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Radio Benjamin

Walter Benjamin’s radio broadcasts (1929 - 1932) are a selection of children stories written and read by Benjamin during his colossal research project The Arcades Project, an allegorical look into the birth of modernity in 19th Century Paris. Though the series of broadcasts and the Arcades in general are decisively incomplete, the two enterprises echo one another in content, replete with provocative digressions, and unlikely connections (or "secret affinities").

The independent radical publishing house Verso Books has published a nuanced translation of Radio Benjamin, and Clocktower Radio is pleased to present the recorded version of the comprehensive project for the first time in English. Read by New York artist Corey McCorkle, the 29 extant transcriptions will also be annotated with linking principle themes explored in the Arcades Project with the wild variety of subjects Benjamin outlines in these 20 minute stories.

The extended radio program is a priceless glimpse into the humor and methodology of one of the most important theorists of authenticity, progress, and the political implications of new media on the masses during the earlier part of the 20th Century.

Moving from Witch Trials to Postage Stamp Swindlers to Cagliostro to the Mississippi Flood the stories flicker effortlessly between Benjamin’s wonder, scholarship, and remnants of memory. The series is provocative for any aged listener.

This series is presented in partnership with Verso Books, NYU Steinhardt, and the Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt am Main.


Radio Benjamin: Demonic Berlin
Radio Benjamin: True Dog Stories
Radio Benjamin: Berlin Guttersnipe