The Optic of the State (Visuality and Power)

I had started reading Jens Andermann’s book and found it somewhat overwrought, but I really ought to read it. My notes on the thick introduction are on the Linux machine and I will repost them anon. Chapter 1 is about Museums.

Benjamin: the collector, like the gambler, the virtuoso, the prostitute and the flâneur, is a romantic rebel against capital, even as he exposes the extent to which it has taken hold of everything. He is collecting unique items, not what amount to representations of items. Of course this fails; the collector can only oppose commodity fetishism in an esthetic of mourning. Collecting both acknowledges and denies the demise of the subject as creative or constituent instance under the regime of capital and alienated labor.

These observations lead into a discussion of the relationship between museums, vision, power, and the state, and between the viewer and the state.

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