Georges Didi-Huberman; To Render Sensible

Representable People, Imaginary People? Representation of the people comes up against a double difficulty, if not a double aporia, that comes from the impossibility of our subsuming each of the two terms, “representation” and “people,” into the unity of one concept. Hannah Arendt said that we will never manage to think about the political dimension as long as we stubbornly persist in speaking of man, since politics is interested precisely in something else, which is men, whose multiplicity is modulated differently each time, whether it be in conflict or community. (1) Likewise we must say, and forcefully, that we will…

Deleuze/Guattari; How Do You Make Yourself a Body Without Organs?

At any rate, you have one (or several). It’s not so much that it preexists or comes ready-made, although in certain respects it is preexistent. At any Tate, you make one, you can’t desire without making one. And it awaits you; it is an inevitable exercise or experimentation, already accomplished the moment you undertake it, unaccomplished as long as you don’t. This is not assuring, because you can botch it. Or it can be terrifying, and lead you to your death. It is nondesire as well as desire. It is not at all a notion or a concept but a…

Félix Guattari; IN FLUX

Maurice Nadeau: Could you briefly explain how your collaboration came into being? Félix Guattari: This collaboration is not the product of a simple meeting of two individuals. Aside from a combination of circumstances, we were also led to it by a whole political context. Initially it was less a question of pooling knowledge than the accumulation of our uncertainties, and even a certain distress in the face of the turn of events after May ’68. We are part of a generation whose political consciousness was born in the enthusiasm and naivete of the Liberation, with its conspiratorial mythology of fascism….

Alain Badiou; On Pier Paolo Pasolini

DESTRUCTION, NEGATION, SUBTRACTION The abstract contents of my lecture is a very simple one. I can summarize it in five points: All creations, all novelties, are in some sense the affirmative part of a negation. “Negation”, because if something happens as new, it cannot be reduced to the objectivity of the situation where it happens. So, it is certainly like a negative exception to the regular laws of this objectivity. But “affirmation”, affirmative part of the negation, because if a creation is reducible to a negation of the common laws of objectivity, it completely depends on them concerning its identity….

Simon Critchley; Is Utopianism Dead?

We are living through a long anti-1960s. The various anti-capitalist experiments in communal living and collective existence that defined that period seem to us either quaintly passé, laughably unrealistic or dangerously misguided. Having grown up and thrown off such seemingly childish ways, we now think we know better than to try and bring heaven crashing down to earth and construct concrete utopias. To that extent, despite our occasional and transient enthusiasms and Obamaisms, we are all political realists; indeed most of us are passive nihilists and cynics. This is why we still require a belief in something like original sin,…

Jacques Rancière; Politics and Aesthetics

Peter Hallward: Sometimes you present political practice as a sort of ex nihilo innovation, almost like the constitution of a new world, even if the world in question is extremely fragile, uncertain, ephemeral. Don’t you need to consider political innovation alongside the development of its conditions of possibility? I mean, for instance, on the political side of things, the role played by civic institutions and state organisations, the public space opened up, in Athens, in France, by the invention of democratic institutions (that is, the sort of factors you generally relegate to the sphere of the police, as opposed to…

Jacques Rancière; The Emancipated Spectator

  I gave to this talk the title: « 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 which seem at first sight to bear no direct relation on each other. 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 that he wanted me…