School of Arts | Our research | The Peltz Gallery: Exhibition space in Birkbeck’s School of Arts
Document Actions

21 September – 27 October: Day for Night: Landscapes of Walter Benjamin

Day for Night is a multimedia exhibition inspired by the landscapes inhabited in the life and thought of Frankfurt School intellectual Walter Benjamin. Text, photography and film takes the viewer on a journey from the place of Benjamin’s birth in Berlin to Capri and Naples, where he spent formative episodes of his life. The exhibition ends in Cataluñya, northern Spain, where Benjamin died while fleeing the Nazis in 1940. It documents the lasting legacy of Benjamin’s work nearly 80 years after his death.

Benjamin wrote several of his most famous works while in exile from Germany, and ended his life stateless, after being stripped of his German citizenship by the Nazi regime in 1939.  In the current political landscape of Europe, issues of citizenship, rights and migration have acquired renewed urgency. Day for Night documents the predicament of a group of economic migrants in the border zone of northern Spain, and reunites Benjamin's texts, in fragmentary form, with members of the public in Berlin, London, Talinn, Estonia, and Cataluñya.

The exhibition takes its title from an effect in filmmaking in which night-time scenes are deliberately shot in the day then underexposed. This reversal allows the viewer to consider a basic principle of photography: how light and dark are mutually constituted. Through image and film the exhibition explores the interstitial zones of our lives, caught between exposure and refuge, and provokes a timely and urgent meditation on the enduring relationship between place, literature and rights.

The exhibition is a collaboration by fine art photographer Diego Ferrari, Kingston University, and Jean McNeil, Reader in Creative Writing, University of East Anglia.

Programme of events:

20th September 2018-  6-8pm Exhibition launch and private view. Book your tickets here. All Welcome!

6th October 2018 - 11am-5pm Creative writing workshop on place, belonging and identity

13th October 2018 - Photography Workshop: The City and the Body as Landscape with fine art photographer Diego Ferrari

Kindly supported by

University of East AngliaKingston University 1

A. Bliss logo v2


Birkbeck, School of Arts
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD


Opening hours

Monday-Friday: 10am-8pm

Saturday: 10am - 5pm (Term time unless otherwise stated)

Google map