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 well known commentator at the paintings of Walter Benjamin, argues that the reception of his paintings has to this point neglected an important element of his idea - his use of pictures. Weigel indicates that it truly is accurately his perform of pondering in pictures that holds the main to figuring out the entire complexity, richness and topicality of Benjamin's theory.
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Additional resources for Body- and Image- Space: Re-Reading Walter Benjamin (Warwick Studies in European Philosophy)
On the one hand it is true that in the essays of 1933, the ‘Doctrine of the Similar’ and ‘On the Mimetic Faculty’, Benjamin now explicitly takes theoretical account of the body, integrating it into his modified version of the theory of language magic. Moreover, it is clear from these essays that the concept of ‘non-sensuous similitudes’ (unsinnliche Ähnlichkeiten) developed by Benjamin in this context emerged from a distinction from lost ‘corporeal resemblance’ (Leibähnlichkeit) (GS VI, 193). 12 It seems rather to be the case that in his early language theory Benjamin does not as yet differentiate between the motifs of aura—the raising of the eyes, for example—and those of magic and immediacy, whereas the immediacy in the conception of body- and image-space has lost its auratic character, since here the distinction between the perceiver and the perceived, the naming and the named, and between man and nature has been eliminated in so far as body-space and imagespace are themselves indistinguishable.
This is at any rate the case in his ur-history of modernity in which he, rather than (re) constructing historical discourses, adopts the stance of the collector of quotations and of the reader. 1, 227; OGT 47). And for Foucault the archive is ‘first the law of what can be said, the system that governs the appearance of statements as unique events’ (Foucault 1972:129). Their work on the archive regularly took both of them to the institutionalized archive, the place in which tradition was preserved, which meant, in concrete topographical terms, above all to the Bibliothèque Nationale where both of them would periodically disappear behind veritable mountains of books—so that they might well never have encountered each other even if their visits to the archive had not been decades apart.
Simultaneously with the proposal of a genealogy and archaeology of techniques of the self and modes of constituting the subject, then, Foucault situates his own work as it were in a genealogy of the history of these arts of existence. With this he places his last major project, the analysis of the genealogy of ‘desiring man’ (1987:13) deriving from antiquity, inter alia in proximity to the work on an ‘ur-history of modernity’ with which Benjamin was occupied for more than the last ten years of his life and nearly half a century before Foucault.
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