associating: The angel of history

The following is Benjamin’s ninth thesis from the essay “Theses on the Philosophy of History”:

A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

The upcoming symposium Feedforward. The Angel of History in Spain refers to this title and episode of retrieving by transposing it onto the ‘wreackage of the 20th century’: …. brings together theorists and artists, who will explore via panel discussions the five primary themes presented in the exhibition: the “wreckage” of the 20th century created by wars and conflict; the countermeasures of surveillance and repression that the state as well as global capital set up in an to attempt to maintain control; the aesthetics and symbolic language of the media of our times; the forces of economic globalization such as outsourcing and migration; and the possibilities of reconstruction and agency.

…… associating Akomfrah‘s Last Angel of History

img via metamute

Evoking Walter Benjamin’s famous image of history as an angel who is at once looking backward at the past as she is flying forward toward the future, John Akomfrah’s latest film essay is a similarly non-linear flight through a history of science fiction art and its relation to the Pan-African experience. As Akomfrah himself has said: these issues are not simply related, “the Black experience is science fiction!”

.. and may be here we connect in a kind of unreasonable mood to the latest Venture Bros. episode …… but there are better resources to tell you about it ….

Print Friendly, PDF & Email