essay _ TUNING IN: WALTER BENJAMIN BROADCASTING THE CITY

Posted on June 1, 2010

Bruno Taut, Berlin

Review of Radio Broadcasts, 1929-32, by Walter Benjamin, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians,  Multimedia section, #69:2 (June 2010): 262-65. 

Excerpt: From 1927 to 1933, Walter Benjamin hit the airwaves with radio broadcasts for the Berliner Funkstunde and the Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk. Many of these programs focused on the metropolis of Berlin, revisiting the city’s glamorous and disputed areas. Here one hears some of Benjamin’s most explicit commentary on the metropolitan environment. Reflecting on particular urban conditions, describing architectural works, and, most interestingly, calling on the listener to visit specific sites within the city, Benjamin’s radio talks encouraged an active engagement with the city and its architecture. The new medium of the radio became in Benjamin’s hands a vehicle to expose the everyday of the metropolis by making the listeners active participants in the material and spatial discoveries of the city in which they were living . . .