Fortschritt: Angelus Novus

Autor: ehemaliges Mitglied

Paul Klee's painting 'Angelus Novus' (1920)

The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term "Post-Colonialism"

By Anne McClintock

His face is turned towards the past... The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole that which has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irrestistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Walter Benjamin


The collapse of both capitalist and communist teleologies of "progress" has resulted in a doubled and overdetermined crisis in images of future time. The uncertain global situation has spawned a widespread sense of historic abandonment, of which the apocalytic, time-stopped prevalence of "post-" words is only one symptom. The storm of "progress" had blown for both communism and capitalism alike. Now the wind is stilled, and the angel with hunched wings broods over the wreckage at its feet. In this calm at "the end of history," the millenium has come too soon, and the air seems thick with omen.


Source... Social Text, No. 31/32, Third World and Post-Colonial Issues (1992), pp. 84-98



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