Category Archives: Theory

Hansen on Benjamin and Dauthendey’s self-portrait

“Benjamin’s often-cited passage concerning the double portrait of the photographer Dauthendey and his fiancée — who was to slash her veins after the birth of their sixth child — evokes a complex temporality in which the past moment encrypted in… Continue reading

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Azoulay on Benjamin’s reading of Dauthendey

“In his essay “A Short History of Photography,” Walter Benjamin analyzes a photograph of Karl Dauthendey and his wife. Dauthendey was one of the pioneers of daguerreotype photography in Germany. On viewing the photograph, Benjamin writes, the viewer feels an… Continue reading

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Hansen on Benjamin & Baudelaire

“If Benjamin sees the significance of Baudelaire in his having registered the shattering of aura and having given it the weight of an irreversible historic experience (Erfahrung), he finds in Proust a contemporary whose writing seeks to artificially reproduce, as it were, in the “deadly game”… Continue reading

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Smithson on The New Monuments

“Instead of causing us to remember the past like the old monuments, the new monuments seem to cause us to forget the future. Instead of being made of natural materials, such as marble, granite, or other kinds of rock, the… Continue reading

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Kracauer on Photography and History

“…the photographic media help us to overcome our abstract­ness by familiarizing us, for the first time as it were, with “this Earth which is our habitat” (Gabriel Marcel); they help us to think through things, not above them. Otherwise expressed, the photographic media make it much easier for us to incorporate the transient… Continue reading

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Donato on The Museum

“The set of objects the Museum displays is sustained only by the fiction that they somehow constitute a coherent representational universe. The fiction is that a repeated metonymic displacement of fragment for totality, object to label, series of objects to… Continue reading

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Betsky on the Jeffersonian Grid

“The Jeffersonian grid converted the continent into territory, in which the scale of the whole country specified itself down to states, communities, neighborhoods, farms, building sites, and finally into the rooms within each balloon frame structure. American became the Descartian… Continue reading

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Krauss on The Grid

“In the spatial sense, the grid states the autonomy of the realm of art. Flattened, geometricized, ordered, it is anti natural, anti mimetic, anterior. It is what art looks like when it turns its back on nature. In the flatness… Continue reading

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Benjamin on The Image, The Past & The Present

“Every present is determined by those images that are synchronic with it: every Now is the Now of a specific recognisability. In it, truth is loaded to the bursting point with time. (…) It is not that the past casts… Continue reading

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Solnit on The Visibility Wars

“William James imagined a war against war; if it is being fought today, it is fought in part by making the invisible visible. War is a stain that has sunk so deeply into the fabric of our society that it… Continue reading

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