Siegfried Kracauer

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Siegfried Kracauer : « un outsider attire l'attention »

Papers People. Kracauer, penseur du medium photographique. Save to Library. Steirischer Herbst If something like fascism is approaching, popular film offers us opportunities to sense and grasp moments of uncertainty and non-inevitability in this approach. It gives us the contingency of social order and historical process in glimpses of truth to be taken literally: a Wahr-Nehmung in which sensibility carries over into grasping something true.

Nicht ausgemacht, schwer auszumachen: Materialistische Motive politischer Film-Wahrnehmung. Avant-propos, Siegfried Kracauer: Le voyage et la danse. This thesis re-examines the life's work of German-American critical theorist, Siegfried Kracauer, to recover abstraction from tacit historical associations with modern fascism. Evoked in critical theory more generally, the Evoked in critical theory more generally, the abstraction-to-fascism-teleology imagines 20th century fascism as the dialectical fulfillment of modern alienation.

I find such affirmations neglected in the Liberal and Marxist responses to the unemployment crises of the Great Depression in Germany. It is not only his last book and his opus magnum but literally his legacy to the humanities. This essay attempts to read his study His internal picture of his mother is confronted with the physical object.

Siegfried Kracauer - Cinema and Media Studies - Oxford Bibliographies

Proust calls this the photographic gaze. Now, if one reads Nietzsche, Proust, and Kracauer together, one arrives at an interesting combination of the visual metaphor and a metaphor related to time. For Nietzsche finishes this paragraph by saying that it is only by accepting a gaze entirely outside oneself that the historical gaze is created. The idea of seeing something historically means being able to see something from a distance. And to see historically means seeing it still as a whole—or, as Nietzsche says, as something past and whole.

At the same time, it is a gaze that Nietzsche describes as the legacy of religion. We see ourselves, so to speak, narcissistically enough, as the famous criminal or sinner—and naturally, we can do this only by appropriating a gaze from outside ourselves. Now, one can argue that this whole dialectic between the epistemological characteristics of the optical metaphor—the mechanical, the instrumental, and the aesthetic—this connection that Kracauer first formulates as the impenetrable legacy of historicism—also naturally applies to him, as well.

This means that one probably cannot escape at all from the pitfalls of historical philosophy. My main objection to the possibility of a synthetic general history is that historians try to present events occurring over the course of time as a unified plan, meaning, they present something as consistent when it is per se not at all unified and consistent.

The European émigré who became a philosopher of American cinema.

One of the best means of manipulating this is, of course, aesthetic composition in historiography. Art, that is, an aesthetic means of presentation, helps the historiographer to aim for consistency, which, in reality, does not exist in history. Here, Kracauer becomes a critic of ideology in two ways. He criticizes both historiography, which is hidden behind the aesthetics, as it were, and aesthetics, which acts as if it were able to represent causal coherencies.

Out of these two kinds of critique, film represents, for him, the potential of a different way of writing history, which, in turn, has something to do with the fact that the camera always records more than is intended. That means that whatever is intentional about human activity is suddenly broken off.


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  • The potential of film also always contains other, completely different histories. As a romantic idea of film as a medium that avoids these kinds of intentional setups, one might say that the film is the medium of this flow. What are the consequences of the observations Kracauer developed in his book on film theory and history? What does it actually mean—historicization in a medium that did not exist at the time when the thematic events occurred? For one can enrich language in terms of historicism with the sensitivity of the doctor and the author, but for eras that knew no visual media, what actually changes?

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    All of these stories about the aesthetics of the guillotine as a medium that created chains of meaning can be traced back to one study, The Guillotine and the Terror 22 by the French historian Daniel Arasse. He argues that the guillotine unleashed an endless array of pictures of severed heads, as well as the death mask and the practice of photographing the dead.

    There is, for example, the photographic technique of placing the head next to the body. It is, as a matter of fact, a metaphor for revolution; a sign of history, as Immanuel Kant would consider it. A sideways transition once again turns the whole thing into a theme, as the sense of drama that was associated with the guillotine throughout the nineteenth century.

    For the film stages the guillotine in French, the word for the locking mechanism on a camera, and hence the semantic link to cutting the rays of light, the rays of life—the light of life once again, and ends with the death mask, the portrait of the dead. Again, this establishes a link to photography. Allred, Mason. Baer, Nicholas. Munich Kracauer, Siegfried. Princeton Nietzsche, Friedrich. New York , f. Sykora, Katharina. Die Tode der Fotografie , Vol.


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    Viola, Bill. London Kracauer's Theory of History and Film. Gertrud Koch. Tellingly, Kracauer refers to Whitehead in order to clear up the concept of life when he writes: "Whitehead, for one, was deeply aware that scientific knowledge is much less inclusive than aesthetic insight, and that the world we master technologically is only part of the reality accessible to the senses, the heart. The History of Media and Media Historiography What are the consequences of the observations Kracauer developed in his book on film theory and history?

    Translated by Allison Moseley 1. Kracauer, Theory of Film, One can say that this embeds the isolated objects of science in the eventfulness of historical time.

    Frankfurt liest Siegfried Kracauers „Ginster"