Art, documentary and the essay film

Dossier PHILOSOPHY OF tHE ESSAY FILM Art, documentary and the essay film Esther LeslieFilm as document The moment when Siegfried Kracauer knew that he wanted to write of film as what he terms the ‘Discover of the Marvels of Everyday Life’ is relayed in his introduction to the Theory of Film from 1960.1 Kracauer recalls watching a […]

Defiance or emancipation?

Defiance or emancipation? peter hallward What is resistance? Rather than offering a conceptual definition, Howard Caygill’s new book* approaches resistance as a problematic and elusive practice that calls for reflective judgement in the Kantian sense. His point of departure is the claim that resistance demands appreciation on its own evolving terms, rather than as an […]

Extra, extra, read all about it!

extra, extra, read all about it! Contemporary art is postconceptual art Antonia birnbaum * Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, Verso, London and New York, 2013. vi + 282 pp., £60.00 hb., £19.95 pb., 978 1 78168 113 8 hb., 978 1 78168 094 0 pb. Numbers in parentheses in the […]

Generative grafting

COMMENT Generative grafting Reproductive technology and the dilemmas of surrogacy Elina staikou In 2013, at the advanced age of 101, Howard W. Jones, a medical pioneer in reproductive technology, published Personhood Revisited: Reproductive Technology, Bioethics, Religion and the Law. Looking back at the development of what came to be called the ARTs (assisted reproductive technologies), Jones […]

Socialism and the sea

Obituary Socialism and the sea Allan Sekula, 1951–2013 Photographer, film-maker, cultural theorist and political activist, Allan Sekula was one of the outstanding Marxist intellectuals of his generation. The author of pioneering histories of photography, he produced genre-shifting exhibitions, books and videos. Almost at the end of his life, he co-directed an award-winning documentary film, and […]

Benjamin’s International Reception

school leavers as well as retirees, part-time workers and the unemployed. How we communicate our work to different people and how we negotiate difference and dissent among ourselves are recurring questions. We are based in a small city; while there are fewer existing networks of solidarity than might exist in larger cities, there is also […]

Total social crisis and the return of fascism

Total social crisis and the return of fascism Elsa papageorgiou In memory of Sahtzat Loukman, 27 years old, murdered on 17 January 2013 in Athens, and Clément Méric, 18 years old, murdered on 5 June 2013 in Paris.This contribution seeks to mobilize certain concepts in order to symbolize what, in part, always resists symbolization. What […]

Look at his marvellous hands!

Reviews Look at his marvellous hands! Yvonne Sherratt, Hitler’s Philosophers, Yale University Press, New Haven CT and London, 2013. 336 pp., £25.00 hb., 978 0 30015 193 0. Yvonne Sherratt’s book on the response of philosophers to the Third Reich is written in the style of a docudrama. There are colourful descriptions of foliage in […]

Politics in a Tragic Key

Politics in a tragic key Alberto toscano In memory of Joel Olson (1967–2012)In the quarter-century or so since the obscure disaster of the Soviet bloc’s collapse, two words have been pinned to that of ‘communism’ with liberal abandon: ‘tragedy’ and ‘transition’. Tragedy, to signify the magnitude of suffering, but not the greatness of the enterprise; […]

On theoretical foundations: Theses on Brecht

Document Introduction to Walter Benjamin’s ‘Theses on Brecht’These four short paragraphs, translated here into English for the first time, were sketched out in Walter Benjamin’s hand on a sheet filed alongside a transcript for his radio talk ‘Bert Brecht’, broadcast on Frankfurter Rundfunk in June 1930.1 In content, they resemble ideas developed in other texts […]

Voyage au bout de l’ennui

After History: Alexandre Kojève as a Photographer, BAK, Utrecht, 20 May–15 July 2012; OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 21 September–16 November 2012; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 17 October 2012–7 January 2013. In a darkened room stand seven podiums, like black treadmills at a standstill. Each faces a digitized photo­graph projected onto a bare wall. The […]

174 Reviews

Reviews SWøWalter Benjamin, Early Writings, 1910–1917, trans. and intro. Howard Eiland, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 2011. 320 pp., £20.95 hb., 9 780 67404 993 2. This translated collection of forty-five of Benjamin’s early writings begins with his first published work, a poem that appeared pseudonymously just before his eighteenth birthday, and follows the tempestuous […]

Elementary

Ben Watson, Adorno for Revolutionaries, Unkant, London, 2011. 217 pp., £10.99 pb., 978 0 95681 760 0. David Cunningham In a much-cited March 1936 letter to Walter Benjamin, Adorno famously remarks of the separation between autonomous art and mass culture that, while both ‘bear the stigmata of capitalism’, and ‘both contain elements of change’, they […]

Faust on film

Faust on film Walter Benjamin and the cinematic ontology of Goethe’s Faust 2 Matthew charles Isn’t it an affront to Goethe to make a film of Faust, and isn’t there a world of difference between the poem Faust and the film Faust? Yes, certainly. But, again, isn’t there a whole world of difference between a […]

Occupy Time

3 Thanks to Anustup Basu for his generous help in the preparation of this article. See, in particular, Carlos Ruiz, De la república al mercado. Ideas educacionales y políticas en Chile, LOM Ediciones, Santiago, 2010. 4. ^ José Joaquín Brunner, Hernán Courard and Cristián Cox, Estado, mercado y conocimientos: políticas y resultados de la educación […]

Philosophy for children

Philosophy for children Matthew charles A well‑orchestrated public relations campaign led pri‑marily by educational charity The Philosophy Shop has helped raise the profile of the philosophy for children movement in the UK significantly over the last few years. Whilst The Philosophy Shop has been promoting its ‘Four Rs’ campaign to make ‘Reason‑ing’ a central feature […]

Robinson in Ruins

Robinson in Ruins New materialism and the archaeological imagination Paul dave Robinson in Ruins (2010) is the third of Patrick Keil er’s fictionalized documentaries featuring the investigations and struggles of his character, the ‘wandering, cracked scholar’ and political visionary, Robinson. [1] The first in the trilogy, London, was released in 1994, and the second, Robinson […]