The indexicality of photography has by now become a theoretical common-place: The photographic image presents us with the punctual index of a given “scene” at a specific moment. That scene is situated in an irretrievable past, its referents irrevocably displaced in time and space; indeed, the indexical image points ineluctably to something no longer extant.
In 1970, the jurist, ex-Nazi, and perennial cause célèbre Carl Schmitt was interviewed about his relationship to Hugo Ball. “Hugo Ball,” he reflected, “encountered a kind of brother in me. We both came from very Catholic families; and then we were dragged into the Wilhelmine age and had to see how we'd find our place. Each of us achieved this in our own way. This is how I explain the otherwise inexplicable enthusiasm of his essay.” The essay in question is “Carl Schmitt's Political Theology,” published in 1924 and translated into English here for the first time. Ball's review was one of the first-ever published examinations of Schmitt's work, one that even today reveals new aspects of his theologico-political theory.