Le Paysan de Paris and The Arcades

Since its publication in 1982, Das Passagen-Werk or the Arcades Project has been highly influential for the development of critical theory. The collection brings together notes on the city of Paris compiled by Walter Benjamin from 1927 until his death in 1940. Although unfinished, the Arcades Project can be seen as the culmination of Benjamin’s studies, both in form and content. Continue reading “Le Paysan de Paris and The Arcades”

The Empress of India & The Imperial Trophy

In the 19th century British imperial power had reached its height. Through strong trade and industrial development Great Britain had come to rule many parts of the world. As time went on the Victorians began to investigate the inhabitants of their colonies through images, literature, and exhibitions. Many of these images and artefacts stand as trophies of conquest and expressions of power as organised possessions.

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La Prose du Trans-sibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France

The Prose of the Trans-Siberien and of Little Jeanne of France is an artefact that is neither straightforwardly a book, nor an artwork. Published in Paris in 1913, it takes the form of a package that, once fully extended, is around two metres long and forty centimetres wide. Continue reading “La Prose du Trans-sibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France”

Sigmar Polke: Negative Value

‘Some day we shall no longer need pictures, we shall just be happy’

Sigmar Polke’s output changed constantly throughout his career but the topic of research remained the same. His statement above from 1966 suggests art as investigation, an investigation that is required under present conditions. As such, Polke’s work can be understood as a criticism of things as they are, and specifically, modern notions of reason and instrumental rationality.

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