation im Zeitalter der Finanzialisierung

    • financial crisis
    • economics
    • discourse history
    • economy
    • economization
    • financial markets
Current Texts

Mark B. N. Hansen

Affectivity as Environmental Force

In contemporary developments in biomedia and digital computing, technicity opens the domain of the superempirical to experimentation and in this respect can be seen to contribute directly to the genesis of affectivity well beyond the affect-body-emotion complex. In the age of biotechnical convergence, the key issue is not “what bodies can be made to do,” as Clough puts it, but rather what matter is. Here we come upon the true significance of Clough’s insistence on the technicity of affect and its centrality for extending affect to the “dynamism of matter generally”: far from being a merely instrumental mediation that operates to produce affect or to give access to affect produced in something else, technicity operates within material fluxes themselves. It is an internal element in material processes that are themselves affective. What is needed then, to expand affectivity beyond bodily matter and bodily agency, is an account of technicity that...

  • epistemology
  • Alfred North Whitehead
  • affects
  • emotions
  • gender
Current Texts

Diana Coole

New Materialism

Over the past two or three years there has been much talk in the social and human sciences about a materialist turn. It is clear that this is not, however, a complete revolution back to older forms of materialism, even if some of their traces are still resonant. The new materialists are self-consciously positioning themselves in the wake of an earlier cultural turn towards linguistic modes of cultural analysis that included radical forms of constructivism, but also in response to new challenges and opportunities that are emerging through novel ways of understanding matter and handling objects.

My essay has two main parts. The first provides an overview by considering some of the ways a new materialism is being pursued, the sources from which it draws inspiration and the kind of vocabulary that is being used to invoke volatile process of materialisation. This includes a sketch of the new materialist ontology, with...

  • materialist turn
  • material aesthetics
  • materiality
  • thing/thingness
  • anthropology


Let’s find the stage of human affairs
Let’s find the stage of human affairs

Marion Muller-Colard, Clémence Pollet

Hannah Arendt's Little Theater

While about to finish her last book, the philosopher Hannah Arendt is disturbed by her stubborn alter ego, 9-year-old Little Hannah. Reluctantly, the old woman lets herself drag out onto the streets of New York and into constant conversation by the inquisitive little girl. They enter a little theatre, and together they watch mankind, society, politics, power evolve – and they also experience the role of Evil (in the person of a wolf and of numerous wooden puppets) and its...
  • acting
  • thinking
  • Evil
  • ethics
  • young readers
Current Texts

Roland Meyer

Crowds in augmented space

He must have had a long night. Now, at a quarter past eight in the morning, the young man is standing in front of the mirror with disheveled hair and a crooked tie and preparing himself for another day at the office. Beyond typical bathroom activity, however, this routine also entails that the man has to turn on his smart phone and switch his public profile from “party mode” to “work mode.” Once this has been done, whoever wants to learn any information about him will not be directed to his Facebook profile or Twitter feed but rather to his business card or to his latest professional presentation. This is a scene from a promotional video made by the Swedish company TAT, which designs user interfaces for smart phones. The concept being promoted is called “Augmented ID,” and TAT advertises the idea with the slogan “Adding a digital layer to...

  • Big Data
  • biopolitics
  • algorithms
  • data
Current Texts

Thomas Hirschhorn

»I lead a battle«

During my »Très grand Buffet« show in Fribourg, someone noticed that the works from the »Virus«, »Merci, Danke, Thank You« and »Les larmes« series were done in ball-point pens. And this person asked if I drew with »Bic« ball-point pens and said that the company »Bic« is a financing supporter of Le Pen. An information in an official journal on the financing of political parties announced this fact. It’s shit to support Le Pen. But it’s also shit to have to think about these questions.

  • polemic