In his analysis of the sense of a false present, of the non-simultaneous life forms that defined Weimar Germany, Ernst Bloch, in 1935, described Lebensphilosophie as the (colonialist) philosophy of a self-made Western-European “jungle.” Driven by an “entrepreneurial zest,” it ossified prehistory into a lifeless ahistorical space. In the years that followed, fascism made this inhuman terrain its own. Probing the difference between the fascist abolition of history and the subject as its bearer on the one hand, and dissident artistic/theoretical attacks on historicism and anthropomorphism on the other, Jenny Nachtigall will sketch the ambivalent manifestations of vitalism in times of crisis. She will address this historical and political index of negativity in relation to Carl Einstein’s a-subjective metamorphotics of “vibrant mortality” within and beyond art, and ask what his perspective may have to offer today.
Part of the conference Deep Time and Crisis, c. 1930