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Reading in the Ruins 1

Fragments of the Passagenwerk

A meander through the Arcades project of Walter Benjamin

The Arcades project went through many kinds of existence between 1927 and 1939. It never achieved a completed form. What remains are vast quantities of notes, images, quotes and citations; capable of being ordered and reordered in endlessly different constellations. This site is the beginning of an ongoing experiment in just such a reordering, its increasingly multiple links between material bringing elements into new juxtapositions and hopefully generating new meanings out of the debris of the era of high capitalism. (Mind you, this could also just be an exercise in giving these materials an aura, an air of nostalgic mystery which already hangs around their appearance in this present, if not that of the 1930s)

The titles below, which refer to the spaces and types of the arcade, lead to different areas of the divertissiment, which are themselves interlinked and lead further and back. It is possible to recross areas from many different directions. Each time, the material is brought into a new relation and in this, a new aspect of it emerges. As a point of arrival and rearrival, it is possible to return to this page from each area, but it is not necessary. The whole bricolage involves text and images and is fairly graphic intensive.

Begin the trâjet

The Flâneur, The Feuilleton, Surrealism, Fashion, The Prostitute, Bibliography

Comments and criticism to G.Peaker@derby.ac.uk

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