In: KulturPoetik 2010, Heft 1


Stefan Bub


Porosität und Gassengeschlinge. Siegfried Kracauers und Walter Benjamins mediterrane Städtebilder




In the 1920s, Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin, both fascinated by surface phenomena, wrote stylistically similar prose texts about townscape. The specific character of their description of Mediterranean places can be captured by the notion of »porosity« (fully expressed in Benjamin’s Neapel). »Porosity« applies to the mutual penetration of public and private life, or of noise and silence in a world of surprising constellations. But whereas Benjamin focuses on the emphatic experience of similarity, Kracauer shows, from a more melancholic perspective, how the old Marseille is threatened by the cold and deserted spaces of modern urbanity which create distance and fear. At the same time, »porosity« reveals signs of decay and decomposition. Finally, Felsenwahn in Positano illustrates a form of amorphous habitation embedded in mute nature.