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In contemporary debates within philosophy, as much as in the arts, it seems impossible not to confirm the assumption that art is political. Art is one of the contemporary battle fields or resources, media, or whatever term one privileges for political action or articulation. One might even go as far as noting that art as a specific material form of practice often intervenes in the social and political sphere. One attributes to art a sovereignty of reflection, distortion, impact that no other practice—including politics—is ever able to attain. Art seems to be the better form of political action, simply because it is politics without what is problematic in politics (questions of hierarchy, power, exclusion, violence, etc.).

Abstract

The article investigates two contemporary propositions that it seeks to dismantle: 1. The proposition “everything is political” that it takes as one of the crucial implication of the concept of biopolitics. 2. The proposition “all art is political” that it takes to be a defense mechanism against the insight of the indefensibility of proposition 1. The article demonstrates how both propositions ultimately unfold from the mythic assumption of a givenness of politics and/or art and it concludes by suggesting that only a complete suspension of any kind of givenness might be a preparation for true politics or art to come. This preparation the article delineates as fatalist preparation.


Keywords

biopolitics, Esposito, fatalism, Foucault, Hegel, political art

Abstract

Louis Althusser’s theory of ideology allows us to account for all kinds of joyful obedience performed by individuals. This theory does not require any assumption of lacking knowledge or “false consciousness” on the side of subjectivated individuals. Therefore, it provides the crucial tools for explaining the specific political efficiency of art. This efficiency does not stem from any new “information,” as the predominant tendencies in alleged “political” or “documentary” art since the 1990s have presupposed, and as the popular notion of “artistic research” may still suggest. On the contrary, in order to be politically efficient, art has to tackle not the knowledge but the specific subjectivations individuals have undergone. When one augments Althusser’s fragmentary account of subjectivation by the distinctions between “belief” and “faith” introduced by Octave Mannoni, and additionally introduces as a third category that of “paranoia,” then one can specify the predominant types of subjectivation in current Western societies—as well as the exits that critical art can offer from these subjectivations. Artistic exit strategies from forms of faith and paranoia will be analyzed with regard to works by John Heartfield, Bernard Mandeville, and Christoph Schlingensief.


Keywords

Althusser, artistic research, belief, ideology, faith, paradoxical intervention, paranoia, subjectification

Abstract

Suspicion toward reason is integral to much contemporary critical theory. The proximate source for this spirit of suspicion is undoubtedly Nietzsche’s genealogical unmasking of the will to truth as will to power. Robert Brandom summarizes this development as follows: Where the Enlightenment disenchanted the world through reason, genealogy is disillusionment with reason. Genealogy is the skeptical exacerbation of critique, the point at which it becomes suspicious of its own residual rationalism. The move from critique to genealogy marks the shift from the rational demarcation of reason’s limits to the skeptical destitution of reason’s authority. But reason is dialectical precisely to the extent that disenchantment presupposes an underlying trust in the capacities of conceptual rationality. Without such trust, the absolutization of genealogical suspicion lapses into metaphysical credulity toward an ultimately theological “other” of reason.

Keywords

Brandom, critique, dialectics, Freud, genealogy, Hegel, hermeneutics of suspicion

Abstract

This article discusses the relation between art and politics by reference to Martin Heidegger’s essay on the “Origin of the Work of Art” (1971a). It argues that Heidegger’s Nazism and anti-Semitism are not situated in his remarks on politics, but in his concept of art and technology. Alongside a reading of ideas on art and his fear of modern technology the question arises if this anti-Semitism is crucial to Heidegger’s philosophy or if it is “banal” in the sense Jean-Luc Nancy recently argued: banal according to Hannah Arendt’s judgment of Eichmann (Nancy 2015: 12). Banality implies for Nancy a doxa of anti-Semitism that can be found not only in Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, but also in his concepts of history, technics, and modernity.

Keywords

anti-Semitism, discourse on art and politics, Heidegger, Nazism, techné

Abstract

This article refers to the famous question of the politicization versus aestheticization of art, recently discussed by Boris Groys
in terms of usefulness and uselessness, or “design” and “art proper,” and, by criticizing Croys’ dualist approach, shows that
in the biopolitical framework of contemporary ideology, the usefulness and uselessness pass into each other and thus create
a circle within which any art is presented as individual or social therapy, or a sort of phármakon that is both poison and cure.
In search for another conception of art, the article addresses to some radical avant-garde conceptions of theatre, such as Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty and Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre of Death,
and, reflecting through the ways of recombining elements and principles of what Alain Badiou characterized as a “leftist threat” for the theatre, demonstrates a rational political kernel of their destructive force.

Keywords

Antonin Artaud, art, Boris Groys, phármakon, Tadeusz Kantor

Abstract

In this article I present a reading of the transition from the first to the second books of Hegel’s Logic, focusing on the Encyclopedia Logic. In particular I investigate the notion of the excess (das Maßlose), which is the final concept Hegel discusses in the first book of that version of the Logic. I set the stage for this interpretation by briefly introducing the work of two other Hegel scholars: Dieter Henrich and Slavoj Žižek. Each of them presents a reading of the same transition I am focusing on and argue, as
I do, that we can find the key to Hegel’s Logic in it. Henrich focuses on autonomous negation, Žižek on retroactivity. My aim in the article is to manouvre between the suggestions of Henrich and Žižek and to provide a new approach to understanding
Hegel in doing so.

Keywords

dialectics, Dieter Henrich, excess, Hegel, negativity, retroactivity, Slavoj Žižek, sufficient reason

Abstract

There are two theoretical anchors of this endeavor: the ontological perspective and the dialectical-materialist perspective. While dialectical materialism stresses the role of antagonism created by technological progress, the ontology of technology brings research to the question of essence, or specific technological (en)framing. This paper will try to prove that both the ontological and the dialectical-materialist perspective are substantial in the research of technology. Contemporary theory of new media rarely includes both theoretical principles, moreover the two perspectives are usually thought to be unrelated.

Keywords

dialectical materialism, Gestell, Heidegger, technology

Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2012, 212pp., ISBN 978-3851326901

Reviewed by Mirt Komel
University of Ljubljana

1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014, 320pp., ISBN 978-0674725133

2. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013, 384pp., ISBN 978-0674724594

Reviewed by Olga Bashkina
University of Leuven

Farnham: Ashgate, 2014, 247pp., ISBN 978-1409470526

Reviewed by Maria Kochkina
European University at St. Petersburg

Princeton University Press, 2011, 312pp., ISBN 978-0691148311

Reviewed by Ilya Matveev
European University at St. Petersburg,
North-West Institute of Management RANEPA