Grey Room

Landscapes of Ice, Wind, and Snow: Alexander Kluge’s Aesthetic of Coldness

Nora M. Alter, Lutz Koepnik, Richard Langston

Alexander Kluge. Yesterday Girl, 1966. Video still.


The article examines Kluge’s recent work on the theme of natural coldness to argue that his media-specific techniques in these works evince an aesthetic intent on honing the human capacity for feeling unaffected by barbarism. Kluge, on the one hand, maintains his mentor Theodor Adorno’s aesthetic theory and, on the other, enlists it for new purposes. The authors unearth beneath Kluge’s dialectic of coldness a critical phenomenology that emanates from experiences that precede thought itself: living human beings’ inherent capacity to sense even the most basic of differences and therewith orientate themselves to safety in the face of debilitating ice, wind, and snow.