Siegfried Kracauer’s idea of ‘Mass Ornament’

https://flannelgraphblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/let-a-thousand-flowers-bloom.jpg?w=968&h=659

Lesley Chamberlain

Mass society as its own ornament was how the German social critic Siegfried Kracauer understood the street life of the dying years of the Weimar Republic. You can find this clever idea which brings us right to the present day set out in his 1927 essay ‘The Ornament of the Masses’. Not published in book form until 1963 it is now easily available in German, English and other languages and well worth a read by anyone interested in public art and the effects of the production line on everything from ideas of beauty to the condition of the university.

Kracauer’s flight from Hitler’s Germany in 1933 to an exile’s life in the United States was one reason for the delay in publication. Another, suggests his leading interpreter, the late film critic Karsten Witte, was that probably Kracauer was in no hurry to dig up his one-time independent Marxist inclinations, close…

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About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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