Towards a Weak Messianism: Benjamin With Vertov

Dragan Kujundzic, University of Memphis

In his "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility" Walter Benjamin directly refers to and engages with the work of Dziga Vertov. This mention is not accidental, but pertains to the concept central for Benjamin, that of technical reproducibility: "Similarly, the newsreel offers everyone the opportunity to rise from passer-by to movie extra. In this way any man might even find himself part of the work of art, as witness Vertov's Three Songs About Lenin." It is mechanical iterability that for both Vertov and Benjamin opens a space of a certain "weak Messianicity," whereby, at any moment in history, the working class can transcend itself, or a Messiah may enter.