David Kishik studied philosophy at Haifa University in Israel (BA) and at the New School for Social Research in New York (MA, PhD). He is currently Assistant Professor at the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College. He is the author of Wittgenstein’s Form of Life (To Imagine a Form of Life, I), which appeared in 2008 with Continuum (paperback, 2012), The Power of Life: Agamben and the Coming Politics (To Imagine a Form of Life, II), published in 2011 with Stanford University Press, and The Manhattan Project: A Theory of a City, published in 2015 with Stanford University Press.
He is also the co-translator of Agamben’s Nudities and What Is an Apparatus? and Other Essays. He also wrote this bio, even though it is in third-person.
A Theory of New York (To Imagine a Form of Life, III)
ICI Project 2011-13
As Walter Benjamin dedicated his “Arcades Project” to Paris, capital of the nineteenth century, my next book is best described as a philosophical study of New York, capital of the twentieth century. Seen in this way, a world of elective affinities is revealed between the two cities, as the main players in Benjamin’s incomplete work experience a curious metamorphosis: the flâneur transforms into the homeless, the collector into the hoarder, Grandville into Warhol, Victor Hugo into Woody Allen, Baron Haussmann into Robert Moses, Marx into Arendt, Charles Fourier into Jane Jacobs, and the covered arcade into the bare street.
But while Benjamin sees Paris as the dream from which we need to wake up, I approach New York as the reality into which we must still awake from our current state of dogmatic slumber. What may be called “The Manhattan Project” is thus an inversion of the principle behind “The Arcades Project”: it seeks to pass through what has been, in order to experience the present as the dream that refers to the waking world of the past. New York, I argue, was a “landscape built of sheer life,” one that still stands in perfect opposition to Auschwitz’s terrain of bare life.