[-empyre-] Benjamin, Peter Weiss, the city as performative?

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Wed Mar 14 03:04:48 EST 2012

There's a lot of material on Weimar performance which tallies with this;
I'm thinking particularly of performers like Anita Berber and Valeska Gert,
both of whom have had a large influence on my work. Interestingly, much of
the best performance work, much of the legacy, is the work of women. Gert
later came to the US, and opened a cabaret/cafe here in NY for a time; she
had an effect on Living Theater. Both Gert and Berber were within the
imaginary of resistance; their own identity was on the line. There was also
Mary Wigman, many others. This was all swept away of course. I'm just
curious - did Weiss reference any of this?

On Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM, Ana Valdés <agora158 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am reading again Peter Weiss "The Aesthetics of Resistance", the best
> description of Berlin together with Döblins Berlin Alexanderplatz. The city
> is described as a hub of energy, as the place where all converge, where
> utopian thoughts and political work blends and interact.
> Curiously I don't find in Weiss work (not only this one but all of his
> writing, his Marat-Sade, his Process, etc) any reference to Benjamin. They
> were not in the same age, Benjamin was born 1892, Weiss in 1916. They
> belonged to different generations and they were intellectually quite
> different.
> Weiss saw himself as a people's intelectual, as someone anonymous, as
> anonymous as the builders of the altar of Pergamus, which play such a
> principal role in his book "The Aesthetics of Resistance". He was a
> communist and believed in the workers as the base of the society, the ones
> being destroyed by the gods in the altar of Pergamus.
> Benjamin chose another path but for both writers the city was this canvas
> where all activity could be performed and be herself a performer.
> Ana
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