Cite as: Georg Witte, ‘Organization of Perception, Organization of Matter’, talk presented at the workshop Organization of Perception: Rhythm and Projection, ICI Berlin, 19 January 2018, video recording, mp4, 24:34 <>
19 Jan 2018

Organization of Perception, Organization of Matter

By Georg Witte


ICI Berlin

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:24:34
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin
The expression ‘organization of perception’ appears in one of the first paragraphs of Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility’ (1935-36), in a passage that highlights the historical determination of sensory perception. The idea of the historicity of perception – which Benjamin found in art historians such as Alois Riegl, Franz Wickhoff, and Heinrich Wölfflin – lies at the very center of what one can consider his ‘media theory’.

Yet the notion of an organization of perception also relates to the wider context of aesthetic theories and practices of the 1920s and 1930s, including a series of sensorial experiments exploring this link: Thus, in theorizing rhythm, the Soviet avantgarde negotiates between transgressions of a homogeneous, linear time regime and the industrial organization of movements and frequencies of body, speech, and thought. Projection, on the other hand, structures the perception of light and redefines the materiality of perception in such a radical way that the very notion of materialism is challenged.

The workshop considers the relation of media and perception in terms of historicity, rhythm, and projection, thereby connecting to the current ICI Focus ‘ERRANS, in Time’. It brings together a number of scholars who have researched particular constellations of the historical, technical, and political organization of perception.


Part I

16:00 Welcome

16:10 Antonio Somaini (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)
Light as Medium

16:40 Elena Vogman (DFG project ‘Rhythm and Projection’ at FU Berlin)
Rhythm, Medium, Milieu: On the Memory of Forms

17:00 Gertrud Koch (Freie Universität Berlin)
Film Theory as Media Theorie

17:20 Discussion

17:50 Coffee break

Part II

18:10 Ekaterina Tewes (DFG project ‘Rhythm and Projection’ at FU Berlin)
Organization of Perception, Organization of Matter

18:30 Georg Witte (DFG project ‘Rhythm and Projection’ at FU Berlin)
Rhythm, Organization, Form

18:50 Clara Masnatta (ICI Berlin)
Paradoxical Presence: Projecting Colors

19:10 Discussion


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Gertrud Koch
Clara Masnatta
Antonio Somaini
Ekaterina Tewes
Elena Vogman
Georg Witte