“German Expressionist writer Paul Scheerbart (1863–1914) articulated his convictions on the power of architectural construction and its relationship to the modern world in his final fictional narrative of 1914 entitled Das graue Tuch und zehn Prozent Weiß. Ein Damenroman [The GrayCloth and Ten Percent White. A Ladies Novel].” ()
In September 1909 spectators at the first International Aviation Exhibition (ILA) in Frankfurt, were enraptured by a display of the German version of an aircraft by the Wright brothers, the rights of which were bought by the German Flugmaschine Wright GMBH. This event roused Paul Scheerbart and it resulted in his ‘pacifist tract’: The Development of Aerial Militarism and the Demobilisation of European Ground Forces, Fortresses and Naval Fleets. Scheerbart’s disposition was hardly surprising in light of the umpteen peace conferences hosted in the first half of nineteenth century, which temporarily revved public passions. Rosemarie Haag Bletter underlines Scheerbart’s concerns about war as discernible in his short stories, for example, ‘Transportable Cities’, and ‘Dynamite War’, writing: Continue reading “Glasarkitektur reflected in War”
Act I, Scene I: It is a small room but it has many openings connecting it with other similar rooms. It is seen from the top view. All the rooms are empty but the walls pulsate, sometimes faster and sometimes slower. The set is alive to the rhythm of breath.
“If it is quite the same to you, I would prefer not being a supporting character in my own story.”
As she screams those words to herself, she sees herself for the first time. A new journey begins which, at least initially, is characterised by loneliness and doubt. Slowly, she sheds off all those people who took her to be a minor character. She stops herself; she catches herself as a player in someone else’s stage directions. Continue reading “Many A Slip”
Summarising: Alice Barnaby, Light Touches: Cultural Practices of Illumination, 1800-1900
Barnaby departs from Jonathan Crary’s ‘landmark study’ Techniques of the Observer: On Visions and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century. She states that Crary’s description of the changes in techniques of viewing from the Renaissance to the nineteenth-century propounds that as optics developed, it constructed and rationalised vision as something that was ‘calculable and exchangeable’ and that ‘from these practices the modern, fragmented, alien subject is born’. While she finds his argument persuasive, she disagrees with it: she argues that the instruments of optics, with their focus on light did not construct a passive observer who was controlled by predetermined visual effects. On the contrary, she argues, that light, embodied vision. She faults Cracy’s singularly-focused Foucauldian method that views all objects and systems as an interconnected network of power relations that negates the role and agency of the subject and instead, she studies optical devices for the pleasure and the playfulness they elicited, to augment an understanding of the nature of subjection and the role and agency of the subject in it.
Continue reading “Seeing Through Light”
“It will surely appear self-evident that the furniture in the glass house may not be placed against the precious, ornamentally-coloured glass walls. Pictures on the walls are, of course, totally impossible. Given the highest intentions, this revolution in the environment is inevitable. Glass architecture will have a tough fight on its hands, but force of habit must be overcome.” – Paul Scheerbart, Chapter 8, Glasarkitektur
Continue reading “Imaginary Wars: Benjamin and Scheerbart”