Gestus

"Gestus" vs "Gesture"

Use "Gestus" whenever possible. It emphasizes the singularity of the gesture and its status as a theoretical concept.



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Benjamin (re)produces these gestures through the act of citation

If Kafka's parables and stories reduce events to gestures, Benjamin (re)produces these gestures through the act of citation. Very little of his text can be considered "original," for, as I have mentioned, it is largely composed of quotes and excerpts taken from a wide range of materials. "Kafka" can be understood as a preparatory document for what Benjamin considered his ideal book, namely one made up only of quotes.

[Oksiloff 191]



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Benjamin's interpretative text repeats Kafka's gesture

The failure is never simply that of the modernist text in opposition to history, but of a text that realizes how it is the very material production of history. If Benjamin's interpretative text repeats Kafka's gesture, it is with the intent of embracing, rather than overcoming, this failure.

[Oksiloff 195]



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Dialectics and Narrativity

I associate the "progression" the Benjamin rejects in favor of the image/D@aS with traditional "narrative." But this is messy. Perhaps I only intend it to be an "allegorical association."

"What has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a contellation" - These do not "map" so nicely. But the central idea, the "flash" of a frozen image that would otherwise (but is never) be in movement - the standstill. The interpretive concept of N@aS is itself a gesture.

[image is dialectics at a standstill]



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Gestus

Kafka could understand things only in the form of a gestus, and this gestus which he did not understand constitutes the cloudy part of the parables. Kafka’s writings emanate from it. The way he withheld them is well known. His testament orders their destruction. This document, which no one interested in Kafka can disregard, says that the writings did not satisfy their author, that he regarded his efforts as failures, that he counted himself among those who were bound to fail.

[I 129]



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Kafka's entire work constitutes a code of gestures

...Kafka's entire work constitutes a code of gestures which surely had no definite symbolic meaning for the author from the outset; rather, the author tried to derive such meaning form then in ever-changing contexts and experimental groupings. The theater is the logical place for such groupings.

[Illuminations 120]



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Material Production of History

Kafka's parables are as aware of their engagement in the decay of meaning as they are in the decay of material. If Benjamin embraces this failure, then does it countenance postmodern play of interpretation?

If a single meaning decays into failure, then multiple meanings will also decay, each one being singular. And so this interpretation too decays. and so on. Too juvenile?

[Benjamin's interpretative text repeats Kafka's gesture]



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Quotation as Failure

"Kafka" can be understood as a preparatory document for what Benjamin considered his ideal book, namely one made up only of quotes.

Quotation is a gesture, a movement between texts that is nonetheless still.

The Arcades Project as a book of gestures.

[Benjamin (re)produces these gestures through the act of citation]



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Sancho Panza

Benjamin and I are in accord as regards this Parable, it is Kafka's most perfect.

(See the Full Fragment for more)



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The Flash of the Image

The tension between movement and stillness in the D@aS and N@aS. Should the same dialectical process (and Image - resolution) be applied to this tension?

Also: Image vs. Parable. Is a parable just an mc-escher photo paradox? Bad line of thought, not useful.

The ephermeral nature of the image, it passes, it is immediately lost. This doesn't apply to N@aS. But it could - associate it with the "passing" interpretations.

....

...As for the method of that association, I need to finish thinking through the Allegorist and the Collector.

[An image that emerges suddenly, in a flash]



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a performative power

Kafka's writings, as the self-referential parable of the leopard makes clear, are not merely constantive acts of narration, but hold a performative power. Like the leopards breaking into the temple and becoming part of the ceremonial ritual, Kafka's writing both provisionally program in advance their future reception, and then via the hidden mechanism of enforced retrospection, program that programming as inevitable and not provisional of contingent.

[Samolsky 188]



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the gesture remains the decisive thing

...the gestures of Kafka's figures are too powerful for our accustomed surroundings and break out into wider areas. The greater Kafka's mastery became, the more frequently did he eschew adapting these gestures to common situations or explaining them. ... Like El Greco, Kafka tears open the sky behind every gesture; but as with El Greco--who was the patron saint of the Expressionists--the gesture remains the decisive thing, the center of the event.

[Illuminations 121]



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