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Radio Benjamin:The Rental Barracks



Listen to how the urban area of what is now Berlin was constructed like a giant, sprawling barracks, in this radio story by the German philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin, broadcasted in its original in German for children, and here read in English by artist Corey McCorkle. The city of Berlin grew as a garrison, and the threat of desertion motivated a new model of urban housing. Dense, multi-story, tenements were first constructed around (healthy) open air interiors in Berlin. Having become a model the world over for massing the masses, this logic of the continuous castle fortress is embedded into the apartments of the Berlin we still encounter today. 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) were 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. 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.
 

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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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