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"The New Arcades Project" has its origins in two cultural objects: Walter Benjamin's "Arcades Project" and a lyrical fragment from Pavement song "Gold Soundz." It is well known that Benjamin intended "Arcades Project" to be more or less a collection of quotations pulled out of context from their original sources, then assembled together in a way that they generate new meanings via Benjamin's collage technique. Putting his theory of weak messianism into practice, he sought to redeem these fragments of the past by building a sanctuary where they can stay and form new constellations of histoire(s). Benjamin's quotation-collage technique and philosophy of history find their unlikely epigraph in Pavement's "Gold Soundz," in which Stephen Malkmus sings "you can never quarantine the past."
Instead of literary quotations, "The New Arcades Project" consists mostly of visual and audio excerpts. It is a retelling of the history of cinema as a medium, as well as the material/political histories that cinema has documented and the history of philosophy in relation to film. As Jean-Luc Godard rightfully says in his magnum opus "Histoire(s) du cinema," the history of cinema really is the history of the 20th century.
"The New Arcades Project" is very much a project of its time: made during the COVID quarantine in Brooklyn, by a young queer person locked in his rent stabilized apartment, with the help of the distinctly 21st century technology known as the internet when it comes to sourcing materials used for the video.
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