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    The collated aesthetic: correspondences in the interwar work of Walter Benjamin and Humphrey Jennings

    Nassereldein, Leila (2022) The collated aesthetic: correspondences in the interwar work of Walter Benjamin and Humphrey Jennings. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    This thesis establishes unearthed correspondence in the interwar work of Walter Benjamin and Humphrey Jennings, two thinkers and cultural producers rarely considered in tandem. In identifying a commonality in the pair’s historiographic practice, as demonstrated in The Arcades Project (1999) and Pandaemonium (1985), this thesis develops the notion of a ‘collated aesthetic’. A heuristic term devised to describe Benjamin’s and Jennings’ shared technique of representing material conditions using a heterogeneity of evocative fragments, the ‘collated aesthetic’ is not quite montage, nor is it collage, but surpasses either definition. This thesis looks back to Benjamin’s 1928 publication ‘One Way Street’ and Jennings’ 1939 film ‘Spare Time’ as a means of understanding how the ‘collated aesthetic’, which repositions audiences toward new meaning making, first emerged as a means of critically representing contemporary material conditions. Later remobilised as a historiographic practice, this thesis makes clear that similar strategies of image-making to that established in the aforementioned works, are employed in their shared approaches to archival selection and deselection. Establishing the historiographic ‘collated aesthetic’ as that which has been re-imagined from its earlier realisation, this thesis explores the afterlives of Benjamin’s and Jennings’ collated aesthetic in the 21stcentury, with Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games and the Jewish Museum of New York’s 2017 exhibition ‘The Arcades: Walter Benjamin and Contemporary Art’.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2022 15:50
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:46
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/49258
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.18743/PUB.00049258

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