Georges Didi-Huberman | Light against Light

    The disappearance of the fireflies—when the blinding glare of spotlights crushes the weak glimmer of glowworms in the night—is an excellent poetic allegory, a lovely “speaking image” on which to build something like a general poetics of light. This allegory has become familiar to us through the intervention of a great poet, Pier Paolo Pasolini.1 So we cannot be surprised that artists and thinkers have elevated this allegory in the field of aesthetics, and that it may lend itself as the title of an art exhibit. And yet its sole purpose is to ask, stubbornly, over and over…

Julian Murphet | “Wide as Targes Let Them Be,” or, How a Poem Is a Barricade

  The commons are what capitalism has always been committed to enclosing within its apparatus of accumulation.1 On their violently vacated place arise the motley privacies of individual contracts, rents, factories, banks, police, and all the interrelated paraphernalia of capital’s machinery of valuation and surplus. The commons themselves cannot be valued—they are beyond, prior to, value. Common land, common air, common water; but also, horticulture, animal husbandry, grain storage. The collective practices developed over millennia to harness the resources of our planet, and maximize human potentiality, form a sometimes vicious, sometimes virtuous feedback loop with the commons and dynamize their…

Esther Leslie | Fear Eats the Soul: Walter Benjamin & Baader Meinhof

Neither of the figures in my title – Walter Benjamin and The Baader Meinhof Group – are in any direct way associated with 1968 – indeed each brackets it in time. The one, Benjamin, was long dead by the time of the student and worker revolts, that would undoubtedly have thrilled him, even if they did not thrill his old friend Adorno, who called in the police on his revolting students. Benjamin’s adult thought emerges in the years of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and it reaches its final formulation in the dark days of Nazi rule, his death occurring…

Jean-Marie Straub / Danièle Huillet | Hölderlin, That Is Utopia

  Jean-Marie Straub: Hölderlin experienced the birth of the Wilhelmine Age. He was a young poet, full of high-flying plants; he said that himself. He was twenty-eight years old when he wrote The Death of Empedocles. In Germany between 1789 and 1798 all kinds of things had happened. Things had gone well for the ruling class, less well for other people. Büchner had had to flee, and some others as well . . . Hölderlin dreamed of the revolution—let’s call it that, even if the word is no longer in fashion today—a revolution that did not take place. As an…

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin  ⇒   PDF (Full book)       For a Marxist Poetics of Science: An Interview with Esther Leslie First published in Historical Materialism Can you tell us a bit about your intellectual and political formation? I come from a political family — my parents were Trotskyists, my grandparents on one side were anarchists and, on the other, one grandfather had been involved in unemployment marches. There was a strong sense of class consciousness and political engagement at home. My anarchist grandfather, who was German, was a book publisher and bookseller in London and so we were…