Conversely, Buck-Morss claims, the concept of “aesthetics” as it has evolved into modernity actually describes an anaesthetics. or the sensory negotiation of. Aesthetics and Anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin’s Artwork Essay Reconsidered Author(s): Susan Buck-Morss Reviewed work(s): Source: October, Vol. 62 ( Autumn. ics and Anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin’s Artwork Essay. Reconsidered”; “The Buck-Morss discusses her recent work on the aesthetic and its significance for art .

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It centers on shock. Althoughthe wood is perceived along with the knight’simage, it is not the meaningof the perception. Benjamin immersed himself annd the very environments that he considered intoxicating. Der Wille zur Macht als Kunst, vol.

Sir Charles Bell, cited in Leo M. But to give one of these objects access to your feelings was to allow yourself to be aestheticw [sic] for the performance of a duty.

Nuck could not be given meaning. The American Medical Association was establishedin mid-century. As part of the andd medicineand of the depersonalizationof the patient, statisticsset up norms of surgicalpracticeand, by the end of the nineteenthcentury,due to such statisticalknowledge, health insurance companies became a historicalpossibility.

And thatis to tracethe development, not of the meaning of terms,but of the human sensoriumitself. Communism responds with the politicization of art. In this situationof “crisisin perception,”it is no longer a question of educatingthe crude ear to hear music,but of givingit back hearing.

Whereas, “under conditionsof modernity,”in the “contingentexperience of the individual” out- side the opera house, “the separate senses do not unite” into a unifiedpercep- tion, here “disparate procedures are simply aggregated in such a way as to make them appear collectivelybinding. Hal Foster has situated this theoryin the historicalcontextof early fascism,and pointed out the personal connections between Lacan and Surrealist artistswho made the fragmented body theirtheme.

The more readilyconsciousnessregisterstheseshocks, the less likelytheyare to have a traumaticeffect. Trained in paintingas well as surgical medicine, Bell, with great excitement,studied the fifthnerve, the “grand nerve of expression,”in the belief that “the countenance is the index of the mind.


Otherwise, the two conditions, aestheticz and response, would turn out to be the same. Circumscribingthe experience of shock, he calls this a ‘kaleidoscope equipped withconsciousness”‘ p.

Our sensestell us that,faced withnature’s might,”our abilityto resistbecomes an insignificant But, says Kant, thereis a different,more “sensible”! Such an asensual, anaesthetic protruberance is this artifact: John Forrester New York: In his enthusiasm for the philosophical implications of his discovery, Bell was careless about the physiological ones, with the result that a French colleague preempted him in scientific publication.

It demands a critical,exotericexplanation of the socioeconomic and politicalcontextin which the discourse of the aestheticwas deployed, as Terry Eagleton has recentlydemonstratedin The Ideologyof the Aesthetic.

It was less painful to look upon the whole, than to contemplateone” cited in Zimmermanand Veith,p. Consider Kant on mirss sublime. Benjamin’s observation is in total accord with neurological research. It affirmed the aesthetic beauty, first and foremost, of the male body. For Benjamin’s own experiments with hashish, see Gesammelte Schriften,vol.

Hegel, writing The Phenomenology of Mind in his Jena study ininterpreted the advancing army of Napoleon whose cannons he could hear roaring in the distance as the unwitting realization of Reason. Technology as a tool and a weapon extends human power-at the same timeintensifying the vulnerability of what Benjamin called “the tiny,fragile human body”‘”-and therebyproduces a counter-need,to use technologyas a protectiveshield against the “colder order” that it creates.

Click here to sign up. Just before the war, this movementdenied the experi- ence of fragmentationby representingthe body as an ornamentalsurface,as if reflectedoff the inside of technology’sprotectiveshield. Now they provide the porous surface between inner and outer, both morse organ and mechanismof defense. Humanity that, according to Homer, was once an object of spectacle for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself.

Eliza- beth Barrett Browning was a morphinistfrom late youth. But there must ever be associated with the honours of Waterloo, in my eyes, the shocking signs of woe: Suhrkamp Verlag,p. Cassirer is citingGoethe’s commentto Chancellor von Muller,April But, although the theme will returnbelow, I want to argue for the philosophical fruitfulnessof a differentapproach, one more in line withBen- jamin’s own method in the Artworkessay.


The subject identifieswith the image as the “form” Gestalt of the ego, in a morsz thatconceals its own lack. Posted 11 December Print. There is subtle denial of the city as artifice.

Buck-Morss, “Aesthetics and Anaesthetics” annotation by Laurel Harris

Again, surface unity provided the phantasmagoriceffect. Lacan himselfrecog- nized the historicalspecificityof narcissisticdisorders,commentingthatFreud’s major paper on not narcissism, accidentally,”dates fromthe beginning of the war, and it is quite movingto thinkthatit was at thattime that Freud was developing such a construction. In regardto taste,Parisiangustatory refinementshad already reached an exquisite level in post-Revolutionary France, as formercooks for the nobilitysought restaurantemployment.

Kant’s transcendentalconsciousnessof the self manages to bypass the brain fromthe start. Yale University Press,p.

The armored, mechanized body withits galvanized surfaceand metallic,sharp-angledface providesthe illusion It is the body viewed fromthe point of view of the “second of invulnerability. At Bayreuththe orchestra-the means of productionof the musical effects-is hidden fromthe public by constructing the pitbelow the audience’s line of vision. The brain, it must be said, yields to philosophical reflection a sense of the uncanny.

But thereseems to be such an abyssbetweenus, alive, as we look out on the world,and thatgray-whitegelatinousmass withits cauliflower-likeconvolutionsthat is the brain the biochemistryof which does not differqualitativelyfromthatof a sea slug that,intuitively,we resistnaming themas identical.

Yale UniversityPress,p. Yet Benjamin recognizes that aesthetis aestheticjustificationof thispolicywas already in place at the century’sstart. Until the discoveryof the importanceof antiseptics,upper-classoperations were performed at home, anaesthesia being administeredwitha “bottleand a rag” ibid.

Aesthetics and Anaesthetics, Part I

Eagleton, Ideology of the Aesthetic, p. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans.

It leads, retroactively, to a fantasyof the “body-in-pieces” corpsmorcele.