Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’
There are a number of websites and blogs out there that we have come across on the last few months, that are also using Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’ as a starting point for new work. In this post we’ve rounded up a few that we like, we recommend that you visit them all and if you know of any more, please let us know in the comments on this blog.
This website takes the Arcades Project as its starting point and furnishes Benjamin’s text with hyperlinks and a web-structure that seeks to move on from the idea of the passagen to something more like a labyrinth. The site consists of new convolute, multimedia texts, internal and external links and essay style pieces on the project and its conceptual framework. Like Borges’ map, describing the project would require us to re-create it – the best way to get a ‘feel for the game’ of this website is to engage with it and plot your own journey through it.
From the website: “The Arcades Project : A 3D Documentary, is a series of projects initiated by artist Jennie Savage which took place in Cardiff’s Victorian and Edwardian Arcades between October 2008 and October 2009. Cardiff is known as the city of Arcades because it has the highest concentration of Victorian and Edwardian Shopping arcades in the UK. Between 2008-2009 artist Jennie Savage led an exploration into these spaces, inspired by Walter Benjamin’s Arcades project and constructed in the light of the St David’s 2 Shopping Centre.”
The city of Leeds has a number of covered arcades. This blog appears to have taken its inspiration from this observation: “A great deal has been written about the Paris Arcades and yet one finds them in a much worse state than those in Leeds. Both the condition of repair and the frequency of trade pale besides those in Leeds”. Over time this blog has morphed into something that promises “All the Walter Benjamins you can possibly imagine.”
We’re really enjoying finding out more about this project as it evolves online, which is an “open-source, distributed PhD” taking its “inspiration from Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, that Paul Caplan of the Internationale is developing at Birkbeck, University of London”. This project seems to be attempting the construction of dialectical images of the developments surrounding the 2012 Olympics, making use of mobile technology and image sharing, that will eventually even involve a specially designed iPhone app.
The next piece of reading that we are going to tackle from the Arcades Project is ‘Convolute N’ (pp.456-488 of the Harvard University Press edition that we are using – details in the bibliography). This chapter deals with what Benjamin refers to as ‘On the theory of knowledge, Theory of Progress’ and is an important chapter for understanding the method that Benjamin is using in his project, and that we are applying to the seaside promenade in our own.
Our plan is to respond to this chapter by highlighting what we, individually, see as important sections and posting these on here along with our own commentaries.
As always, other contributors are welcome, just get in touch. There is a free downloadable version of the entire Arcades Project in 4 parts available here.
We’re going to post up a series of readings on here that, although they will necessarily impose a structure on to the project that the text itself will almost certainly resist, are intended more as an aid to collaboration. We will post up our responses to the reading and discuss it online. We hope that others will want to join us in this effort, so please feel free to contribute your own response or get in touch if you would like to find out more about the project.
The first reading is the two Exposes at the start of the work, the 1935 and 1939 versions of “Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century” pp.1-14 of the 2002 Harvard University Press edition. We plan to post up our responses to these pieces in the first week of April.