Tag Archives: Benjamin

Voyage on the North Sea – 1. Rosalind Krauss and the medium

Have been reading Rosalind Krauss on the medium, especially the essay Voyage on the North Sea and her paper on William Kentridge.

Voyage on the North Sea is for me a starting point in how I think about my working process and its relationship to technology.

It is a complex essay but there are some essential points

A medium is complex, has a supporting structure which recursively defines a set of rules or conventions

This recursive structure is something made, not given.

These conventions open up a space for release for the artist within which improvisation can occur.

These conventions are somehow specific and recursively define their own necessity

Structuralist film is given as an example in which the film apparatus is interrogated to explore ‘a model of how the viewer is connected to the world’

Video is contrasted with film as occupying a kind of ‘discursive chaos’

The outmoded and the obsolescent is positioned via Benjamin, who notes that only in extinction is the true collector comprehended ie we need the distance of obsolescence to be able to engage and appreciate the (utopian) promise of a technology.

Broodthaers employs film in the context of its early promise rather than as a defiance of Hollywood. The approach is archaelogical and redemptive

Krauss specifically attacks the discursive chaos of intermedia while redeeming Broodthaers who employs a form of ‘differential specificity’.

Differential specificity is a kind of reinvention or rearticulation of the medium – while acknowledging the constraints that it may involve while at the same time reconfiguring them.