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Title: Rough Surfaces: The Collage Works of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann
Authors: Ewing, Megan
Advisors: Jennings, Michael W.
Contributors: German Department
Keywords: affect theory
Conceptual Art
philosophy of the senses
Rolf Dieter Brinkmann
Subjects: German literature
Art history
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Abstract Rough Surfaces examines the post-1970 works of the West German author and collage artist, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (1940-1975) Around 1970, Brinkmann’s commitment to intermedial experimentation produces a broad critique of contemporary media decrying 1) the loss of sensuous particularity, and 2) the marginalization of forms of experience that operate outside of language. These forms of experience do not contribute to a distanced perceptual mastery over one’s environs, but instead establish the fact of the body’s extra-/para-/a-linguistic communication with other objects and bodies. The dissertation investigates the potential of the post-1970 collage works to draw their reader out of the state of diminished sensory-affective experience they themselves index. All posthumously published, these are: Rom, Blicke (1979), Erkundungen für die Präzisierung des Gefühls für einen Aufstand: Reise Zeit Magazin (Tagebuch) (1987) and Schnitte (1988). Alienation under modern urban conditions is made visible, audible, and above all, palpable to the reader through Brinkmann’s relentless register of a frenzied and repetitive excess of sensory information. Rough Surfaces identifies these texts as belonging to that class of aesthetic objects whose force-effects “touch” their viewer or reader, intending to restore affective and sensory experience to the individual living under conditions of increasing abstraction, acceleration and compression. Chapter 1 introduces the productive resonances between contemporary affect theory and Brinkmann’s post-1970 psychophysical approach to literature. Chapter 2 builds on these resonances to demonstrate that the work is best read as non-representational. Chapter 3 establishes Brinkmann's appropriation of American aesthetic models—specifically those of New York School authors, composers and artists—for his strategies. The project then charts this influence on the psychogeographic and notational praxes that generate the collage works. Chapter 4 profiles a medial shift from Brinkmann’s pre-1970 appropriations of photographic techniques of representation to the late style’s adaptations of specifically filmic techniques that structure the work after 1970. These praxes of remediation intend the sensuous registration of a body in space by means of a temporally-bound, i.e. embodied writing, reflecting the question that motivates them—namely, how is it possible to situate a body in space as abstraction further deepens the condition of alienation?
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:German

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