The Walter Benjamin Path is not a metaphorical fiction; it is a real Pyrenean hiking trail that leads from France to Spain. It is a border trail taken by people who fled European totalitarian regimes during World War II. Its point of arrival, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, is the cemetery of Portbou, which recalls the memory of Walter Benjamin who died there on September 26, 1940. Between irony and tragedy, the tombstone takes up the famous quote from the philosopher “There is no document of culture that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.”
In front of the cemetery, a memorial, created by the artist Dani Karavan, pays homage to the German philosopher, it is called “passages.” This sculpted work testifies to a reflection on memory, the partition of space and the journey through time, in resonance with Benjamin's thought.
The Walter Benjamin path can be analyzed as a rhizome document. The path, in a documentary maze, establishes a tension between visible and invisible, presence and absence.
Walking along the Walter Benjamin trail is an invitation to think poetically about the world, an experience of documentarity where word and thing, idea and experience coincide.
"Documents that Make Us Uneasy: Walter Benjamin’s Path,"
Proceedings from the Document Academy: Vol. 9
, Article 7.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol9/iss2/7
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)