Galerie Mezzanin

What does it mean to be in a certain place, at a certain time, how do we recognize that we are here and not there? Is it the chronological series of events that has led us to be here and our memories of this progression in time that binds us to this place? Or is it more what we perceive around us now, the spaces, tones, smells that we know, that give us a sense of security, of knowing that we are where we are? The night ends with the here and now of waking up. Every morning we gather together the necessary information from our surroundings in order to figure out where we are. Before we open our eyes, fragments of familiar signals are enough to locate the place, the sound of the alarm clock, the street noise, the smell of coffee.

Our perception is continually occupied with actualizing and synchronizing the many ways our experience is anchored in the present. Habits play an important role as unconscious constants inconspicuously passing on the coordinates of when and where as we make our way through time and space but, like the bassist in a rock band, doing more than just keeping the beat. One of the first things that comes to mind when looking at Christian Mayer’s works is this question of how the known and unknown present themselves to us when we find ourselves in a certain place. How is the sense of the present moment em-bedded in the experience of everything else that is going on around us? What senses detect the new in the context of what has already been perceived? A wide range of different dimensions of modalities of perception are analyzed in Christian Mayer‘s works, while their effects on different horizons of experience are played out against each other—from travel narratives or watching a movie, to one’s living situation.

On the one hand changed by cultural parameters, but also formed by individual experience, the visitors to an exhibition find themselves between their own experience and the moment of contemplation of the immediate surroundings. The known and the unknown, the audio and visual, fragments or self-contained complex elements—held together by different strategies such as narration, movement, spatial order or pictorial citations—present each other and interact with each other in the moment of regarding the works. How can we grasp on to anything and identify it in this stream of things rushing by us?



I. Flotsam and Jetsam


Legal Code Part I No. 51

Date of Issue: February 17, 1989

Ordinance Concerning Strandgut and Treibgut from January 19, 1989

I. Article

General Clauses

§2. Definitions

(1) The following provisions are entailed in this ordinance:

1. ‘Strandgut’ washed up on the coast of the GDR or into its territorial waters or sunken ownerless watercrafts and other objects,

2. ‘Treibgut’ floating in the territorial waters consisting of watercrafts and other objects.

(2) The following objects are not considered Strandgut or Treibgut:

1. All organic and inorganic objects which naturally arise in the ocean,

2. All fluid and solid substances which have been deposed of in the ocean,

3. Things of minor practical value or negligible trade-in value,

4. Any designated fishing equipment in use whether anchored or free-floating.

(3) In case of doubt, the Department of Shipping of the German Democratic Republic will determine whether or not it is Strandgut or Treibgut within the jurisdiction of this ordinance.


According to this definition, ‘Treibgut’ refers to objects that float on the surface of the water while ‘Strandgut’ refers to anything that has been washed up on shore. In English, on the other hand, the distinction is made between ‘jetsam’ and ‘flotsam’. ‘Jetsam’ describes objects that were intentionally jettisoned from watercrafts in order to make the load lighter, while ‘flotsam’ refers to objects which have unintentionally found their way into the water, lost freight or wreck-age from abandoned ships. In one language the cause of the objects’ presence in the water is stressed, while in the other language, overriding parameters determine the meaning which are accessible to any viewer, even those who might not know how the objects came to be where they are.

This illustrates what Ferdinand de Saussure understood as the fundamentally arbitrary differentiation within a language, where the meaning of words is formed in their use in agreement with other speakers.2 The different ways in which the meaning of words in different languages is determined can often first be appreciated after closer analysis, and frequently the change in meaning has been forgotten or can no longer be recognized. But language can at any moment be reconsidered and defined in the synchronic dimension, and the use and meaning of the words can be newly determined. The world which we de-scribe is in a process of continual change as altered conditions of existence lead to new forms of living together. This demands that we continually question the present, thus assuring that we consciously perceive it. Not only our access to new forms of communication but also the possibility of recording images and sounds and then replaying them in different contexts presents us with more and more modes of perceiving and situating ourselves in reality.

For Siegfried Kracauer, the invention of film and photography is both a blessing and a dialectical lesson. In his Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality3, he shows how modern people have lost their immediate access to reality through technological advances, but at the same time has found a new approach to reality through the invention of film. Reflections on language and film again and again return as important guideposts for considering modern art.

At the same time an important characteristic of modernity has only recently been taken into consideration by contemporary artists. The period of imperial-ism and colonialism was characterized by more than the processes of economic expansion and the exploitation of resources and labor. The intuitive, non-con-textual treatment of the encounter with the ‘other’ spans a broad spectrum, from African tribal masks inspiring cubism to the use of exotic stagings for dance and literature. Without a doubt, the freedom of mobility before and after the First World War was one of the most important preconditions for artistic and cultural development in industrialized Europe. This tension between technological developments and social reality is present in Christian Mayer’s works both directly and as if by chance, like the coincidence of finding objects floating on the open sea or washed up on shore.

We stumble over things in his exhibition flotsam and jetsam which at closer view can be identified as elements of the ‘other’ that influenced early modern-ism. It is perhaps possible to view this ‘discovery’ of the new world, this first drastic meeting of different worlds and ways of living, as the motive and driving force in the world at the beginning of early modernity. Of course, the very idea

of a ‘discovery’ reveals the one-sidedness of this version of the story. Who discovered whom? Naturally, Christopher Columbus’s arrival in 1492 was just as much a discovery for the island inhabitants. For them it was ‘the arrival of a ship from the Spanish fleet in Guanahani’ and not ‘the discovery of San Salvador’. In reality however, there exist only very few traces documenting how

these ‘discoveries’ were perceived from the other side. Any records or traditional teachings portraying the events from the standpoint of the materially and culturally exploited indigenous people were for the most part destroyed or suppressed.4

I see one of the central motives of the exhibition flotsam and jetsam is to show the arbitrariness of the colonizers’ ‘discoveries’ and that the appropriation of images and cultural treasures occurred without the consent of the people who had been ‘discovered’. ‘The tropics’ became a commodified import product of European imperialist and colonial culture. Products such as the panorama wall-

paper Les Vues du Brésil by Jean-Julien Deltil (produced by Zuber et Cie in Rixheim, France) are a testimony of the limited nature of the interest in the actual cultural production of the ‘new’ territories. One can see how European colonial culture was based on the unexamined appropriation of images and fragments and their subsequent decontextualized presentation elsewhere. The colonial goods store supplied important components of European modernity, like the Monstera Deliciosa which, with its introduction in 1830, came to populate the living rooms and cafés of Europe, often found in connection with the Harzer Roller canary providing the sound track. The booty pilfered from its original context came to determine the iconography of industrialized Europe. With this kind of eclecticism in mind, it is not surprising that the collage would later become an important strategy for modern art. In general, this kind of shifting of contexts and appropriation can be followed all the way up to the production of sound movies, where the varied connections between events, sounds and objects would be disconnected by the nature of the medium itself.


“All sound, whether music, sound effects, or speech, thus functions to bolster the diegetic illusion of an imaginary space-time and of the human body’s place within it. Extradiegetic music brought in from outside the depicted scene may enhance the mood and establish rhythms that complement the movements of bodies and smooth over the temporal-spatial gaps created by editing. Sound effects give solidity and spatial dimension to the depiction of the diegetic world. And synchronous speech ties the body to the voice.”5


Accordingly, technology enables both another way to represent reality as well as a different awareness of reality. For example, the ability to construct ships would make it possible to reach distant places and was thus both a tool and a means of expanding human perception. Later, in much the same way, the camera lens would make different perspectives possible which the human eye would otherwise not have been able to see.6

In the midst of this kaleidoscope of fragments and discoveries—whether technologically reproduced or found on ‘voyages of discovery’—our perception is continually engaged with trying to position itself. In addition to the underlying situation where it was now possible to record images and sound, Benjamin’s famous essay The Work of Art in the Age of its Mechanical Reproduction makes explicit reference to the context of the production of art in the here and now, in its ‘presence in time and space’:


“Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it hap-pens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes the changes which it may have suffered in physical condition over the years as well as the various changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analysis which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original.

The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity. Chemical analysis of the patina of a bronze can help to establish this, as does the proof that a given manuscript of the Middle Ages stems from an archive of the fifteenth century. The whole sphere of authenticity is outside mechanical—and, of course, not only mechanical—reproducibility. Confronted with its manual reproduction, which was usually branded as a forgery, the original preserved all its authority; not so ‘vis-à-vis’ technical reproduction. The reason is twofold. First, process reproduction is more independent of the original than manual reproduction. For example, in photography, process reproduction can bring out those aspects of the original that are unattainable to the naked eye yet accessible to the lens, which is adjustable and chooses its angle at will. And photographic reproduction, with the aid of certain processes, such as enlargement or slow motion, can capture images which escape natural vision. Secondly, technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself. Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form of a photograph or a phonograph record. The cathedral leaves its locale to be received in the studio of a lover of art; the choral production, performed in an auditorium or in the open air, resounds in the drawing room.

The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated. This holds not only for the artwork but also, for instance, for a landscape which passes in review before the spectator in a movie. In the case of the art object, a most sensitive nucleus—namely, its authenticity—is

interfered with, whereas no natural object is vulnerable on that score. The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced. Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter. And what is really jeopardized when the historical testimony is affected is the authority of the object. One might subsume the eliminated element in the term ‘aura’ and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.”7


Upon closer analysis, it is perhaps interesting to understand what is meant by this ‘presence in time and space’ in considering a dimension which is difficult to understand because it is so self-evident for us, namely our capability of re-cording sounds and images in order to present them in another context: “The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated.” Whereby here it might be possible to understand the notion of devaluation as a suspension of the original context of the work, more so than an actual decrease in its value. In this way a new understanding of the ‘aura’ becomes possible with the simultaneousness of different modalities of percep-tion in a single context of production contrary to the new possibilities created through the combination of sound and image in a newly formed here and now as the ‘presence in time and space’.8



II. Inventing the 20th Century


The iconography made possible by technological developments in industrialized countries can be considered as a specific cultural phenomenon. One character-istic of this phenomenon is the extraordinary role that visual perception plays.

In the artwork Inventing the 20th Century we encounter things that have always played an important role in our imagination, especially in films and tele-vision. These things suggest the professionalism that is inherent to technology. These black, reliable-looking devices like the telephone, radio, television and other electronic devices seem like fossils from another age. It seems as though our awareness of the relationship between form and function follows the progress of technology. Our sense of form changes with the advance of digital technology. We begin to place more trust in small technological devices than bulky black machines. But the transformed and relocated means of production begin to make the question of material seem to lose its importance. In the ‘post-industrial’ age heavy industry seems to disappear, reduction and elegance become the most important aspects of technical devices as they get smaller and smaller. This shift in perception makes clear how our knowledge of the world has moved to the realm of the imagination. While heavy industry, power generation, extraction of raw materials and the discovery of new chemical substances and materials were central to cold war iconography, today the trim beauty of the digital is what gets us to open our pocketbooks. Design is always ideological. Today a bakelite telephone seems like a relic from the past—like some cult object from an exotic culture. Technological advancement and the corresponding new possibilities of visual production create a space for a new kind of perception. The dialectical reading of mechanical and technological progress is thus essential to the consideration of art.



III. Interiors: UBIK — IKEA


Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novel Ubik is a parable of the ideologization of technology playing with the idea of how different stages of technological development are erased from cultural memory and how processes come to be repressed, including what was learned from them. Here the new comes into being using the miracle agent ‘Ubik’ which transforms old machines and sub-stances into new ones.9 The old and decrepit world ceases to exist, making way for the functional and modern here and now. The protagonist Joe Chip, who at the beginning of the novel is busy struggling with the coin operated appliances in his apartment—every mechanical operation in his apartment from the coffee machine to opening the door or using the elevator only works with coins—is confronted with nightmarish and more and more absurd occurrences. Joe Chip begins to imagine that the appliances are turning into older models, a flat screen television turns into an old tube radio, the hyper-modern elevator turns into a cable-driven, vibrating cage with accordion doors, and suddenly only the very first models of automobiles or horse-drawn carriages are available as a means of transportation.


The continually expanding industrial production of goods and merchandise results in new dimensions of the spatiotemporal relation and thus leads to newly altered conditions of existence. Christian Mayer’s work temporary interior decoration pursues other ways to use the ready-to-be-put-together packaged merchandise sold at IKEA, whose own merchandising strategy is based on giving the customers the feeling that by leaving them to put together the furniture, they somehow save money, while at the same time conveying the feeling of having accomplished something after having put it together. This work follows the logic of the production and merchandising of IKEA products and interior design. At IKEA, any products left in their original packaging can be returned within two months for a cash refund. The ongoing exhibition series temporary interior decoration stages a kind of interior decoration for the span of two months using the packaged furniture as a basis for project. Here the intent of the commodity world is turned on its head as the other side of a notion of time based on actual living conditions is revealed. The artist adopts IKEA’s line of merchandise to serve his own purposes, using the objects to adorn a space for the two month period that he can use them free of charge. In a further variation, the premade furniture is then transformed into sculptures. The exhibition space becomes the context for turning the arrangement of the world upside down.



IV. Here and Now: from Midnight Sun by way of Venice in Vienna in Venice to The Chronicles of Thomas Ender


The disengagement of image and sound which was already evident in Inventing the 20th Century comes to be a central concern of the video Chronicle of the Thomas Ender Expedition—Reconsidered. The timer can be seen on the screen as an off-screen voice describes what was originally recorded on video. This transmission of images into narrative information is both a translation and a transformation. The translation from image into sound is made possible by the individual view of a female narrator who describes what she sees. In this way, unedited video material becomes a starting point for a work of art that openly shows and even emphasizes the transformation processes of how it came into being.10

I already mentioned what happens when recorded sounds and images are taken out of their original context and then spliced together. Sounds that accompany the image could not be modified or reproduced until the invention of recording technology. Perception is determined by the simultaneity of the modes of perception, the senses of vision, hearing, smell and touch. The disengagement of

sound and image makes it clear to what extent these two modalities refer to each other. First with the simultaneousness of the cut, movement and the still, does it become clear how these dimensions pervade each other. Hearing and seeing do not have the same importance, while the field of vision is only partially filled on the screen, the listener is completely surrounded by sound. Using cuts, montage and overlaying, the cutting-board of perception produces a dramaturgy of the real. Much in the same way that a Walkman can be used to choose a soundtrack for any desired place.

The ‘orient’, the ‘new world’, the imaginative dimension of what has yet to be discovered all still represent some of the main themes of European cultural production. An entire spectrum of the many worlds out there was made accessible in travel narratives and detailed accounts of expeditions. But the gaze of the voyager was not entirely at home in these foreign environments unaware of the basic rules of communication and local distinctions, disconnected from the people around him. And precisely this disconnection becomes the unspoken constant to this journey. It would be interesting to understand one’s own experience in a different context as analogous to the presence of the soundtrack produced by the Walkman. One’s own senses must be readjusted to an unusual context.

It seems as though there were a subterranean connection between the disengagement from reality when traveling and the structures of narrative forms. A very large part of these narratives often only passed on in oral traditions are accounts of journeys. Narration creates structures for experience which are anything but trivial as they must meet the task of coherently transmitting complex four dimensional processes, while at the same time introducing protagonists with differing significance, communicating information about where they are from, what they are doing and what their further path in life will be. At the same time the discovery of the respective voice of each individual narrator is important. How one’s voice is perceived is interconnected with one’s capacity to recognize things in a rational thought process and to draw conclusions based on this. Robinson Crusoe is not by chance the model novel for modernity. The model for Daniel Defoe’s novel, published in 1719, was a work by the Islamic thinker Ibn Tufail (1110–1185) called Hayy ibn Yaqzan/Alive, Son of the Awake, which was translated into Latin in 1671 and into English in 1708. It is the story of a child raised by a gazelle on an uninhabited island. Without any contact to other people, Hayy ibn Yaqzan has to rely on himself and his own education, giving rise to autonomous thinking:

“When his thoughts had progressed this far it was clear to him that he had distanced himself from the world of sensuous perception and had progressed to the borders of the spiritual world. He was overcome with dizziness and the feeling of wanting to return back to the things of the sensuous world to which he was accustomed. He then stepped back a little and began to consider the things whose bodies could be perceived with the senses. …First he looked at the water; and he found that in the state which its form demands, it was cold, showing a tendency to move downwards. When it is heated, whether through fire or sunbeams, the cold immediately leaves but it still continues to move downward, but when it becomes increasingly heated, it loses this downward tendency and begins to move upward. Both characteristics which once constituted its form are completely lost. But he knew that these actions emanate from the form; that the form disappears when it is lost and the acquired form of the bodies takes its leave as soon as it consents to the action which in their essence emanate from the form; that with this a new form appears which be-fore was not there and that, due to this form, actions emanate from this body that do not belong to its essence.”11


The narrative representation of an inner monologue in literature could be considered as having been as much a dramatic transformation of the potential of the medium as the use of a moving camera. Writing had long been considered as a kind of formatted thought. Broken sentences, momentary views of reality and discontinuous strands of thought had largely been left out of writings. The invention of the subject is part of modernity. The discovery of the voice of the narrator corresponded to this and with this the capacity to capture the goings-on of the mind in writing. For a long time the use of writing was limited to administrative and religious aims. Only much later were individual experiences and feelings translated into writing. The inner monologue, the individual voice re-counting the inner-workings of the subject was first realized in text form during a radical transformation of modern literature. And then literary works such as James Joyce’s Ulysses or Arthur Schnitzler’s Fräulein Else make the stream of consciousness accessible to the reader, where it is possible for the first-person narrator to grasp fragmentary and incomplete thoughts as they appear in the consciousness of the here and now. Christian Mayer’s works remind us of such scattered landmarks in cultural history, different realities and moments in which imagination becomes material.



V. Whose gaze is it anyway? King Kong and Another city, not my own


Christian Mayer’s works try to make visible what is not seen, posing the question of whether or not it is possible to find a poetic dimension in the neutral and disinterested lens of a camera. King Kong 1933/Loch Ness 2004 takes a different angle on the problem. Using a special visual apparatus, a shot taken from the movie King Kong (1933), where a brontosaurus appears and dives down into the water, is transposed into a video shot of Loch Ness (recorded in 2004). Everything that had yet to be discovered began to occupy the imagination of popular culture in the age of total discovery. Substantiating the existence of monsters and primordial creatures could be seen as analogous to the exercise of the imagination in travel narratives. It is the direct consequence and negative figure of a rationally conceived world. With the increase in knowledge about the world from the perspective of technologies which almost seem to go beyond human comprehension, the imagination of incognizable worlds and dimensions also increases. King Kong, Tarzan and the Loch Ness Monster repre-sent a kind of existence which was somehow able to stay clear of ‘civilization’s discoveries’. They live in human imagination in an intermediary space between what cannot be seen and what has yet to be seen.

These different strategies of conceiving of the ‘here and now’ appear again and again in Christian Mayer’s works. The Biedermeier interior in flotsam and jetsam testifies to this yearning for the imaginary other. While the real land-scapes of the initial ‘other’ have already been conquered and subjected to economic exploitation, the exotic wallpaper and living room plants are a reflection

of the longing to reestablish the imaginary untouched state of these landscapes. Whatever might possibly have been considered as the innocent gaze is lost in the commodification of the world.

Another city, not my own, on the other hand, presents us with a disinterested image, confronting us with the question of whether or not it is possible to view things without intention. A camera mounted on the neck of a roaming dog made these images possible. They were randomly made at undetermined moments as the dog made its way through the city along paths that humans would not use. The only dimension that connects the images is the cityscape of Ulaanbaatar. An unusual perspective results, similar to that of Rayographies which record the direct representation of objects on film without the help of a lens or shutter.



VI. The Isolated Voyages or the Pure Image


69.68°N, 19.58°W, 5/22/05, 00:00:00 disengages imagination from what is going on during actual travel. The photograph was made in Tromsø while there on a tour offered by a travel agency to the Arctic Circle to see the midnight sun. After arriving at night at the airport, the participants were brought by bus to a vantage point where they were able to confirm that in spite of the fact that it was midnight, the sun had indeed not gone down over the Arctic Circle. The entire trip concentrated on this fleeting experience, and in the end was almost completely forgotten in all of the effort made to get there as quick as possible.

The question of traveling and what constitutes presence at a specific place, along with the question of the imaginary components of travelogues marveling at foreign cultures, is also evident in Venedig in Wien in Venedig. A wall-sized photograph of the Dogenhof—the last remnant of an artificial Venice built in Vienna in  —was installed in a Venetian apartment and the visitors to the exhibition were invited to pose in front of the wallpaper like tourists.

The counter-revolutionary Joseph de Maistre’s younger brother Xavier com-posed an extensive travelogue while he was imprisoned: Voyage autour de ma chambre.12 The journey begins at the table and follows numerous pieces of furniture up to the door, where he turns back along a path by the chair, sits down to rest and then falls into reverie. He praises the advantages of this kind of travel, which requires neither money nor effort and is thus ideal for the poor, weak or lazy. Maybe Christian Mayer could be viewed as Xavier de Maistre’s clandestine successor, inviting the viewer to experience imaginary voyage.



1 Civil code from the German Democratic Republic, Part I, 1989, p. 93.

2 Ferdinand de Saussure (1916), Cours de linguistique générale, (Published by Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye in collaboration with Albert Reidlinger. Translated from the French by Wade Baskin in 1959).

3 Siegfried Kracauer (1964), Theorie des Films. Die Errettung der äußeren Wirklichkeit, Frankfurt/Main, 2001. Published in English in 1960 as Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality.

4 This unofficial side of colonialism can be read about for example in the following works: Tzvetan Todorov, La conquête de l’Amérique. La question de l’autre, Paris, 1982. Michael Sievernich (ed.), Bartolomé de Las Casas, Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias occidentales, 1542. Numerous travel narratives about discoveries in the colonial period appeared in different European languages very early on: Duarte Lopes (1597), A Report Of The Kingdome Of Congo, London, 1970. Critically examined and published in: Thomas Ehrsam (ed.), Der weisse Fleck. Die Entdeckung des Kongo 1875–1907, Zürich, 2006. Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the native Carribean 1492–1797, New York, 1986. Susan Castillo, Colonial Encounters in New World Writing, 1500–1786, London, 2005. It is also interesting to consider the perspective of non-European discoverers: Tabish Khair, Martin Leer, Justin D. Edwards, and Hanna Ziadeh, Other Routes. 1500 Years of African and Asian Travel Writing, Bloomington, 2005.

5 Linda Williams, Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the Frenzy of the Visible, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1989, p. 122. See also: Mary Ann Doane, The Voice in the Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space, in: Yale French Studies 60/1980, pp. 33-50, and: Emily Thomspon, The Soundscapes of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900–1933, Cambridge/Mass., 2002.

6 See: Richard Sorrenson, The ship as a scientific instrument in the eighteenth century, in: Tony Ballantyne, Science, Empire and the European exploration of the Pacific, Aldershot, 2004. Avelino Teixeira da Mota (1502), and: A Africa No Planisferio Portugues Anonimo ’cantino‘, and: Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna G. Singh (eds.), Travel Knowledge. European ‘Discoveries’ in the Early Modern Period, New York, 2001.

7 Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (first pub-lished in German in: ‘Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung I’, 1936) Frankfurt/Main), in: Hannah Arendt (ed.) Illuminations, London, 1973 (1. ed. 1968), pp 219–20 (translated by Harry Zohn).

8 In this context it is important to keep in kind that for the Marxist critique of culture it is primarily a question of an analysis of the superstructure following transformations in the social conditions of production. In the foreword to the Artwork essay Benjamin specifically clarifies: “The concepts which are introduced into the theory of art in what follows differ from the more familiar terms in that they are completely useless for the purposes of Fascism. They are, on the other hand, useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art.”

9 Philip K. Dick, Ubik, New York, 1969.

10 Alan Williams stresses the specificity of audio recordings: “There is no such thing as sound in itself… sound recording is in no way parallel to image recording.” (Is Sound Recording Like a Language?, in: Yale French Studies, No. 60, Cinema/Sound (1980),

pp 51–66).

11 Translated from the German by David Quigley. Another English translation by Lenn Evan Goodman, Ibn Tufayl‘s Hayy ibn Yaqzan; a philosophical tale (Library of classical Arabic literature, Vol. 1, ed. by Ilse Lichtenstadter), New York, 1972, is based on Léon Gauthier‘s French translation Hayy ibn Yaqzân. Roman philosophique d‘Ibn Tufayl, Beirut, 1936, and is the first complete English version since that of Simon Ockley in 1710.

12 See: Xavier de Maistre, Journey around my Room; and, A Nocturnal Expedition around my Room, translated by Andrew Brown, London, 2004.