Saturday, April 29, 2006

darkness visible

"While the bourgeois household was reluctant to admit gas because of its unpleasant smell and its poisonous, explosive nature, all doors were immediately opened to electric light. 'The Edison light is penetrating not only into rooms that are at present lit by gas, but even into those that are closed to it - that is, elegant apartments and drawing-rooms - and chandeliers and candelabra.' It was electricity's properties as a pure, odourless and non-physical form of energy that made it immediately acceptable in drawing rooms.

"...An analogy between electrical power and finance capital springs to mind. The concentration and centralisation of energy in high-capacity power stations corresponded to the concentration of economic power in big banks." Schivelbusch, Disenchanted Night via

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Fashion, like architecture, inheres in the darkness of the lived moment, belongs to the dream consciousness of the collective. The latter awakes, for example, in advertising. Walter Benjamin, Arcades.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been pulling new wire into some of the conduits of my 1920s home. All of the original condiut was pipe that was usable for gas or electric lighting. Probably never had gas in any of them, but the builders were still hedging that feature. It does still have a gas line to a lamp pole in the lawn, but no lamp any more.

4/30/2006 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cool would it be to have a gaslit home. You could be off the grid, and always have that romantic Charles Boyer glow. During the power outages, you'd be in the catbird seat. Gas stove and hot water too.

5/01/2006 8:58 PM  

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