The profit-oriented society is a notion sold to us by capitalism. In reality, people are not born vying for profit but are trained for it by the system – they’re corrupted. The lust for profit is not a natural drive, like sexual drive, but is a cultural product.
Film is a space of freedom – you can behave cynically, or even cruelly, and the viewers will think it’s ›just acting‹ anyway, so you have an alibi. Reality is a bit like we describe it. Our bodies are also like we describe them. Disease is pathophysiology’s narrative about the body. Old age is the narrative about the body told by the social security system. Bodies happen to be as society wants them. If it’s a nationalised body, for instance, one called up into the army, the narrative will be potentially tragic and lofty at the same time. […]
Compassion is a concept invented for the purpose of the onlookers – it’s their alibi. I look because I sympathise, not because I’m fascinated by physical deformity – such as the sight of a legless man. And yet it’s also a roadshow of forms, a theatre of strange visual combinations, of unexpected...
The project of feminist nomadism for a European thinker implies a relationship to multiple languages.
My life-long engagement in the project of nomadic subjectivity rests on a specific cartography of our globalised times, marked by large-scale and technologically-mediated transformations of our social, economic and political universes. I start from the assumption that, as a result of these upheavals, traditional forms of self-representation, familiar cultural points of reference and age-old habits of thought are being re-composed, albeit in contradictory ways.
Our historical context is marked by the schizoid structure of technology-driven advanced capitalism, as Deleuze and Guattari lucidly put it. Examples of the non-linear and internally contradictory ways of the working of this system are the vast accumulation of wealth alongside growing disparities in income, well-being and access to the very technologies that sustain our economy. Another example is the paradox of a world economy linked by a thick web of transnational flows of capital and labour, which functions through different forms and speeds of mobility, including...
Complicity in Spectatorship
The Market in Wonderland
Mad Men, Death and the American Dream
Malcolm C. Baker
Multiples, Authorship and the Eighteenth-Century Portrait Bust’s Aura
I am not a very balanced person. I am fragile and sad – almost as described in Triste Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I feel both those adjectives, I grew up with them. I was aware of my fragility even when I was very young – a baby, learning to walk, living somewhere in Africa and already feeling that the number of white persons was very small compared to the number of black persons and also noticing that most of the black persons that I met were gardeners or maids. I felt – I am sure I am not lying – even at that very young age, not a sense of injustice, but a sort of guilt.
Guilt for what? My parents were nice people, they treated everyone well. My father was avidly learning languages, he spoke many African languages and also Pidgin English very well and he used to speak it...
Whatever is addressed in the elevator responds to a prior occurrence much as, inevitably, it will have an aftereffect.
An even more strikingly risky moment, which for Don anticipates both a personal and a professional crisis, occurs at the open door of an elevator in the fifth season. After Megan has confessed to him that she wants to stop working at the agency so as to fully concentrate on her acting career, he accompanies her to the elevator, where he takes leave of her by demonstratively giving her a passionate kiss before the door closes. Then, as though this were an afterthought, he once more presses the button. Although, almost immediately, the doors of the elevator next to the one that Megan just stepped into begin to open, he suspects that something is wrong. Standing on the threshold of the opening, he finds himself looking down into the dark abyss of the empty elevator shaft. More astonished than alarmed, he steps back. Then the doors close again. The concrete...
And what if there were a machine for doing away with memory? That one would carry in an attaché case and plug in beside one’s bed at night? A machine to stifle the shoutings to which I have never given voice?
I recognize that lobby. The Washington Hilton. Men in business suits are crammed in there by the thousands. American philosophers meeting for a convention. A compact assembly of thinkers. Thirty-five hundred of them, Newsweek published the figure. The eastern division of the American Philosophical Association. I make a tour of the counters. There are those of the airlines, TWA, Delta, Allegheny, and those of the hotel, reservations, information, mail, cashier. A perfume shop. A shoe-shine place. An art gallery with pictures painted on velvet. Crowds everywhere. Thinking crowds. All profs. Looking like insurance agents, more readily imagined talking finances than dialectic. Above a bank branch is written: Christmas, Think of it as Money. A prayer for peace follows, signed Riggs National Bank. Between Christmas and New Year’s is the time for the big conventions. I stop in front of every desk as if to bring to life the scene from...
Les plus lestes des Indiens d’Amérique du Nord appartiennent à une bande de sang-mêlé Mohawks originaires de la Réserve Caughnawaga, sur les bord du fleuve Saint-Laurent, au Québec. On les appelle en général les Caughnawagas. Autrefois on les appelait les Mohawks chrétiens ou les Mohawks qui prient. Ils sont trois mille, dont au moins six cent cinquante passent plus de temps dans les villes des États-Unis un peu partout que dans leur réserve. Certains sont aussi remuants que des gitans. Il n’est pas inhabituel de voir une famille verrouiller sa maison, laisser la clé chez un voisin, monter en voiture et partir pour des années. Il existe des colonies de Caughnawagas à Brooklyn, Buffalo et Detroit. La plus grande colonie est à Brooklyn, dans le quartier de North Gowanus. Elle s’y est établie à la fin des années vingt, comprend environ quatre cents hommes, femmes et enfants, continue de grandir...
In Tristes Tropiques, a seminal work of ethnography and travel writing published to international acclaim in 1955, the great anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss begins the account of his legendary research trip into the interior of Brazil in a sceptical tone: “I hate travelling and explorers. Yet here I am proposing to tell the story of my expeditions.”Despite its hybrid format – combining memoir, travel writing, and ethnography – Tristes Tropiques became a popular bestseller. Its readers went beyond the niche audience of experts and immediately established its author as a major figure in the fields of anthropology and structuralism. The book appeared at a historical turning point, not only in the way structuralism was transforming anthropology – based on the analysis of society through the structure of language and culture – but also because it was unveiled during the post-war period, when ethnography was being transformed by the great movements of...
To revitalize democracy in our post-political societies, what is urgently needed is to foster the multiplication of agonistic public spaces where everything that the dominant consensus tends to obscure and obliterate can be brought to light and challenged.
In recent years we have witnessed an incredible acceleration in the process of commodification in the field of culture. With the development of the culture industries, the worst nightmares of Horkheimer and Adorno seem to have been realized. Indeed, some theorists claim that, through our dependence on the entertainments corporations, we have become totally subjugated to the control of capital and that we cannot even imagine modes of resistances. Aesthetics, they say, has been so completely harnessed towards the development of a hedonistic culture that there is no space left for a subversive experience – not even in art.
Were this to be true, we would have to conclude that there is no alternative to the present post-political world. The current hegemonic form of neoliberal globalization would constitute our only horizon and we would have to abandon the hope of fostering the agonistic democracy that I have been advocating in my work....
It is better to do nothing than to contribute to the invention of formal ways of rendering visible that which Empire already recognises as existent.
1. Art is not the sublime descent of the infinite into the finite abjection of the body and sexuality. On the contrary, it is the production of an infinite subjective series, through the finite means of a material subtraction.
2. Art cannot merely be the expression of a particularity (be it ethnic or personal). Art is the impersonal production of a truth that is addressed to everyone.
3. Art is the process of a truth, and this truth is always the truth of the sensible or sensual, the sensible qua sensible. This means: the transformation of the sensible into an happening of the Idea.
4. There is necessarily a plurality of arts, and however we may imagine the ways in which the arts might intersect there is no imaginable way of totalising this plurality.
5. Every art develops from an impure form, and the progressive purification of this impurity shapes the history both of...
Democratic fetishism involves not believing that one lives in a democracy while acting as if one does believe it.
Fredric Jameson has diagnosed the contemporary situation as one of subjective perplexity and disorientation. After the failures of all the Marxist attempts to install a framework which could provide for a collective subjective orientation, and after the perpetual intensification of late capitalism’s dynamics, the contemporary epoch is marked by the feeling that “the truth of … experience no longer coincides with the place in which it takes place.” This is to say, that individuals become disoriented because they lack an effective cognitive map of the complete situation they are in. This lack of orientation originates in the absence of a standpoint that would provide not only an abstract, but also a concretizable, perspective on the totality of the situation in which an individual finds himself. Badiou has further complicated the problem of disorientation, by linking it to the modalities of subjectivization offered by contemporary societies. In his analysis he refers to...