Take the Square

We are indebted to Chris Hedges for reminding us of an astonishing passage from Elias Canetti’s masterful study Crowds and Power, a book that has long made conventional political science queazy, as the author subjects the vertically aligned Body of the Ruler to a painstakingly thorough colonoscopy.

We located the quoted passage inside our own well-chewed volume, and hereby provide its full context, slightly re-formatted for readability (with images added by DP, not EC):

THIS DESIGN HAS TEETH

EXPLODED ALIMENTARY CANAL

INGESTED MORSEL

LARGE INTESTINE

Against the draining of all resistance from the bodies of the ruled by the gluttonous eater at the top of the food chain, we turn to an alternative vision of the polity, as communicated through an important video installation project by Oliver Ressler: Take the Square.

Ressler’s subject matter shapes his aesthetic; he is not afraid simply to let people talk amongst themselves, and to discover unexpected ideas through dialogue. From a position within the production process that is open, respectful and generous, Ressler documents many beautiful and lucid conversations among activist-citizens who are deeply immersed in meaningful horizontality.

Since no central thesis is being pushed down the tube, viewers also have the space to find a way in (and out), and come to their own conclusions. The “Rise up!” photo links to a page on Ressler’s own site, where it is possible to view a four minute excerpt from the installation:

Later this morning, alas, the entire editorial staff of DP shall trudge to the local polling station, to participate – if sluggishly – in our own vertical digestion.

THE ULTIMATE END OF VERTICAL POWER


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