[-empyre-] on the 'destructive character' (post by Heiner Weidmann)

Sonja Leboš sonjalebos at gmail.com
Fri Nov 28 11:54:23 EST 2014

So,  a little about my work that wanders in the thoughts of
reconceptualization of notion of urban, cultural memory, hybrid cities and
What I found very important recently in my work on city and memory is the
art of co(m)-memoration. How do we come together and commemorate
 collective traumas?
Usually, there is a plastic, even more usually huge plastic errected in
space that should substitute for our loss.

Therefore I studied a little a fantastic architect, Bogdan Bogdanović.
(The link on the catalogue of the exhibition is here:
and the initial Mnemosyne publication is here

He talks about anthropology of remembrance. Also, he knew that already
Roman people, in their decadence, started to deviate the human relation to
nature  -so he talks about Etruscan urban agglomerations as the least form
of dialogue between human beings and their environment.
He was a master of that kind of monumental plastic, - however there was sth
in those monuments of the socialist Yugoslavia - they commemorated
resistance and human dignity.
However, Bogdanović transcended the concept of socialism, and dug deeper in
the extremely complex structure of collective trauma.

So he built in stone - for the eternity.
I would again remind of what I think is the problem of the civilization
embedded in these Roman and Greek concepts of culture: ceasing the moment,
grabbing the present, losing the touch with eternal.

Benjamin was right also about one very important thing for our discussion:
the close connection between media (film at the time that has evolved in so
much more, including telematic performance) and military. The technological
link is so strong, that it is impossible to think the devices that enable
using media and sophisticated devices for the destruction of Other (and

About gender war: the 90's in Balkan brought to the fore the enormous power
of the ancient weapon of war -  the rape. The scope of using the
penetration and fertilization of the body of the woman, using the woman as
the plain womb for placing the seed of hatred - that is so tragic that one
should think of a new language of drama to express it.
At the same time similar was going on Ruanda.
And then the UN acknowledged that the act of rape is the act of the war
And here, with that word: I would like to stop.
Put it under the magnifying glass of the tool that Johannes dislikes -
[1150–1200; Middle English *werre* < Old Norse *verri* worse

The Act of Worsening the Self to the point of mutilation and, ultimately -
Death - the biggest and the most dangerous trap of our civilization.
Everybody is so afraid of it.
There were times when cemeteries were within the cities. Than they were
banned from the core of the urban to the periphery.
Fear of Death is what moves the Earth.
And that is worse, much worse than Death.

Re-member Agamben's musulman?
the man not dead but not alive either?
non-human, denied by ueber-mensch

Sonja Leboš

2014-11-27 22:38 GMT+01:00 Johannes Birringer <
Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> [relayed from Heiner Weidmann, who was our guest in Week 2 but could not
> write
> as he felt like withdrawing, or as Erik had intimated, prefering the
> 'stillness of listening/self-absenting']
> ich habe mir überlegt, dass benjamins "destruktiver charakter" doch sehr
> zentral ist. es ist so was wie ein gegenmodell gegen die "aura": dieser
> mythos ist ja so offensichtlich nostalgisch und antirational, dass er
> eben nicht - wie man es benjamin gern unterstellt - ein festzuhaltendes
> ideal darstellt, sondern im gegenteil, etwas, mit dem aufgeräumt werden
> muss. aufräumen damit - und es festhalten in einer paradox gegenteiligen
> form: das war eben die hoffnung, die benjamin in die radikale moderne
> setzt.
> die moderne architektur zerstört, zerbricht die innenräume und stülpt
> sie nach aussen, und es ist doch arbeit (nur keine "schöpferische"), es
> ist doch produktiv.
> der destruktive charakter ist natürlich das gegenteil des sammlers (und
> das ist benjamin vor allem gewesen, auch wenn "der destruktive
> charakter" ein selbstportrait ist), und ich denke, dass haben wir doch
> auch schon erlebt: nicht nur den reiz des sammelns und sich einbauens,
> sondern auch den reiz des wegschmeissens, der uns beim umziehen und
> räumen wie ein furor, wie eine reinigende begeisterung überkommen kann.
> heiner weidmann
> [translation, jb]
> i was thinking that benjamins "destructive character" might be
> an idea going to the core. it's kind of an anti-model, against the "aura"
> (discussed
> in the “work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility”
> essay), aura being
> a myth that is so obviously nostalgic and anti-rational, that it is
> precisely
> not - as some would accuse Benjamin - a sustainable ideal, but on the
> contrary
> something that has to be done away with, must be cleaned out - and held in
> a
> paradoxical, opposite form: that was just the hope that benjamin placed in
> the
> radical modernity.   modern architecture destroys, breaks the interiors
> and turns
> them inside out, outwards, and it is still destructive labor  (just not
> "creative"),
> but yet it is productive.
> the destructive character is of course the inverse of the collector (and
> that is what benjamin was above all, even if "the destructive
> character " is a self-portrait ), and i think we have perhaps all
> experienced that: not only the charm of collecting and propping ourselves
> up,
> but also the charm of throwing away, of destroying, which may overcome us,
> when we move or clean up, like a  furor, like a a cleansing ecstasy.
> +   +    +
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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