The Destructive Character

by Dick Raaijmakers, replying to Walter Benjamin

10 Jun 2011
10 Jul 2011

Onomatopee 54: Research project
The Destructive Character
by Dick Raaijmakers, replying to Walter Benjamin

edited and translated by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and accompanied by Adam Staley Groves

“Creative clearing,” destructively discovering news paths, makes us understand that every destruction always implies a new beginning. By means of a series of telling examples, from Fluxus and Glenn Gould to Laurel & Hardy, John Cage, and his own work, electronics pioneer, multimedia artist and theorist Dick Raaijmakers (1930) discusses the characteristics and the peculiarities of the destructive character inside and outside the arts.

Considering the constant media coverage of destruction -- whether ecological, military, or economical -- this text is still highly contemporary, allowing us to view the concept of destruction from a new perspective.

The Destructive Character is a commentary on an essay form 1931 by the German cultural philosopher Walter Benjamin, which bears the same title and is included in this publication. In his reaction, Raaijmakers focuses on the fact that the destructive character knows of only one activity: clearing away.

Moreover, The Destructive Character is accompanied by the publication Etui of the American poet Adam Staley Groves, who reflects and reacts on both essays in general and Benjamin’s concept of the “étui-man” in particular.

The exhibition accompanying this book publication will feature work from ArtEZ design students, reacting to the publication, as well as a case presentation of Remco van Bladel’s book design. The exhibition will be opened by a common lecture by poet Adam Staley Groves and translator-editor Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei.

Curators: Remco van Bladel and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Essays by: Dick Raaijmakers and Walter Benjamin
Editor/Translator: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Designer: Remco van Bladel
Poetry by: Adam Staley Groves