essay _ STRANGER THAN FICTION
Posted on April 1, 2013
Chapter “Stranger Than Fiction,” in Once Upon a Place, eds. Susana Oliveira and Pedro Gadanho (Lisbon: Caleidoscópio, 2013), 121-31.
Excerpt: Some of the most effective urban fictions were told in the city of Berlin in the late 1920s, when Walter Benjamin’s urban radio broadcasts were not only extending the city’s spatial understanding but also challenging its common perception. The radio waves had entered the ether of the metropolis, and with it came the penetration of all realms of urban life. Understanding the radio as one of the most influential tools of modernity and describing the metropolis as the generator of fictions, Benjamin joined the capacities of this new technology with the qualities of the city. For a short duration, this realm was Benjamin’s laboratory of ideas. He had a cultural practice in mind that involves the city much more directly and …