This project was an addendum to a chapter in my dissertation, titled "Negotiating the German Public Sphere: Workers, Soldiers, and Women in Photobooks of Weimar Germany." As I am revising my dissertation for publication, this project is going to be continuously updated and changed as necessary. Any parts of my analysis and selections of my materials are subject to change until the official release of this Scalar book.
Sept 2022 - Verena Kick
This Scalar book allows you to explore Kurt Tucholsky's and John Heartfield's Germany, Germany Above All (GG) (1929), particularly its text-image-combinations and montage sequences. These combinations of previously published texts and photographs showcase the extended potential of the photobook genre to both represent and create publics, and to allow readers - and possibly worker-readers - to find a double role:
- First, they may be able to identify with the representation of the working class in the photographs included in GG.
- Secondly, at the same time, they may be able to develop a critical stance to their own representation.
To this end, GG becomes a, as a I call it, a second-order photobook (a working term for now).
It builds on those photobooks produced in the 1920s that I would call first-order photobooks. They primarily aimed to showcase the new possibilities of photography and of photo-photo or photo-text combinations within a book's page layout. They tried to show how these combinations could educate readers to become more visually literate.
Tucholsky and Heartfield re-use previously published texts and photographs (taken by others) not only to create juxtapositions between (several) texts and photographs, but also to create, what I call, functional montages.
These montages build on the idea of the Soviet film montage and also imitate, to some extent, the assembly line. The idea, however, is not to look for the finished product of the montage, but to become aware of the process, i.e, how texts and images function on their own, and how they do so when they are put in relationship with each other. In this way, readers, and potentially working class readers, can become aware of how photobooks, their texts and images, and their montages represent Weimar's public sphere, while at the same time challenging this representation in creating their own publics and potentially counter publics.
Now it's your turn!
Like the student in the photograph below:
Learn to read and look!
You will be able to choose between 8 different paths to explore this photobook's text-image-combinations and functional montages.
First, I suggest you take a moment to simply flip trough a few pages of the photobook (path 1).
Mainly for students, but also scholars:
You can choose between encountering and discovering the functional montage on your own (path 2) or follow a step-by-step guide (path 3) that explains the functional montage.
Mainly for scholars, but also for students:
On other paths you can learn how the functional montage relates to the photomontage (path 4) and to the photo reportage (path 7) published by Tucholsky before GG appeared.
One path will also allow you to compare several functional montages (path 6).
For both students and scholars:
And one path will even test you! (path 5) How does the functional montage work for you? Will you be able to develop your own dynamical view of these text-image combinations?