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Difference and OrientationAn Alexander Kluge Reader$
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Alexander Kluge and Richard Langston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739200

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739200.001.0001

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Primitive Diversity

Primitive Diversity

(p.318) 18 Primitive Diversity
Difference and Orientation

Alexander Kluge

, Richard Langston
Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the dialogue between Christian Schulte and Alexander Kluge wherein they talked about primitive diversity. “Primitive diversity” is an expression from the American East Coast for early film. The one- to two-minute films demonstrate the early form of cinema. Meanwhile, pre-Hollywood cinema is closely tied to the inventors of the film camera, who were also scientists. Primitive diversity encompasses the entire spectrum ranging from sensationalism, curiosity, and old greed to the abilities cameras themselves possess. Ultimately, this early cinema responds to the needs of migrant workers in the United States who come from many countries, are in need, and create their own public sphere themselves in the silent movies. Kluge claims that “astonishment as means of knowledge—that is primitive diversity.” The dialogue between Schulte and Kluge also ruminates on Kluge's indebtedness to the cinema of attraction.

Keywords:   Christian Schulte, Alexander Kluge, primitive diversity, early film, short films, sensationalism, film camera, migrant workers, silent movies, early cinema

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