Technology has a history structured by discontinuities. The first important philosophical expression of such a conception of technology was advanced by Walter Benjamin when he defined art works in relation to specific techniques of production. At the present art and architecture occur within an age defined by the move from ’technical reproducibility’ to digital reproducibility. The move has an impact on how technology is understood and its relation to architecture conceived. Adapting Walter Benjamin’s work in this area provides the basis (...) for a response to Soren Riis’ important treatment of the relationship between architecture and technology in his paper “Dwelling in-between walls: the architectural surround”. (shrink)
Abstract The role of actual works of art with philosophical writing is often reduced to the status of example or illustration. As such the materiality of art work is rarely discussed let alone deployed as the basis of philosophical reflection. In this paper works by Francesco Mosca, and Bernini are used to question Heidegger's writings on sculpture. What such an approach opens up is the possibility that art may set the measure for philosophy.
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
The relationship between the hand and the eye and thus between touch and sight is the mark of a founding instability; an instability, it can be argued that accompanies the history of aesthetics. Integral to that history is the attempt to control, or at the very least to assert control over that which is inherently unstable namely the domain of sensation. This is a state of affairs that accompanies the emergence of aesthetics and which finds its most exact formulation in (...) the distinction between sensation and cognition. (shrink)
Painting can only be thought in relation to the image. And yet, with (and within) painting what continues to endure is the image of painting. While this is staged explicitly in, for example, paintings of St. Luke by artists of the Northern Renaissance—e.g., Rogier van der Weyden, Jan Gossaert, and Simon Marmion—the same concerns are also at work within both the practices as well as the contemporaneous writings that define central aspects of the Italian Renaissance. The aim of this paper (...) is to begin an investigation into the process by which painting stages the activity of painting. This forms part of a project whose aim is an investigation of the way philosophy should respond to the essential historicity of art (where the latter is understood philosophically). (shrink)
Colour plays a fundamental role in the philosophical treatments of painting. Colour while it is an essential part of the work of art cannot be divorced from the account of painting within which it is articulated. This paper begins with a discussion of the role of colour in Schelling's conception of art. Nonetheless its primary concern is to develop a critical encounter with Jean-François Lyotard's analysis of the Dutch painter Karel Appel. The limits of Lyotard's writings on painting, which this (...) paper will attribute in part to Lyotard's ‘empiricism’, becomes most apparent in his treatment of colour. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to take up the prompt in Derrida's work concerning the necessity for a deconstruction of anthropocentrism. Working through an example from Hegel's Philosophy of Right concerning animality, the paper takes up Derrida's project and connects it to the larger concern of what happens to the philosophical once it is no longer premised on the animal's exclusion but has to acknowledge the inclusion of an already present thus recalcitrant animality.
The aim of this paper is to develop a new theory of particularity. In so doing it redefines the concepts 'perception' and 'judgment'. The redefinition occurs once perception is understood as recognition. The move to recognition entails the centrality of repetition. Recognition, it is argued, is a form of repetition. Allowing for repetition necessitates changing the way the relationship between universals and particulars is understood. This is developed via an engagement with Hume and Plato. The article concludes with the outline (...) for a rethinking of the metaphysics of particularity. (shrink)
The question of the other appears to be a uniquely human concern. Engagement with the nature of alterity and the quality of the other are philosophical projects that commence with an assumed anthropocentrism. This anthropocentrism will be pursued by way of Hegel's discussion of "disease" in his Philosophy of Nature. Disease is implicitly bound up with race, racial identity and animality, and provides an opening to the question: what if the other were an animal? Any answer to this question should (...) resist a founding anthropocentrism by no longer being limited by the opposition human/non-human. This gives rise to the possibility of engaging philosophically with questions of race and ethnicity. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin’s writings on fashion need to be read as engagements with the problem of historical time and a related politics of time. The aim of this article is to develop this position. Its point of orientation is Thesis XIV from the Theses on the Philosophy of History. What is argued is that close attention to the temporality of change and novelty within fashion may allow an insight into a conception of interruption and the ‘new’, however, it cannot yield a (...) politics. Moreover, the link between fashion and utopianism allows for the development of a critique of the utopian dimension of Benjamin’s thought. The basis of that critique is the inherent politics of time in his own writings. (shrink)
Why read Walter Benjamin today? There as many answers to this question as there are "Walter Benjamins"--Benjamin as critic, Benjamin as modernist, Benjamin as marxist, Benjamin as Jew. . . . Yet it is Benjamin as philosopher that in one way or another stands behind all these. This collection explores, in Adorno's description, Benjamin's "philosophy directed against philosophy." The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy of art and language, through his cultural criticism, (...) to his final reflections on the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history--an understanding that illuminates recent debates about the postmodernist attitude towards modernity. Contributors: Andrew Benjamin, Rebecca Comay, Howard Caygill, Alexander Garcia Duttman, Rodolphe Gasche, Werner Hamacher, Gertrud Koch, John Kraniauskas, Peter Osborne, Irving Wohlfarth. (shrink)
Present Hope is a compelling exploration of how we think philosophically about the present. Andrew Benjamin considers examples in philosophy, architecture and poetry to illustrate crucial themes of loss, memory, tragedy, hope and modernity. The book uses the work of Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger to illustrate the ways the notion of hope was weaved into their philosophies. Andrew Benjamin maintains that hope is a vital part of the present, rather than an expression only of the future. Present Hope shows (...) how Judaism and philosophy interact; how the Holocaust provides an important link between modernity and the present. Benjamin's writings on the significance of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the poetry of Paul Celan unite toward understanding the present. (shrink)
JPVA Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts No 6 Complexity Architecture / Art / Philosophy 'Beginning with complexity will involve working with the recognition that there has always been more than one. Here however this insistent "more than one" will be positioned beyond the scope of semantics; rather than complexity occurring within the range of meaning and taking the form of a generalised polysemy, it will be linked to the nature of the object and to its production. Complexity, therefore, (...) will be inextricably connected to the ontology of the object. What this means is that complexity, in resisting the hold of a semantic idealism on the one hand, and the attempt to give to it the position of being the basis of a new foundationalism on the other, becomes a way of thinking both the presence and the production of objects.' Andrew Benjamin The Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts has set new standards in its exploration of themes central to philosophy's relation to the visual arts, illuminating areas of art criticism, architecture, feminism as well as philosophy itself. Rather than simply reflecting current trends it provides a forum in which the real developments in the analysis of the visual arts and its larger cultural and political context can be presented. Articles by well known philosophers and theorists, as well as some lesser known, together with writings by artists and architects allow a strong interdisciplinary approach reflecting the Journal's roots in post-structural theory. Previous issues include: Philosophy & the Visual Arts (No 1) Philosophy & Architecture (No 2) Architecture, Space, Painting (No 3) The Body (No 4) Abstraction (No 5). (shrink)
Nothing is more simple or more complicated than the event. In recent years, the attack on any attempts to provide a foundation for philosophy has focused on the "logic of the event." In The Plural Event , Andrew Benjamin reconsiders and reworks philosophy in terms of events and how they are judged. Benjamin offers a sustained philosophical reworking of ontology, providing important readings of key canonical texts in the history of philosophy. In order to avoid the charge of positivism, he (...) provides a cogent interpretation of the process of thinking through while allowing the process to reveal itself in the interpretation of central philosophical texts. The effective presence of ontology, defined as "anoriginal difference," will be familiar to readers of his earlier writings. The Plural Event represents Andrew Benjamin's most thorough and original contribution to contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
Best known for his book The Postmodern Condition , Jean-Francois Lyotard is one of the leading figures in contemporary French philosophy. This is the first collection of articles to offer an estimation and critique of his work, with particular focus on the importance to Lyotard of the question of judgement. Lyotard's interest in judgement is evident in his continuing engagement with the work of Kant. Lyotard's own essay, Sensus Communis , which opens the volume, investigates through Kant the presuppositions of (...) judgement. Other essays consider how Lyotard has rendered problematic existing forms of aesthetic, ethical, legal and political judgement. Judging Lyotard is an important collection that will reintroduce Lyotard to English-speaking audiences. It is of particular interest to students of philosophy, critical theory, and literary studies. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon's use of mirrors, (...) R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)