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    Walter Benjamin: traces of craft

    Leslie, Esther (1998) Walter Benjamin: traces of craft. Journal of Design History 11 (1), pp. 5-13. ISSN 1741-7279.

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    This paper considers Walter Benjamin's theory of the object in the industrial age. Benjamin's work is replete with images of craft practices. Pot-throwing and weaving appear as paradigms of authentic experience and the processes of memory. Prominent in Benjamin's account of craft practice is the hand that feels and marks its objects; authentic knowledge of the world is envisioned as a 'grasping hold' of the world. The shift from artisan labour to industrial labour, with its growing redundancy of the hand in the processes of production, impacts on modes of memory and experience. Benjamin's delineation of modern, industrialized experience is shown to be redemptive. He re-evaluates Dada and photography as manual craft processes that might rediscover a modern authenticity of experience and memory.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Walter Benjamin, hand—industrial organization, material culture studies, Modernism, technique
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Literature, Centre for, Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIH)
    Depositing User: Esther Leslie
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 10:35
    Last Modified: 16 Jun 2021 10:20


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