Contempuously, higher

A further note on revolutionary barricade architecture, following the Institute's post on it. Reminding me that it's odd I've never written on barricades here. For it's fitting he draws a link between the monstrous hybrid of Hugo's barricades to my thinking on salvagepunk: a longer term writing project, perhaps a dissertation, I was embarking on a while ago was on the barricade as revolutionary trope, material practice, and as principle of conjunctural montage. In other words, as the exception to the city that dictates its development (if we think the spaces of Hausmannization as a response to the threat of resurgent mass struggle) and as the embodiment of resistance that hustles, scrambles, and cobbles together whatever it can find, seeing in the whole world of exchange and social embeddedness just basic facts of mass and height, what is sturdy and what is sharp. Carriages decoupled from their horses and added to the pile. (The radical mirroring and decoupling of capitalism's own capacity for making the world shards of itself and then squeezing value out of the wrecked.) Protosalvage indeed. Apparently I can't get away from my love of the re/mis-use of waste. (And hence I like my modernism scuzzy, choppy, burning, and overall, a toiling mess. Hence not "hauntology" or spectres, but stains and rubble proper, spots that don't come out and provide the anchor for a pattern to come, whether or not you want that to be the case.)

I'll inevitably return to barricades, as my thinking on salvage/montage/construction/waste is a self-consumptive feedback loop, but in the meantime, a putting the bio (or perhaps the necro) back into the political architectural assemblage for my biopolitical thinking comrade.

"I saw a group of Swiss, who had been kneeling and begging for their lives, killed amid jeering, and I saw the stripped bodies of the gravely wounded thrown contemptuously onto the barricades to make them higher."

(Friedrich von Raumer, Briefe aus Paris une Frankreich in Jahre 1830, referenced in Benjamin's Passagenwerk.)


Savonarola said...

Human barricades rather than human shields... A grim tableau, though the fact that passage is introduced as a "report from a third party" makes one wonder whether it isn't to be chalked up to the sinister imagination of reaction.

On a separate note, must haunting be clean? I agree that there's often an irritating antiseptic airiness about that rhetoric, but a materialist spectrology would surely want to inquire into the ectoplasmic traces of ambient abstractions, would it not?

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Erik Butler, also to present Hideous Gnosis, has written a piece for Glossator One called "Benjamin at the Barricades." Will email.