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Edited By Jennifer Creech and Thomas O. Haakenson

How does the visual nature of spectacle inform the citizenry, destabilize the political, challenge aesthetic convention and celebrate cultural creativity? What are the limits – aesthetic, political, social, cultural, economic – of spectacle? How do we explain the inherently exclusionary, revolutionary, dehumanizing and utopian elements of spectacle?
In this book, authors from the fields of cultural studies, cinema studies, history and art history examine the concept of spectacle in the German context across various media forms, historical periods and institutional divides. Drawing on theoretical models of spectacle by Guy Debord, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Jonathan Crary and Michel Foucault, the contributors to this volume suggest that a decidedly German concept of spectacle can be gleaned from critical interventions into exhibitions, architectural milestones, audiovisual materials and cinematic and photographic images emerging out of German culture from the Baroque to the contemporary.
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Gudrun is Not a Fighting Fuck Toy: Spectacle, Femininity and Terrorism in The Baader-Meinhof Complex and The Raspberry Reich


The spectacle presents itself […] as an instrument of unification […] The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images […] The attitude which it demands in principle is passive acceptance, which in fact it already obtained by its manner of appearing without reply, by its monopoly of appearance […] [It] is the existing order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself, its laudatory monologue. It is the self-portrait of power.

— GUY DEBORD, The Society of the Spectacle (3, 4, 12, 24)

Fuck me, for the Revolution!

— GUDRUN, The Raspberry Reich

In 1970, the Red Army Faction (RAF) entered the world stage as West Germany’s most infamous leftist terrorist group. As a more radical outgrowth of the student protest movement and the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO), the RAF was informed by both Marxist-Leninist and Frankfurt School critiques of capitalism, liberal democracy, the military industrial complex and the mainstream media. Implementing Che Guevara’s concept of the “urban guerilla,” the RAF embodied a spectacular version of leftist insurgency through their self-stylized manifestos and through high-profile bank robberies, the abduction and murder of prominent German industrialists, the hijacking of airplanes, as well as through their dramatic suicides while incarcerated at Stammheim prison. ← 187 | 188 →

Two recent German films deal in dramatically different ways with the spectacularity of the RAF’s terrorism: The Baader-Meinhof Complex (Dir. Uli Edel, 2008) and The Raspberry Reich (Dir. Bruce LaBruce, 2004). The Baader-Meinhof Complex provides an action-packed...

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