Siegfried Kracauer’s affinities


Seen from today’s vantage point, Siegfried Kracauer’s Theory of Film (1960) envisages the possibility that the cinema may turn out to have been a historical phenomenon whose technological specifications as well as aesthetic properties are contingent, but whose ‘ontology’ speaks to such broad concerns as ‘history’ and ‘life’. Kracauer poses affinities between photography and the cinema which can be understood not only in the context of a phenomenologically-inflected aesthetics of realism or as a covert manifesto supporting the modern cinema of the time-image, but they can also provide a foil for the moving image in its current condition, where art and life tend to change places and where the contingent, the endless, and the indeterminate have become the basis for extracting from images ‘useful’ information and ‘usable’ data.

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Elsaesser, Thomas: Siegfried Kracauer’s affinities. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 3 (2014), Nr. 1, S. 5-20. DOI:
 author = {Elsaesser, Thomas},
 title = {Siegfried Kracauer’s affinities},
 year = 2014,
 doi = "\url{}",
 volume = 3,
 address = {Amsterdam},
 journal = {NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies},
 number = 1,
 pages = {5--20},
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