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Radio Benjamin: A Visit to the Brassworks



In this mill, castings, extrusions and cold rolling get their awe inspired due from German philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin, in a radio piece broadcasted in its original in German for children, and here read in English by artist Corey McCorkle. Landscape (industrial and otherwise) is a recurring theme in the thinking of Benjamin and, in this episode, the massive Hirsch-Kupfer Brass Works is considered in full scale. This is not a place of things, necessarily, but a factory for the production of things used in production (rods, plates and rings). Less a snapshot of the division of labor and of value from that labor, this is all that mystical, breathtaking, Marx that Benjamin celebrates. Huge cauldrons of fire and a cacophony of noise alloy the carnivalesque to metallurgy. Benjamin was an eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism, he made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory, literary criticism, and historical materialism. 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").
 

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Radio Benjamin

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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.
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