Book part:
Attuning to What? The Uncanny Revival of the Aestheticization of Politics

Author(s): Fuchs, Mathias

One of the key notions posited in Brian Massumi’s “Keywords for Affect,” a supplement to The Power at the End of the Economy, is “affective politics.” Massumi establishes a close connection between affect, aesthetics, politics and the body, stating: “Aesthetic politics brings the collectivity of shared events to the fore” and he continues to say that this is a “multiple bodily, potential for what might come.” The problem German readers will encounter with these lines is that whenever “body,” “com- munity,” and “future” (Körper, Gemeinschaft, Zukunft) are mentioned in one sentence, they’ll immediately be reminded of what Leni Riefenstahl demonstrated with her film Triumph des Willens (1935), the infamous propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany. Memories of the dark side of an aestheticization of political phenomena are roused. Many 1930s German directors, writers and painters were in line with Riefenstahl in being apologetic of the regime, often not explicitly, but via an atmospheric side by side with the ones in power. The underlying ideology of Riefenstahl’s films, related texts, paintings and movies was what Walter Benjamin warned us of when he said: “Such is the aestheticizing of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism replies by politicizing art.” This article tries to relate Massumi’s concept of attunement and affective politics to earlier speculations about “affective attunement” and to put into a historic context the attempts to replace rationality with bodily intensities.

Download icon

Published in:

Preferred Citation
Fuchs, Mathias: Attuning to What? The Uncanny Revival of the Aestheticization of Politics. In: Bösel, Bernd;Wiemer, Serjoscha: Affective Transformations: Politics-Algorithms-Media. Lüneburg: meson 2020, S. 201-210. DOI:
 author = {Fuchs, Mathias},
 title = {Attuning to What? The Uncanny Revival of the Aestheticization of Politics},
 year = 2020,
 doi = "\url{}",
 editor = {Bösel, Bernd and Wiemer, Serjoscha},
 address = {Lüneburg},
 booktitle = {Affective Transformations: Politics-Algorithms-Media},
 pages = {201--210},
 publisher = {meson},
license icon

As long as there is no further specification, the item is under the following license: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen