Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 28, 2009
Hans Ulrich Obrist
In Conversation with Raoul Vaneigem
Hans Ulrich Obrist: I just visited Edouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau, who have written an appeal to Barack Obama. What would your appeal and/or advice be to Obama?
Raoul Vaneigem: I refuse to cultivate any relationship whatsoever with people of power. I agree with the Zapatistas from Chiapas who want nothing to do with either the state or its masters, the multinational mafias. I call for civil disobedience so that local communities can form, coordinate, and begin self-producing natural power, a more natural form of farming, and public services that are finally liberated from the scams of government by the Left or the Right. On the other hand, I welcome the appeal by Chamoiseau, Glissant, and their friends for the creation of an existence in which the poetry of a life rediscovered will put an end to the deadly stranglehold of the commodity. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Anarchy, Cops Suck, Poetry, Spectacle, The French | 2 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 18, 2008
This is not my favorite translation, I prefer Paul Schmidt’s, but oh well…. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Anarchy, Cops Suck, Poetry, The French | 5 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 17, 2008
Misadventures of Universality
Thank you to Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Joseph Backstein and to the Biennale foundation. I shall bring out my subject by focusing on some statements and spectacles from another art Biennale that I visited last week in Seville, in Spain. The curator of that biennale in Seville was also the curator of the last ‘Documenta’ in Kassel, Kozui Enwezor, gave to the gathering of the artists and works a far-ranging objective court: “to unmask those machineries that decimate and waste social economic and political interconnection looking for a return to a logics of totalisation .” So, the question which the Biennale should address was: “how could, how can art play an integral and not only peripheral role in relation to the global challenge that affects both the artistic production and reception, especially in light of the damaging effects of reactionary conservative and fundamentalist politics in all social structures of the world today.” So, such statements affirm a will to oppose postmodern scepticism and resume a certain form of “universalist” view of art and politics and of the connection and attempt to challenge the machineries of dissociation, to restore a sense of universality and intelligibility, of the interconnections that frame a global world. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in The French | Leave a Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 17, 2008
For thirty years now, the philosopher Paul Virilio analyses the
catastrophe as the unavoidable consequence of technological progress. He
sees in the current financial crisis the most accomplished example of
his theory, a catastrophe where the victims do not actually die, but
lose the roof above their heads by the thousands.
Gerard Courtois/Michel Guerrin:
In 2002 you have produced an exhibition at the Maison Cartier under the
title “Ce qui arrive” (‘that what occurs’); It was about the accident in
contemporary history: Tchernobyl, 9-11, the Tsunami… A statement by
Hannah Arendt was the marker of your demonstration: “progress and
catastrophe are the two faces of the same coin”. Is this where we have
come to with the ‘crash of the stock exchange’?
Well, of course. In 1979, at the time of the mishap at the Three Mile
Island nuclear plant in the U.S., I did mention the occurence of an
“original accident” – the kind of accident we bring forth ourselves. I
said that our technical prowess was pregnant of catastrophic promises.
In the past, accidents were local affairs. With Tchernobyl, we have
entered the era of global accidents, whose consequences are in the realm
of the long term. the current crash represents the perfect ‘integral
accident’. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in The French | 1 Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 15, 2008
Jacques Rancière and Indisciplinarity
Translated by Gregory Elliot
This is the transcript of an interview conducted with Jacques Rancière by Marie-Aude Baronian and Mireille Rosello from the University of Amsterdam and ASCA. A version of this interview was published in Dutch by Valiz (NL), in a volume of studies on Jacques Rancière that appeared in the Netherlands in late 2007. In this exchange, Ranciere discusses his position with regard to democracy, politics, film, literature, art and research.
Q) How do you place yourself in the current French intellectual scene?
a) Le Magazine littéraire and Le Nouvel Observateur have recently referred to you as a key figure in the contemporary French intellectual scene: how, briefly, would you characterise your ‘profile’ and your contribution to French thought?
I try to problematise the categories that structure diagnoses of our present and debates about it. Thus, I’ve attempted to rethink democracy by refusing both its official identification with the state forms and lifestyles of rich societies and denunciation of it as a form that masks the realities of domination. Official apologists and Marxist critics basically concur in characterising democracy as a mode of government built on a society defined as a society of consumers. In opposition to this dominant view I’ve reactivated the real scandal of democracy – which is that it reveals the ultimate absence of legitimacy of any government. As the foundation of politics it asserts the equal capacity of anyone and everyone to be either governor or governed. I’ve thus been led to conceive democracy as the deployment of forms of action that activate anyone’s equality with anyone else, and not as a form of state or a kind of society. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in The French | 2 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 13, 2008
Sarah Palin: Operation “Castration”
translated by Jake Bellone with James Curley-Egan
The choice of Sarah Palin is a sign of the times. In politics, the feminine enunciation is hence called to dominate. But be careful! It’s no longer about women who play elbows, modeling themselves on the men. We are entering an era of postfeminist women, women who, without bargaining, are ready to kill the political men. The transition was perfectly visible during Hillary’s campaign: she began playing the commander in chief and, since that didn’t work, what did she do? She sent a subliminal message, one that said something like: “Obama? He’s got nothing in the pants.” And she immediately took it back, but it was too late. Sarah Palin is not only picking up where she left off but, being younger by fifteen years, she is otherwise ferocious, slinging feminine sarcasm like a natural; she overtly castrates her male adversaries (and with such frank jubilation!) and their only recourse is to remain silent: they have no idea how to attack a woman who uses her femininity to ridicule them and reduce them to impotence. For the moment, a woman who plays the “castration” card is invincible. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Insanity, Spectacle, The French | 1 Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 13, 2008
A remembrance of the author’s friendship with Guy Debord in the late 1950s and early 60s – with some theoretical reflections.
Debord, in the Resounding Cataract of Time
(David Blanchard, 1995)
There are moments in one’s existence that stand out, as if of a more solid texture, drawn in stronger lines contrasting with the uzziness and fathomless ambiguity of the rest of life. And they really are charged with objective meaning, imparted by the movement of a sort of historic overdetermination. Often that special quality only reveals itself retrospectively, but sometimes, too, it is perceived immediately. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Alcohol, Communism, punk, Spectacle, The City, The French | 1 Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 10, 2008
Being by numbers – interview with artists and philosopher Alain Badiou – Interview
Alain Badiou is an anomaly. What he has attempted has all the allure of the obviously impossible. That’s the fascination of the thing. Judge it retrograde or eminently contemporary, aberrant or a stroke of genius, but take it squarely for what it is: the painstaking effort on the part of an Althusserian Marxist, longtime Maoist, and unanalyzed disciple of Lacan to quit the confines that several generations of “limit-makers” have erected around philosophical practice. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Communism, Poetry, Spectacle, The French | Leave a Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 9, 2008
DELEUZE / ANTI OEDIPE ET MILLE PLATEAUX
Cours Vincennes – 16/11/1971
Capitalism, flows, the decoding of flows, capitalism and schizophrenia, psychoanalysis, Spinoza.
What is it that moves over the body of a society? It is always flows, and a person is always a cutting off [coupure] of a flow. A person is always a point of departure for the production of a flow, a point of destination for the reception of a flow, a flow of any kind; or, better yet, an interception of many flows.
If a person has hair, this hair can move through many stages: the hairstyle of a young girl is not the same as that of a married woman, it is not the same as that of a widow: there is a whole hairstyle code. A person, insofar as she styles her hair, typically presents herself as an interceptor in relation to flows of hair that exceed her and exceed her case and these flows of hair are themselves coded according to very different codes: widow code, young girl code, married woman code, etc. This is ultimately the essential problem of coding and of the territorialization which is always coding flows with it, as a fundamental means of operation: marking persons (because persons are situated at the interception and at the cutting off [coupure] of flows, they exist at the points where flows are cut off [coupure]). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Deleuze, Punk Rock, The French, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 5, 2008
new left review 49 jan feb 2008 29
THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS
There was a tangible sense of depression in the air in France
in the aftermath of Sarkozy’s victory.1 It is often said that
unexpected blows are the worst, but expected ones some-
times prove debilitating in a different way. It can be oddly
dispiriting when an election is won by the candidate who has led in the
opinion polls from the start, just as when the favourite horse wins the
race; anyone with the slightest feeling for a wager, a risk, an exception or
a rupture would rather see an outsider upset the odds. Yet it could hardly
have been the bare fact of Nicolas Sarkozy as President that seemed to
come as such a disorientating blow to the French left in the aftermath
of May 2007. Something else was at stake—some complex of factors for
which ‘Sarkozy’ is merely a name. How should it be understood?
An initial factor was the way in which the outcome affirmed the mani-
fest powerlessness of any genuinely emancipatory programme within
the electoral system: preferences are duly recorded, in the passive man-
ner of a seismograph, but the process is one that by its nature excludes
any embodiments of dissenting political will. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Communism, Enemy, Nightmare, Poverty, The French | Tagged: Communism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on August 29, 2008
The Emancipated Spectator
I have called this talk “The Emancipated Spectator.”* As I understand it, a title is always a challenge. It sets forth the presupposition that an expression makes sense, that there is a link between separate terms, which also means between concepts, problems, and theories that seem at first sight to bear no direct relation to one another. In a sense, this title expresses the perplexity that was mine when Marten Spangberg invited me to deliver what is supposed to be the “keynote” lecture of this academy. He told me he wanted me to introduce this collective reflection on “spectatorship” because he had been impressed by my book The Ignorant Schoolmaster [Le Maitre ignorant (1987)]. I began to wonder what connection there could be between the cause and the effect. This is an academy that brings people involved in the worlds of art, theater, and performance together to consider the issue of spectatorship today. The Ignorant Schoolmaster was a meditation on the eccentric theory and the strange destiny of Joseph Jacotot, a French professor who, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, unsettled the academic world by asserting that an ignorant person could teach another ignorant person what he did not know himself, proclaiming the equality of intelligences, and calling for intellectual emancipation against the received wisdom concerning the instruction of the lower classes. His theory sank into oblivion in the middle of the nineteenth century. I thought it necessary to revive it in the 1980s in order to stir up the debate about education and its political stakes. But what use can be made, in the contemporary artistic dialogue, of a man whose artistic universe could be epitomized by names such as Demosthenes, Racine, and Poussin? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Spectacle, The French | Leave a Comment »