(99) Benjamin on Waste

The studied degradation of (Dadaist’s) material was not the least of their means to achieve this uselessness. Their poems are “word salad” containing obscenities and every imaginable waste product of language. The same is true of their paintings, on which they mounted buttons and tickets. What they intended and achieved was a relentless destruction of the aura of their creations, which they branded as reproductions with the very means of production. Before a painting of Arp’s or a poem by August Stramm it is impossible to take time for contemplation and evaluation as one would before a canvas of Derain’s or a poem by Rilke. (XIV)

Walter Benjamin (1936)

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

(I presume it is worthwhile to keep noting various ideas of waste as I come upon them. But so interesting to compare this to say “Family Guy” or the candy “Garbage Pail Kids” in which waste is commodified if nothing else as an entertaining exchange value.

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