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Art and Junk

Heidegger on Transition

Back to issue: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2007
EUR 14.90

In Being and Time the broken piece of equipment (§ 16) or the dead body of an Other (§ 47) were seen as resulting from a process of transition (Übergang) between an original state and a position not so removed from it that one had to do with something entirely different. ‚The Origin of the Work of Art‘ takes a more radical approach: rather than leading toward a ‚no longer, but not yet‘, the movement here is toward a ‚no longer, but already‘. Hence its famous thesis: either art is at work, or it is no longer art and already a mere object of art, a piece of art. Contrary to those of Heidegger’s readers who have suggested that his earlier views on transition would have saved him some of the (i.e. political) trouble the art essay runs into, the present paper aims to show that both the earlier and the later view fail to come to terms with what happens in transition as such. This is illustrated by an analysis of the corpse (ad BT § 47), and of junk (ad BT § 16) and leads us to a different approach to what is at stake in art and in the kind of Darstellung exemplified by it.