The photographic archive assembles in effigy the last elements of a nature alienated from meaning. This warehousing of nature promotes the confrontation of consciousness with nature. Just as consciousness finds itself confronting the unabashedly displayed mechanics of industrial society, it aslo faces, thanks to photographic technology, the reflection of the reality that has slipped away from it. To have provoked the decisive confrontation in every field — this is precisely the go-for-broke game of the historical process. The images of the stock of nature disintegrated into its elements are offered up to consciousness to deal with as it pleases. Their original order is lost; they no longer cling to the spatial context that linked them with an original out of which the memory-image was selected. However, if the remnants of nature are not oriented toward the memory-image, then, the order they assume through the image is necessarily provisional. It is therefore incumbent on consciousness to esablisht the provisional status of al given configurations and, perhaps, even to awaken an inling of the right order of the inventory of nature. In the works of Franz Kafka, a liberated consciousness absolves itself of this responsibility by destroying natural reality and ruling the fragments against each other. The disorder of the detritus reflected in photography cannot be elucidated more clearly than through the suspension of every habitual relationship between the elements of nature. The capacity to stir up the elements of nature is one of the possibilities of film. This possibility is realized whenever film combines parts and segments to create strange constructs. If the disarray of the illustrated newspapers is simply confusion, the game that film plays with the pieces of disjointed nature is reminiscent of dreams in which the fragments of daily life become jumbled. This game indicates that the valid organization of things is not known, an organization that would designated how the remains of the grandmother and the diva stored in the general inventory will some day have to appear.
— from The Mass Ornament by Siegfried Kracauer (1993)
Extracted from file: “Dream-world;” Cross-reference: “Dialectic of Conscious and Unconscious”
— From the Desk of the Unconscious