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AISTHETHICON: Theatrical Acts at the Limits of Philosophy

A Dissertation Submitted to the Division of Media and Communications Of The European Graduate School In Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy By J.M. Lozano Alamilla

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1. The theater of philosophy 1.1. 1.2. 1.3. 1.4. 1.5. 2. 2.1. 2.2. 2.3. 2.4. 3. 3.1. 3.2. 3.3. 3.4. 3.5. The conceptual personae The ethical requirement of a theater Deconstructing autologic thought Psychoanalysis: the geophilosophers studio Theater as a philosophical technology The Kantian unreasonable ethics Sade playing Kant The comic ethic of psychoanalysis Ethicopatology Nietzsches acting out The picture of theater The production of the body The presence as praxis of thought The (un)dead art 152 167 174 184 186 188 11 40 49 55 63 76 101 110 117 123 132 143 1

The act of the ethical

The performance of presence

Conclusion: Towards the concept of the aisthethicon Appendix A Appendix B Bibliography

INTRODUCTION The curtain has fallen on the metaphysical scene, or metaphysics as scene of (re)presentation Jean_Luc Nancy1 The Occidentand such is the energy of its essence has worked only for the erasure of the stage. Jacques Derrida2

The Occidents work of the erasure of the stage according to Jacques Derridas early writing on Antonin Artaud was related to the sense that a stage is something very different from the traditional theaters use of it as a place where discourse could be illustrated. This is because a place where discourse can be illustrated is not a stage but precisely its erasure by discourses supremacy over the event. Derrida has explained that a long theatrical tradition has used the stage for the representation of discourse (or of discourse as representation), but this use of the stage by the tyranny of the text, evades and erases the space, time, bodies and actions that occur and participate on the stage in the event itself. Nevertheless, the erasure of the stage is not something that ought to be understood in terms of the theatrical tradition only, because according to Derrida almost everything that does not belong to discourse has been discarded in the Occident as superfluous and minor. Derridas use of Artauds theater of cruelty and theater in general has been a metaphor for theory, a site for dramatic scenarios and dialogues and a possibility for questioning traditional occidental theories of representation.3 Following Derridas approach, Gregory Ulmer in his Applied Grammatology developed the possibility of a theorter, a merge of theater and theory into one

Jean_Luc Nancy, The sense of the world. Translated by Jeffrey S. Librett (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997). 2 Jacques Derrida, Writing and difference. Translated by Alain Bass (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978), 114. 3 Susan Melrose, A Semiotics of the Dramatic Text (Houndmills: The Macmillan Press, 1994).

activity.4 The theorter presented by Ulmer, takes in account that on many occasions, theater and theory, and specifically, French contemporary theory had become very close to the point of it not being easy to discern and distinguish their exact boundaries and limits. This dissertation studies a series of exemplary texts of what has been recognized as French theory.5 What links these texts is underscore by the merging of theater and theory, or to put it in Ulmers words, by the manner in which theorter has appeared and interrupted a discursive scene. Nevertheless, this study by no means is an exhaustive attempt to include all French theoretical texts that present this sort of relationship between theater and theory. This study focuses on specific exemplary texts in which an exploration through the aesthetic figure of the theatrical act and its ethical considerations has been developed in relation to the limits of philosophy and philosophical thinking. Although some different philosophical and psychoanalytic texts bearing the stamp of different nationalities and time are studied, the arguments that form the core of this dissertation were taken from a series of theoretical and philosophical works published in the decade of the nineties. The nineties represent a culmination and exhaustion of a certain line of philosophical inquiry. These exemplary texts are: Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattaris What is Philosophy? (1991). Philippe Lacoue_Labarthes participation on ethics in the conference Lacan avec les philosophes (1991). Jacques_Alain Millers seminar on Lakant (2000). Different texts of Slavoj _i_eks interpretation of Lacans oeuvre (1991,1992,1997, 1999, 2002). Jacques Derridas text To Unsense the subjectile (1998).

Gregory Ulmer, Applied Grammatology (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985). 5 Sylvre Lotringer, and Sande Cohen, eds., French Theory in America (New York: Routledge, 2001).

Jean_Luc Nancys Birth to presence (1993), The sense of the world (1993) and Being Singular Plural (1996).

Alain Badious conferences on theater (1999).

In each of these theoretical texts, there is an esthetical figure of a theatrical act that proposes ethical questions within the realm of philosophy; moreover, these texts share in common a certain concept and logic of deadlock that only can be posited by the use of these kinds of theatrical figures. An example of such a deadlock is Jean_Luc Nancys affirmation: The curtain has fallen on the metaphysical scene, or metaphysics as scene of (re)presentation.6 Here Nancy is referring to the end of philosophy as a representation or what Nietzsche and Heidegger have called metaphysics.7 Nevertheless, it is in the theater where this closure or end is performed, where a curtain falls on the metaphysical scene. Despite it all, a theater remains after the closure of representation, a theater of cruelty that can unsense the staging of the sense of sense as Jean_Luc Nancys work has on this subject outlined it.8 This deadlock shows something that could be enunciated as follows: there is not outside of the theater. At the same time, this dissertation explores not the very complex and relevant consequences of this ending of philosophy and theater, but the characteristics of the technique through which every one of the thinkers mentioned above has questioned the limits of philosophical thinking. The technique, which we shall refer here to as the aisthethicon, includes setting up spatio-temporal realms as the conceptual version of more traditional staging in the theater, as well as developing conceptual characters, dramatizations, plots and fictions that introduce suggestive paradoxes, aphorisms and oblique references. The use of the figure of the theatrical act as a technique make it possible to express something that only can be recognized as an act in the theatrical terms developed throughout this study. This theatrical act, should not be confused with
6 7

Nancy, 23. Nancy, 22. 8 Nancy, 23.

a performative speech act as Judith Butler9 has proposed in relation to J. L. Austins speech act theory but is meant to indicate the enactment of theory in a theater of philosophy (where speech acts can occur). The writer, with the technique of the aisthethicon, becomes some kind of metteur en scne, who sketches in writing a play as an act that only can occur in a theater. But this decision of using theatrical acts as technique is not arbitrary, but is a way of trying to show something that discourse cannot show, an impossibility residing in a possibility, as Derrida would put it, which the introduction of aesthetical figures of theater illuminates. As Gilles Deleuze has observed, one is able to agglutinate words and languages so another language can emerge in-the-language.10 From Deleuzes point of view, language does not have signs at its disposal, but acquires them by creating them as a language: an unheard of an almost foreign language.11The term aisthethicon comprises an agglutination of languages; it could be provisionally considered a concept in Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattaris sense.12 As a concept, the aisthethicon is incorporeal, although incarnated and effectuated in bodies, and among bodies. It speaks an event and is the contour, the configuration of an event to come.
13

The aisthethicon is an emergence and the agglutination of a multiplicity. It is formed by different components that define it: (1) The concept of aisthesis in Jean_Luc Nancys work which is studied in Part One; (2) the concept of ethics in Jacques Lacans elaborations is studied in Part Two and (3) of the aesthetics of Nietzsches (un)death as it is presented in Part Three. These are the principal concepts, in the most evident sense of the word itself, that have been agglutinated in the construction of the aisth-ethi-con as we

See Judith Butler, Excitable Speech: A Politics Performative (New York: Routledge, 1997). Gilles Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical. Translated by Daniel W. Smith, and Michael A. Greco (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 97. 11 Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical, 98. 12 Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, What is Philosophy? Translated by Graham Burchell, and Hugh Tomlinson (London: Verso, 1994),15. 13 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 33.
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shall use it here. The three of them are tied up by the con, that etymologically, when it is a prefix, relates to knowledge and to group,14 but that here, specially, is related to Michel Foucaults panopticon. The importance of the panopticon which is included in the aisthethicon, recalls not only the architectonic prisons model of Bentham, but appeals mainly to Foucaults understanding of it as a technology of power, which is structured as a theater.15 From this perspective, the aisthethicon is an aisthetic16 techniquethat has ethical implications17which operates in theory as a way of introducing specific ideas. The aisthethicon is conformed aisthetically as an ethical act in a fractal birth.18 As Flix Guattari contends, the importance of a techn is that it operates as a creative devise between nature and humanity maintaining a status of intercession that is a source of perpetual ambiguity.19 From this perspective, the aisthethicon in specific works of French theory is a technique that is able to present a questioning of structural limits of philosophical thinking. This presentation must not be thought as an actual taking place (except at the moment of writing itself or reading) but as making the possible of an event to come. The main objective of this dissertation will be accomplished if it is able to present a series of interrogations on the pertinence and efficiency of the use of the aesthetical figure of the theatrical act in specific contemporary works of French theory. In addition, it is important to acknowledge that the concept of French theory is not a definitive term. French theory is used in a broad sense to indicate a specific approach to thinking,20 not as a label that describes a determinate group of philosophers or thinkers, and the word theory designates what in France has been called pense as

14

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Edited by T.F. Hoad (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), s.v. "con." 15 See Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish. Translated by A. M. Sheridan (London: Allen Lane, 1977). 16 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 215. 17 As in Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Translated by Dennis Porter (New York: Norton, 1992). 18 Nancy, The sense of the world, 127. 19 Flix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an ethico-aesthetic paradigm. Translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 33. 20 For example Slavoj _i_ek, although he is not French, he is included because he has been part of the French theoretical tradition as Sande Cohen has explained in Lotringer, and Cohen, 206208.

Sylvre Lotringer and Sande Cohen have pointed out.21 In particular, the appendixes introduce two examples in which the concept of the aisthethicon has been used to explore theatrical events. The thematic aims of this dissertation rise from a similar concern as that of Jean_Luc Nancys insight: []when one can no longer feel anything but anger, an absolute anger, against so many discourses, so many texts that have no other care than to make a little more sense, to redo or perfect delicate works of signification.22 An exercise of this (philosophical) anger in an attempt to explore several contemporary examples in which the event tries to be introduced into theory is where the work for this project started. It is perhaps necessary to note that Lacan foregrounds the forgotten value of anger. He reminds us that Freudian psychoanalysis has had nothing to say about anger or its permutation into rage.23 There are affects for which traditional psychoanalysis or philosophy have not been able to account and have even had to suppress by the tyranny of discourse.

21 22

Lotringer, and Cohen, 1. Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 5. 23 Me Cay el Veinte: Revista de Psicoanlisis, no. 4: La dimensin de la prdida, cole Lacanienne de Psychanalyse, (September, 2001).

1. THE THEATER OF PHILOSOPHY

1.1

The conceptual personae

The relationship between philosophy and theater is by no means a repressed one, yet the implications of this historical cohabitation have been largely disavowed.1 The crucial relatedness of the two goes back at least to the ancient Greeks.2 While they remain to this day linked, theater and philosophy have developed different facets and new expressions. Theater itself splinters into a multiplicity of forms and philosophy mutates according to the critical pressures, say, of analytical philosophy or the wellknown ruptures among philosophical schools of thought. At least since Nietzsche3 interesting complicities have emerged between thought and staging, such as those developed in many different ways and exemplary moments4 in contemporary French thought.5 Among many outstanding examples are: Jacques Derridas works on Antonin Artauds theater of cruelty.
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See Chapter 4 in Morag Shiach, Hlne Cixous: A Politics of Writing (London: Routledge, 1991). 2 For a debate on eurocentrism and western theater see Rustom Bharucha, Theater and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture (London: Routledge, 1990). For a multiculturalist perspective on theater and ritual see Richard Schechner, ed., Ritual, Play and Performance: Readings in The Social Sciences/Theater (New York: The Seabury Press, 1976). 3 See Peter Sloterdijk, El Pensador en Escena: El materialismo de Nietzsche. Translated by Germn Cano (Valencia: Pre_Textos, 2000). 4 See Timothy Murray, ed., Mimesis, Masochism, & Mime: The Politics of Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1997). 5 For a debate on this term in the USA see Sylvre Lotringer, and Sande Cohen, eds., French Theory in America (New York: Routledge, 2001). 6 Edward Said described Jacques Derridas work: All this [referring to Derridas deconstruction] establishes a sort of perpetual interchange in Derrida's work between the page and the theater stage. Yet the locale of the interchangeitself a page and a theateris Derrida's prose, which in his recent work attempts to work less by chronological sequence, logical order, and linear movement than by abrupt, extremely difficult-to-follow lateral and complementary movement. The intention of that movement is to make Derrida's page become the apparently self-sufficient site of a critical reading, in which traditional texts, authors, problems, and themes are presented in order to be dedefined and dethematicized more or less permanently. Edward W. Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, Massachussets: Harvard University Press, 1983). Quoted in Daniel Punday, Derrida in the World: Space and Post-Deconstructive Textual Analysis in <http://www.iath.virginia.edu/pmc/text-only/issue.900/11.1punday.txt> (April, 2002).

Hlne Cixous7 interest in developing another way of thinking that only can be achieved through theater, as well as her own dramatic work.8

Luce Irigaray's use of the figure of staging and theater in her writings as a central aspect of her theoretical oeuvre.9

Jean_Francois Lyotards philosophic work on the figure of the unconscious as Mise-en-Scne.10

Michel Foucaults essay on the Theatrum Philosophicum.11 Gilles Deleuze utilization of theatrical metaphors in significant moments of his own philosophic work12 and in his common texts with Flix Guattari.

Julia Kristevas writings on modern theater. Philippe Lacoue_Labarthes works on mimesis and theatrical productions.13

Jean_Luc Nancys interest in the common stage of the singular plural for example.14

However, Alain Badiou15 has remarked that this use of theater and some other artistic disciplines in French contemporary philosophy has been a way of assuming an

Hlne Cixous, and Mireille Calle_Gruber, Fotos de Races: Memoria y escritura. Translated by Silvana Rabinovich (Mxico: Ediciones Taurus, 2001). 8 See Susan Sellers, ed., The Hlne Cixous Reader (London: Routledge, 1994). 9 See Luce Irigaray, Margaret Withford, ed., The Irigaray Reader. Translated by David Macey (Malden: Blackwell, 1991). 10 Lyotard Jean_Francois, The Unconscious as a Mise en Scn, in Performance in Postmodern, ed. M. Benamou, and C. Caramello (Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin, 1977). 11 Michel Foucault, Theatrum Philosophicum, in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. Translated by Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977). 12 See Constantin Boundas, and Dorothea Olkowski, eds., Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 1994). 13 See Philippe Lacoue_Labarthe, Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics. Translated by Christopher Fynsk (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). 14 See Jean_Luc Nancy, Being singular plural, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. OByne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). 15 See Alain Badiou, Manifesto for Philosophy. Translated by Norman Madarasz (New York: State University of New York Press, 1999).

end of philosophy itself16 by introducing within philosophy the equivocal, the paradoxical, and the aphoristic. For Badiou these philosophers are in search of an ambiguous writing that permits them the use of indirect supports, oblique referents, so that the evasive transition of a sites occupation may befall the philosophys presumably uninhabitable place.17 Nevertheless, it is relevant to point out that on one hand, Alain Badiou indicates this use and abuse of theater and art as a philosophic stratagem to depict events, and on the other hand, he has returned to the use of theater as a reference for writing on the importance of the event in philosophy itself.18 Badiou is often recognized as the philosopher of the event19 together with Gilles Deleuze.20 Alain Badious interest in events is opposed to the common theme of the end of philosophy. Instead, he develops a philosophy that is no longer focused on linking words or questions to abstract categories; it would be better link it to specific situations and to concrete events. 21 The figure of the theatrical act is constant in Badious works not only as a philosopher but also as a dramatist.22 He has on many occasions addressed the practice of theater within philosophy not only as a metaphor, a metonymy, or a specific framework but also as part of philosophy itself.
23

For Badiou, within theater there are

specific philosophic ideas that only belong to theater itself and are called idea16

Lyotard has commented on paintings, Gilles Deleuze on cinema, Lacoue_Labarthe to pose, Jacques Derrida to Genet and Artaud. 17 Alain Badiou, Reflexiones sobre nuestro tiempo: Interrogantes acerca de la tica, la poltica y la experiencia de lo inhumano. Translated by Jorge Luiz Lima (Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Cifrado, 2000), 28. 18 See Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. Translated by Peter Hallward (London: Verso, 2001). 19 See Alain Badiou, El ser y el acontecimiento. Translated by Ral Cerdeiras (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Manantial, 1999). 20 See Alain Badiou, Deleuze: El clamor del Ser. Translated by Dardo Scavino (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Manantial, 1997) 21 Badiou, Reflexiones, 9. 22 Badiou, Reflexiones, 16. 23 Alain Badiou, Rhapsodie pour le theater: Le Spectateur franais (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1990).

theater. Theater is an ordering of material and ideal components whose only existence occurs in the repetition of representation. The text, space, bodies, voices, clothes, lights, and audience are assemblage in the theatrical act. The representation repeats itself but the event is singular every time. The event, in the theatrical act, is a thinking event and a combinatoire24 of elements that produce specific ideas, which could not be produced in any other way.25 An idea-theater occurs in and within representation. The idea-theater does not exist prior ro rhe appearance it makes on the stage and cannot be presented in any other way and through any other medium. For Alain Badiou what is important about the idea-theater is that it is incomplete, fallible and at the same time, it mirrors eternity when it appears in the brief time of representation. However, it is important to establish that the theatrical act is completely different form the idea-theater. The theatrical act is a component of the idea-theater. The ephemeral aspect of theater has to do with the instantaneous experience of the complement of an eternal idea in the incompleteness of the act.26 The temporal experience of theater includes chance as a main part of it. The mise-en-scn on many occasions is a thought extracted from chances, and a representation could never be able to abolish this chance. As part of chance, it is important to consider the audience because that is a key element in the idea-theater. The audience as a public substance is consistent as an inconsistency, in its infinite variety. For Badiou, the most problematic relation of theater is with the state, on which theater always depends, but theater must think its own idea.28 Surprise is what theatrical acts are for, and philosophy as an event must be able to acknowledge this main characteristic.
27

24

[] it was clear that theaters specificity was and remains a most peculiar up-building process or synergetic combinationthat is, of a greater force than that generated by the sum of all constituent parts taken individually. This power through a catalysis in which the real spectators are implicated, is able to mark the experience of all other cultural practices. Susan Melrose, A Semiotics of the Dramatic Text (Houndmills: The Macmillan Press, 1994), 6. 25 Badiou, Reflexiones, 102. 26 Badiou, Reflexiones, 104. 27 Badiou, Reflexiones, 104. 28 Badiou, Reflexiones, 106.

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Alain Badiou has been one of the contemporary French philosophers who has most openly developed a complicity between theater and philosophy or who has been able to make a theater of philosophy and also a philosophic theater. For Badiou,29 Friedrich Nietzsche in the end rejected theater and considered it to be only a minor manifestation compared to music and dance, nevertheless with Nietzsche and his philosophy on tragedy30 there has been a resurrection of the importance of the complicities between philosophy and theaterthis has opened up a long debate on its pertinence and adequacy.31 In contemporary French thought and especially in the so-called poststructuralist32 movement, these sorts of complicities have presented two cases which we reveal an uneasy relationship between philosophy and theater that resists critical clarification.33 In some cases, philosophy strives to be theater. In other cases, philosophical thought tries to detach itself from a theatrical dependency to which it owes some of its most dazzling articulations. The two cases offer us a clue to the importance of Kant's division of his work. Taking advantage of this clue, we will begin this study by referring to the least theatrical of philosophers, Immanuel Kant, who found it necessary to divide his work principally between the Critiques and Anthropology.34 By separating one area for critical reflection and another for more empirical and, not surprisingly, anthropological concerns, Kant
29 30

Badiou, Reflexiones, 110. See Friederich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals. Translated by Francis Golffing (Anchor Books, New York, 1956). 31 See Eduardo Prez Maseda, Msica como idea, msica como destino: Wagner-Nietzsche (Madrid: Editorial Tecnos, 1993). 32 For an analysis of the term post-structuralism see Mark Poster, Critical Theory and Poststructuralism: In Search of a Context (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989). 33 As Pierre Bourdieu has questioned: Why such implacable hostility to those who try to advance the understanding of the work of art and of aesthetic experience, if not because the very ambition to produce a scientific analysis of that individuum ineffable and of the individuum ineffabile who produced it, constitutes a mortal threat to the pretension, so common (at least among art lovers) and yes so distinguished of thinking oneself as an ineffable individual, capable of ineffable experiences of that ineffable? For a study on resistance and art see Preface in Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. Translated by Susan Emanuel (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996). 34 See Hans Rudnick, ed., Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Translated by Victor Lyle Dowdell (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996).

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mapped out and legitimized a region in which we will take into consideration the following. In other words, we will offer a critique of recent philosophical positions with regard to the manifestation of thinking and offer a more empirical grounding in an examination of theatrical acts for the way the manifestations of thought work out in certain philosophic and psychoanalytic contemporary works. The preliminary questions of this chapter are concerned with the interconnections between two main historical factors: 1. The way thinking has been appropriated as theater, even where philosophical thought denies its affinities with the staging and rhetoric of theatrical forms 2. The way ethics and psychoanalysis have since the earliest days benefited from the insights of dramatic works in order to organize their own most incisive insights. Where would Hegel be without Antigone, or Freud without Oedipus? While these historical factors are important, more recently, Deleuze and Guattari have established a lexicon of live theater and written dramatic works in order to pursue the following line of thought.35 They are trying to identify the philosophical attitude par excellence, and at that crucial moment in their argument they introduce what they call personae. However, Deleuze and Guattari specify in their book What is Philosophy? 36 that through the concept of personae they are not trying to revert to some sort of logodrama or figurology, which they reject by referring to the work of Michel Gurin.37 Neither could their schema be reduced to the so-called psychosocial types.38

35

For an analysis of the term live art and live theater see Nick Kaye, Live Art: Definition and Documentation, Contemporary Theater Review 2:2 (1994): 1-7. 36 Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, What is Philosophy? Translated by Graham Burchell, and Hugh Tomlinson (London: Verso, 1994). 37 Deleuze, and Guattari, 66. 38 Deleuze, and Guattari, 67.

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Deleuze and Guattari mean to present a theatrical approach within philosophy, or what Freud have called another scene,39 because as Jacques Derrida has shown, Freud was like a dramatist or director who has a part in the play. Staging it, he [Freud] has to act with dispatch: to control everything, have everything in order, before going off to change for his part. This is translated by a peremptory authoritarianism, unexplained decisions, interrupted speeches, unanswered questions. The elements of the mise en scne have been put in place: an original normality in relation to the good breast, an economic principle requiring that the removal of the breast (so well dominated, so well removed from its removal) be overpaid by a supplementary pleasure, and also requiring that a bad habit reimburse, eventually with profit, good habits, for example the orders not to touch certain things The mise en scne hastens on, the actor-dramatist-producer will have done everything himself, he also knocks the three, or four times,40 the curtain is about to rise. But we do not know if it rises on the scene or in the scene. Before the entrance of any character, there is a curtain bed. All the comings and goings, essentially, will have to pass before the curtain.41 Freud, according to Derridas reading was referring to the staging of the unconscious,42 while Deleuze and Guattari are pointing to something else, to another way of understanding the concept through theatricality that rejuvenates its conventional historical value without destroying it. That is, Deleuze and Guattari do not deconstruct the meaning of the concept but prompt it to appear within the setting of the event. The key point is that conceptual personae had been understood superficially as the philosophers representative, which is a shallow approach because the deeper idea of a philosophical envelope means not a representation but an enactment of philosophy as an event where different conceptual characters participate as claimants, friends or enemies. Therefore, with this distinctive concept of the envelope, they redefine the philosophers envelope to be his conceptual personae and of all the other personae

39

See Jacques Derrida, The Scene of Writing, in Writing and difference. Translated by Alain Bass (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978). 40 As the translator points out: Referring to the traditional knocks that precede the raising of the curtain in French theater. Derrida, 308. 41 See To speculate on Freud, in Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. Translated by Alain Bass (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987). 42 For an analysis on Cixous approach to the other scene and the staging of the Unconscious see Introduction; The scare of Academic Cool, in Timothy Murray, Drama Trauma: Specters of race and sexuality in performance, video, and art (London: Routledge, 1997).

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who are the intercessors, the real subjects of his philosophy.

43

For example, there are

the Socrates of Plato, the Dionysus of Nietzsche, the Idiot of Nicholas of Cusa.44 Deleuze and Guattari state that the conceptual personae carry out the movements that describe the authors plane of immanence, which can be recognized as another form of Heidegger's philosophy of being-in-the-world.45 That is to say, conceptual personae are like living characters in a drama with their insertion into an historical continuity and the world-building in which humans have engaged during the course of that history. A philosopher might try to fool himself into believing that his philosophy is pure and universal, but his conceptual personae are subject to anthropological interpretation within the framework (staging) of a particular space/time of a world. Whether he or she may recognize it, the history-laden conceptual personae play a part in the very creation of the authors concepts.46 Taking this into account, the task of philosophy, when it creates concepts [those centers of vibration]47 may also take on the additional challenge of new world-building, as Heidegger had already argued in An Introduction to Metaphysics,48 which means for Deleuze and Guattari to set up a new event: space, time, matter, thought, and the possible as events.49 Philosophy, as Deleuze and Guattari have urged, is not the simple art of forming inventing, or fabricating concepts, but the discipline that involves creating concepts.50 These are concepts that are not necessarily forms, discoveries or products.51 It is no doubt significant that Jacques Derrida, in his article52 written after Gilles Deleuzes death in 1997, referred to Deleuze as the thinker of the event. Derrida quoted

43 44

Deleuze, and Guattari, 64. Deleuze, and Guattari, 64. 45 See Martin Heidegger, Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie, and Edward Robinson (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1987). 46 Deleuze, and Guattari, 64. 47 Deleuze, and Guattari, 63. 48 See Martin Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Doubleday, 1961). 49 Deleuze, and Guattari, 23. 50 Deleuze, and Guattari, 5. 51 Deleuze, and Guattari, 21. 52 Jacques Derrida, Dovro vagare da solo, Aut Aut (1996): 271-272.

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the twenty-first series of Logique du Sense53 in which Deleuze wrote about Joe Bousquete and his aim to embody his own misfortunes in their complete perfection and explosion.54 In the fragment he referred to the actor as the Aion, the one who represents what is future and what has passed.
55

Even the event is affiliated, due to its manifestation,

with theatrical diction. The Aion points to one who interprets not characters but themes constituted by the components of knowledge and communicative singularities effectively liberated from the limits of individuals and persons until he is able to convert himself into the comedian of his own events. This conversion process is something that Deleuze called: contra-effectuation.56 In this same article Derrida recalls the time in which he, together with many others from his generation, had been able to share with Deleuze the possibility of thinking thanks to him, thinking in him,57 as if it were only through his innovative figures that thinking could be thought. Deleuzes philosophic thought places an emphasis on what will later be succinctly stated in Michel Foucaults famous observation on Deleuzes writings: this is not philosophy as thought, but as theater.58 From this specific perspective, what it can be stated is that for Derrida and Foucault approaching Deleuzes work requires taking him as a conceptual personae of their own philosophy because they do not approach only to Deleuzes philosophy but also his life or that is, as a conceptual personae of Derridas and Foucaults own philosophy. Further, this is a requirement of any philosophy in Deleuze and Guattaris approach where the conceptual persona, as Deleuze and Guattari had stated, is the one who perhaps did not exist before us but thinks in us as conceptual personae.
59

Imagine a spatio-temporal realm where two philosophers named Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari write philosophy together, that is, already to set up a dramatized event, where
53 54

Gilles Deleuze, Lgica del sentido. Translated by Miguel Morey (Barcelona: Paids, 1989). Deleuze, Lgica del sentido, 157. 55 Deleuze, Lgica del sentido, 157. 56 Deleuze, Lgica del sentido, 158. 57 Derrida, Dovro vagare da solo, 271. 58 See Foucault, Theatrum Philosophicum. 59 See Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi (London: The Athlone Press, 1988).

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the philosophers are not really themselves but are the conceptual personaes of that person who is doing philosophy with them and in them as part of a rhizomic60 interrelation between conceptual personaes and philosophers. Deleuze and Guattari include the philosopher as another conceptual persona of his philosophizing because within the multiplicity of planes that converges in thought thinking takes place in the relationship of territory and the earth and consists in stretching out a plane of immanence that absorbs the earth (or rather, absorbs it).61 This mapping calls forth a philosophy that originated in Nietzsche, who was seeking to determine the national characteristics of French, English and German philosophy62 and that ought to be called geophilosophy63 because it does not relate to an abstract national idea but rather with the earth and the accidental relation to it.
64

Deleuze and Guattari in their last book together presented the concept of the concept, the concept of the conceptual personae, the concept of philosophy itself and themselves as their own conceptual personae.65 Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari made a new claim in philosophy when established that conceptual personaes are a requirement of philosophy. Their claim is based in part on introducing through a speech-act in the third person a new framework for interpreting the production of philosophical thought: there is a theatrical character that lives within thought while producing thought. That is, the claim that the conceptual
60 61

See Chapter 1 Introduction: Rhizome in Deleuze, and Guattari, Thousand Plateaus. Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 86. 62 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 102. 63 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 86. 64 As Sylvre Lotringer would put it: This accident, which is enough to trigger a subjective transformation, is at the root of what Deleuze and Guattari called an event. Sylvre Lotringer, Doing Theory, in French Theory in America, eds. Sylvre Lotringer, and Sande Cohen (New York: Routledge, 2001), 156. 65 Gilles Deleuze commented on this: We dont claim to have written a madmans book, just a book in which one no longer knows-and there is no reason to know who exactly is speaking, a doctor, a patient, an untreated patient, a present, a past, or future patient. Thats why we used so many writers and poets; who is to say if they are speaking as patients or doctors-patients or doctors of civilization [] The process is what we call a flux. Now once again, the flux is a notion that we wanted to remain ordinary and undefined. This could be a flux of words, ideas, shit, money, it could be a financial mechanism or a schizophrenic machine: it goes beyond all dualities. We dreamed of this book as a flux-book. Flix Guattari, Chaosophy, ed. Sylvre Lotringer (New York: Semiotext[e], 1995), 98.

16

personae are a requirement of philosophy is also the inclusion of an aesthetic realm, which is specifically theatrical. In this dramaturgy of philosophical thinking, the production of philosophical thought becomes an event in the world much like the production of a theatrical play is an event in a culture.66 If it would turn out that Deleuze and Guattari are right about their claim that philosophical thought is always an event produced by conceptual personae, then certain consequences would follow. It is always a conceptual personae that says I: I think as Idiot, I will as Zarathustra, I dance as Dionysus, I claim as a lover67 and from this perspective thought becomes part of a different realm, which indeed is theatrical, in the Timothy Murrays sense of the term: 1. A theatricality presupposes there is a becoming of characters, that every one of them, as Hlne Cixous pointed out, has its own little theater. Every one of the characters gets up on his own stage by displaying incorporeal materiality that is, the expanding domain of intangible objects that must be integrated into our thought. 68 2. Theatrical rhetoric functions first and foremost as the stimulant of virtual fantasy effects rather that as a producer of a dependable meaning.69 3. As Lyotard has pointed out: A theory of theatrical signs, a practice of theatrical signs (dramatic text, mise-en-scne, interpretation, architecture) are based on accepting the nihilism inherent in a re-presentation.70 In the case of Deleuze and Guattari, they claim that the conceptual personae are already a part of their own writing, as shown in a number of ways: the I of the writer is converted into a we that can be confounded between the me and the you, between

66 67

See Raymond Williams, Culture and Society (London: Chatto and Windus, 1958). Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 64. 68 Hlne Cixous, Hois Cadre: Interview. Translated by Verena Andermatt Conley, Mimesis, Masochism, & Mime: The Politics of Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought, ed. Timothy Murray (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1997). 69 Murray, Drama Trauma, 35. 70 See Jean_Francois Lyotard, The Tooth, The Palm, in Mimesis, Masochism, & Mime: The Politics of Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought, ed. Timothy Murray (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1997).

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the one who writes and the one who observes, in a game of rivals and claimants, of friends and lovers.71 Or as Deleuze and Guattari would summarize: The two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd [...] We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why we have kept our names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn [...] To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.72 With this experimental proliferation of personae that are located in Deleuze and Guattari as conceptual personae of their philosophy, what becomes clear in their writing is the rethinking of philosophy as an event that can be understood through the realm of theatrical practice. Through theater, Deleuze and Guattari have encountered a possibility to name the philosophical event as a geophilosophy. And an exemplary case of this was their use of Antonin Artaud's writings and theatrical proposals as a primordial part of their philosophy. 73 From this point of view, in Deleuze and Guattaris work, philosophy is presented as an enactment of conceptual personaes on the stage of the earth, where the philosophers participate as the creators of concepts that can protect us from chaos.74 As Deleuze and Guattari presented it: Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself, than ideas that fly off, that disappear hardly formed, already eroded by forgetfulness or precipitated into others that we no longer master. Philosophy75 in this sense, cast planes over chaos not through the formulation of abstraction or images but

71 72

See Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 4. Deleuze, and Guattari, Thousand Plateaus, 3. 73 Artaud the Schizo as Deleuze and Flix Guattari have called him, was one of several mode schizorevolutionary figures upon whose works and lives their reading of schizophrenia as a liberatory, albeit risky, process was based and developed. Gary Genosko, The Drama of Theory: Vengeful Objects and Wily Props, in Baudrillard: A Critical Reader, ed. Douglas Kellner (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1994), 300. 74 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 201. 75 And also art and science, see Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 202.

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introducing the real and the vital as its main aim.76 The theatricalization of philosophy, through the invention of a geophilosophy is a way for Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari opens up a plane where thought can be staged as an event that occurs for the creation of concepts by characters or conceptual personaes. But the concept of concept, from this perspective, is a relation between the philosopher and his or her conceptual personaes with the earth, and chaos.77 Because for Deleuze and Guattari: A concept is a set of inseparable variations that is produced or constructed on a plane of immanence insofar as the latter crosscuts the chaotic variability and gives it consistency (reality). A concept is therefore a chaoid state par excellence; it refers back to a chaos rendered consistent, become Thought, mental chaosmos. And what would thinking be if it did not constantly confront chaos? Reason shows us its true face only when it thunders in its crater.78 This description of the concept as a chaoid79 state par excellence in reference to the becoming thought of chaos as a mental chaosmos80 was a very important characteristic not only for Deleuze and Guattaris aim of invention of concepts, but also for Guattaris psychiatric practice at the French clinique La Borde81 specially in terms of the formation of a new ethico-aesthetic pragmatic called Chaosmosis.82

76 77

Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 207. For a detailed elucidation of the term see Jack Cohen, and Ian Stewart, The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World (New York: Penguin Books, 1995). 78 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 208. 79 As Deleuze and Guattari have defined: We call Chaoids the realities produced on the planes [of Art, science and philosophy] that cut through the chaos in different ways. Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 208. 80 The concept of chaosmosis for Flix Guattari comes form presenting homogenesis and chaos: Why describe the homogenesis of other modalities of subjectivation as chaotic? Its because, all things considered, worlding a complexion of sense always involves taking hold of a massive and immediate ensemble of contextual diversity, a fusion in an undifferentiated, or rather de-differentiated, whole. Guattari, Chaosophy, 80. 81 As Felix Guattari has explicated in a autobiographic texts: Since 1955 I have worked at the clinic of La Borde; I was invited to collaborate on this experiment by my friend Jean Oury, who is the founder and principal director [] During these early years, it was truly fascinating to participate in the formation of the institutions and facilities of what would become the first experiment in Institutional Psychotherapy in the context of a private establishment. Flix Guattari, La Borde: A Clinic Unlike Any Other, in Chaosophy, 187. 82 See Flix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an ethico-aesthetic paradigm. Translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).

19

For this purpose, Guattari, developed an assemblage of concepts, disciplines and epistemological approaches such as Bakhtins heteroglossia,83 geopolitics,84 Jacques Derridas deconstruction,85 Roland Barthes and Juila Kristeva a-semiological approach,86 Hjelmslev Linguistics,87 Chomskian vocabulary,88 left politics, chaos theory, autopoietical social systems,89 cognitive studies, cybernetic studies, ethology, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, technology, semiotics and semiology, psychotherapy, eology,90 music studies,91 contemporary art, and phenomenology,92 among many others. Although many of these conceptualizations lack scientific rigor93 in the conventional sense94 they were used by Guattari as a way of approaching new modes of discursive practice within psychiatry. Moreover, in La Borde, Guattari even developed a new psychiatric practice called schizoanalysis that would influence very much his subsequent work with Gilles Deleuze. One of the main characteristics of this practice is that it acknowledged the existence of machines of subjectivation that are not only produced through the psychogenetic stages of the psychoanalytic practice or the mathemes of the Unconscious but also in the large-scale social machines of language and the mass mediawhich cannot be described as human. The schizoanalytic practice is based on a continual machinic heterogenesis95 in which subjectivity resingularizes

83

See Guattari, Chaosmosis, 14. See Mikhael Bakhtin, Heteroglossia in the Novel (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981). 84 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 2-3, 119, 120. 85 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 4. 86 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 4-5. 87 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 23-24. 88 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 23. 89 See Chapter 2: Machinic Heterogenesis, in Guattari, Chaosmosis. 90 George Bateson, Sacred Unity: Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind, ed. Rodney E. Donaldson (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991). 91 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 49-51. 92 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 64. 93 On the abusive utilization of scientific vocabulary in Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari see Chapter 8 in Alain Socal, and Jean Bricmont, Intellectual impostures (London: Profile Books, 1998). For a critical response of this text see Elie During, Sokals New Clothes (Intermezzo), French Theory in America, eds. Sylvre Lotringer, and Sande Cohen (New York: Routledge, 2001). 94 On this issue see Chapter 5: Functives and Concepts, in Deleuze, Guattari, What is Philosophy? 95 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 34.

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itself and generates other ways of perceiving the world. First, subjectivity is conceived as being separate in the subject/object dualism of metaphysics (which Heidegger denied);96 then subjectivity has broken ego-boundaries and faces the flux of chaos, and finally the broken self-identity that is multiple has to re-singularize or re-integrate itself. Guattari attempts to traverse disciplinary and epistemological boundaries of study as well as scientific, artistic and philosophic fields of practice in terms of inventing a new model, or as Guattari would name it, a Schizoanalytic metamodelisation97 of the ethical and aesthetical within the psychiatric experimental practice.98 While Psychoanalysis is based on the psyche, the schyzoanalysis is structured on the psychosis.99 Psychoanalysis subjects the unconscious to arborescent structures, hierarchical graphs, recapitulatory memories, central organs, the phallus, the phallus treenot only in its theory but also in its practice of calculation and treatment,100 and the psyche is structured upon a dictatorial conception of the unconscious.101 On the other hand, Schizoanalysis, treats the unconscious as an acentred system and as a machinic network of finite automata102 that permits more flexible and adaptable margin of maneuverability to the specific circumstances in which is applied, than that of psychoanalysis. Flix Guattaris chaosmosis and schizoanalysis is a search for an escape from the prison of signification towards a necessary a-signifying deconstruction of their discursivity and towards placing their ontological efficacy into a pragmatic perspective.103

96

See Martin Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Doubleday, 1961). 97 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 60. 98 For the importance of this kind of practice see Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, Politique et Psychanalyse (Paris: Des Mots Perdus d, 1977). 99 See Flix Guattari, Cartografas del Deseo. Translated by Denis Miguel (Santiago: Lord Cochrane, 1989). 100 Deleuze, and Guattari, Thousand Plateaus, 17. 101 Deleuze, and Guattari, Thousand Plateaus, 17. 102 Deleuze, and Guattari, Thousand Plateaus, 18. 103 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 87.

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But what formally presents the result of Guattaris ambitious theoretical articulation, more than a psychiatric study, philosophic document, is an aesthetic avantgarde manifesto104 in the sense of Gregory Ulmer105 in which an art manifesto is seen as a sample of the generative approach to writing theory.106 From this perspective, Chaosmosis, could be read as a manifesto that if it is related to an art practice would certainly be of performance art107 according to the diversity of disciplines that interact in it,108 the importance of the live action,109 its therapeutic uses in some cases,110 its political aim and its relation to technology and science.111 Even Guattari himself related to the importance of performance art in his work, where: Performance art delivers the instant to the vertigo of the emergences of Universes that are simultaneously strange and familiar. It has the advantage of drawing out the full implications of this extraction of intensive, a-temporal, a-spatial, a-signifying dimensions form the semiotic net of quotidianity. It shoves our noses up against the genesis of beings and forms, before they get a foothold in dominant redundancies, of styles, schools, and traditions of modernity.112 What is important here is that the collaboration between Guattari and Deleuze is a performance art like a psychiatric experimental practice with a philosophy where there is a special preoccupation with the event so that what is produced is called
104

For a comparision between avant-garde manifestos see Mario De Micheli, La avanguardie artistiche del Novecento (Miln: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore, 1966). 105 See Gregory Ulmers study of Surrealist manifesto as a sample of the generative approach to writing theory in Gregory Ulmer, Heuretics (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 1994), 8-15: The manifesto of Surrealism and for that matter all of the manifestos of the avant-garde, belong to the tradition of the discourse on method. 106 Ulmer, 9. 107 RoseLee Goldberg, Performance art: From Futurism to the Present (New York: Thames & Hudson, 1988). 108 See Jon McKenzie, Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance, (London: Routledge, 2001). 109 Goldberg, 226. 110 See Linda M. Montano, Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000). 111 See Stelarc, Beyond the Body: Amplified Body, Laser Eyes and Third Hand, NMA 6 (1986-87) and also Part II: The Age of the Global Performance, in McKenzie. 112 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 90.

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Geophilosophy. However, this is no longer a philosophy of necessity or essential fate, but of radical contingency. We thus have to bring Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy closer to accidents. These accidents can be determined only by asking questions like Who? How? How many? When and where? that is, with questions that plot their spatiotemporal coordinates.113 Because there is drama beneath every logos and it is through dramatization that the virtual Idea is incarnated114 as part of a philosophizing that continually brings conceptual personae to life; it gives life to them in a history of philosophy that goes through these personae, through their changes according to planes and through their variety according to concepts.115

1.2

The ethical requirement of a theater

Do we then require acting lessons to begin this philosophizing with the hammer of the Real? Do we need to learn method acting so we can learn to work around the margins116 of a geophilosophy? Gregory Ulmer in his developing an analogy for choroography used methodacting theory as an interface metaphor that would help him to understand the new dimension of cultural practice provoked by dominant realism in mass media

113

Editors Introduction in Boundas, and Olkowski, 1. Referring to Gilles Deleuze, La Methode de dramatization, Bulletin de la Societ Francaise de Philosophie 61:3 (1976). 114 Boundas, and Olkowski, 2. 115 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 62. 116 Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy. Translated by Alain Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

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productions.117 This is introduced as part of his project of experimenting with historiographic inventions (experimental humanities), using contemporary arts, and sciences as models in the same way that the nineteenth-century historiographers drew upon the models available to them in their period.118 Ulmers interest in acting theory, and following the direction of Wlad Godzichs work, also comes from the Greek ancestral relation between theory and theater: Theoria emphasizes that which is to be witnessed, acted out materially and bears political significance: The Greeks Wlad Godzich explained designated certain individuals to act as legates on certain formal occasions in other city states or in matters of considerable political importance. These individuals bore the title of theoros, and collectively constituted a theoria. They were summoned on special occasions to attest the occurrence of some event, to witness its happenstance and to then verbally certify its having taken place.119 While they do not as such investigate the origins of theoria in theater, Deleuze and Guattari relate to it through different territories and figurations. In their elaboration of dispersed theatrical signifiers (a term they would no doubt shun), they try to clarify the difference between conceptual personae and aesthetic figure. Where the former is the power of concepts, the latter is the power of affects and percepts. Conceptual personae take effect on a plane of immanence that is an image of thought-Being and aesthetic figures take effect on a plane of composition as image of a Universe.120 However, this difference is never completely fixed because the plane of composition of art and the plane of immanence of philosophy can slip into each other to the degree that parts of one may be occupied in a certain moment by the other.121 This is evident in the singular way in which Deleuze and Guattari quote and relate works of Joyce or Castaneda together with Kant and Nietzsche, among others. That preoccupation which

117 118

Ulmer, 120 Ulmer, xii. 119 Ulmer, 120. 120 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 65. 121 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 66.

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can be easily discernible in the linearity of the printed book (regardless of the invitation of the authors not to follow it)122 but it occurs multiplied and diversified in the geophilosophical relation between thinking and territory, that is: in the accidental theater of thought. At this point and acknowledging the relation between Deleuze and specially Guattari123 with Jacques Lacan it seems relevant to recall the question posed by Philippe Lacoue_Labarthe during the colloquium around Lacan avec les philosophes at the Collge International de Philosophie:124 Why does ethics require a theater? And why does this ethics, the ethic gaze, not want to know anything of this theater?125 This question was formulated by Lacoue_Labarthe after reading a quote taken from Lacans seminar The ethics of psychoanalysis:126 The register of being, which could be situated through a name, must be preserved by the act of the funerals.127 From this point of view could we sayand more must be said on this rich conjunction of textsthat in the Lacanian sentence we find the preoccupation of a geophilosophy already in action? Is it not the launch for a (de)territorialized thinking that actually occurs, as Deleuze and Guattari proposed, in a spatio-temporal circumstance? Could it then be stated that Lacan, and Deleuze and Guattari, (regardless of the perversions of Anti-Oedipus)128 meet at this point, allowing their works to converge at

122 123

Gilles Deleuze, and Claire Parnet, Dialogues (Paris: Flammarion,1977). My analysis with Lacan lasted about seven years. When I became an analyst, a member of the Freudian School in 1969, I gradually discovered the other side of the analytic myth [] Whenever I said nothing, it meant, for sure, that I knew a lot more whatever it was! What a scene! What had I gotten myself into? The Guru Despite Himself, a stand-up comedy routine. Flix Guattari, So What, in Chaosophy, 11. 124 Philippe Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica: A Propsito de Antgona, in Lacan con los filsofos. Translated by Eliane Cazenave-Tapie (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1997). 125 Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 21. 126 See Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Translated by Dennis Porter (New York: Norton, 1992). 127 This is the version that appeared in Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 21. 128 That is to say, is not Deleuzes critique of Oedipal psychoanalysis an exemplary case of the perverse rejection of hysteria? Against the hysterical subject who maintains an ambiguous attitude towards symbolic authority [], the pervert bravely goes to the limit in undermining the very foundations of symbolic authority and fully endorsing the multiple productivity of pre-symbolic libidinal flux for Lacan, of course, this anti-Oedipal radicalization of

25

this uncanny site? The former point of convergence begins at the moment of taking the spatio-temporal act as the inherent requirement for the preservation of a name, an ethic in itself, and the latter point of convergence begins as a philosophic spatio-temporal event in which concepts are created. As is well known,129 during his seminars and writings Lacan ignored the theatrical apparatus inherent in its use of dramatic literature. In a similar way, Deleuze and Guattari clearly tried to conceptually distinguish the aesthetic plane from their philosophical investments, although they accept the constant interweaving of the two. From our current perspective of theatrical acts at the limits of thinking, on one hand it is as if there were something obscene in accepting that in the very theatrical setting of Lacans seminars,130 and on the other hand regarding the highly literary writings of Deleuze and Guattari the obscene revelation is that according to their own concepts the aesthetic and the ethical are the same thing or, in any case, very closely linked. As we know, for Lacan the origin of psychoanalysis is the same as that of ethics.131 Through his reading of Antigone, he proposed the possibility of founding a practice beyond the ethics of the good, something that he would later call the tragic ethics of psychoanalysis.132 As Lacoue_Labarthe pointed out, the election made by Lacan of Antigone to speak about the ethics of psychoanalysis is not to be dismissed as inessential. Lacan knew that tragedy since Kant (and therefore Sade)133 was the decisive proof of philosophy or thought itself: it is in the interpretation of the tragic where the opportunity

psychoanalysis is the very model of the trap to be avoided at any cost: the model of false subversive radicalization that fits the existing power constellation perfectly. Slavoj _i_ek, The Ticklish Subject: The Absent of Centre of Political Ontology (London: Verso, 1999), 250-251. 129 Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 21-22. 130 See Gregory Ulmer, Applied Grammatology (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985). 131 Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 23. 132 See Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. 133 See Jacques Lacan, Kant avec Sade, in crits (Pars: ditions de Seuil, 1966).

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of philosophy occurs, the opportunity of its reassurance, the hope of its achievement and the access to another way of thinking.134 Because tragedy is-before-philosophy,135 where the before means towards us. It is from this point of view that it can be understood that tragedy hides an unthought (that is, a thought) precisely because it has not been thought and it is still waiting to happen in the future.136 This is not an attempt at making a tragedization of philosophy, to render it according to resolutely tragic dimensions. If these are the terms with which we have to contend, it would in any case be precisely the reverse: a de-tragedization of tragedy itself, opening onto a tragedy, which was already philosophy or an aesthetic that was already an ethics. If tragedy conceals an un-thought, then we would have to say that within the tragic there is a possibility of an-already-thinking-unthought. To put it another way, tragedy from this perspective is the unthought of thought that has been excluded from the so-called autologic thinking.137 Tragedy, moreover, is the excremental invention of philosophy before the terror of discovering itself mad.138 Or to put it in a Lacanian-_i_ekian mold, tragedy is and has consistently marked the inherent transgression of the philosophical fantasy and its non134 135

Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 24. Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 24. 136 Lacoue_Labarthe, De la tica, 25. 137 As Paul Ricoeur has established, This is a great paradox: tragedy imitates action only because it recreates it on the level of a well-structured fiction. Aristotle is therefore able to conclude that poetry is more philosophical than history which is concerned with the contingent, with the ordinary course of action. Poetry goes straight to the essence of action precisely because it connects mythos and mimesis, that is, in our vocabulary, fiction and redescription. Paul Ricoeur, Imagination in discourse and action, in Rethinking Imagination: Culture and Creativity, eds. Gillian Robinson, and Rundell John (London: Routledge, 1994), 125. 138 Jacques Derrida refers to this as a crisis of reason: I philosophize only in terror, but in the confessed terror of going mad. The confession is simultaneously, at its present moment, oblivion and unveiling, protection and exposure: economy. But this crisis in which reason is madder than madness-for reason is nonmeaning and oblivionand which madness is more rational than reason, for it is closer to the wellspring of sense of the classical age but in the sense of eternal and essential classicism, and is also historical in an unexpected sense. See Cogito and the History of Madness, in Derrida, Writing and difference, 31-63.

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mythical (that is, mythical) search for knowledge. Tragedy is the aesthetic excess of thinking. This excess cannot be acknowledged as itself but can only appear as a pathetic ecstasy posited as the limit, origin, or border of philosophy.139 It is as if there were an ambiguous space of tension, rupture, guilt, impossibility, perversion or lack that protects philosophy from the geophilosophic event or the act belonging to the order of the Real, the act of death, something that the philosophical gaze does not want to know anything about; at least not since Socrates acceptance of his death and Hegels recuperative strategiesfateful acts that we have inherited and still need to unravel. From this perspective, tragedy can be understood as a sophistry used in philosophy and psychoanalysis for confronting the horror of death with an aesthetic shield; in the catharsis of Antigone as in Psychoanalysis for example, or in the fictitious encounter of conceptual personae.140

1.3. Deconstructing autologic thought

139

See Slavoj _i_ek, El Sublime Objeto de la Ideologa. Translated by Isabel Vericat (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1992). 140 See however Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death. Translated by David Wills (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), and see Heidegger, Being and Time.

28

In order to gather some of these threads together, we will consider another scene. We will consider a scene of deconstruction of what has been called auto-logical thinking. Foucault developed a critique of the Metaphysical Meditations141 of Descartes in his Histoire de la folie lage classique.142 In it, Foucault claims that the conception of thought itself is an ideological product that intersects with politics, religion and the social ground in general, to the point of concluding that the classic age reason was born in the space of ethics.143 Nevertheless, in his Cogito and the History of Madness,144 Jacques Derrida not only studied the same work of Descartes but also Foucaults work in what can be called a deconstruction of the Cartesian cogito and his teachers historical work. Derrida says at the end of his text: For what Michel Foucault teaches us to think is that there are crises of reason in strange complicity with what the world calls crises of madness.145 As is well known in his Metaphysical Meditations Descartes proposes the argumentation about why one must doubt everything except doubt itself. According to Descartes, this method offers a great utility because it liberates us from any sort of prejudices146 in order to accustom our spirit to release itself from the senses; so one can be prevented from doubting the things that we could discover as truthful. Descartes states that the spirit is what exists with certainty, and the existence of God can be proved through the certitude of doubt. That is, in its maximum hyperbolization,147 there is nothing to doubt anymore and one is certain of knowing the difference between imagination and understanding. In his famous reading of Descartes, Foucault outlined that it is not the permanence of a truth which insures thinking against madness, as if it were like escaping
141

See Rene Descartes, Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings. Translated by Desmond M. Clarke. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999. 142 Michel Foucault, Histoire de la folie lage classique (Paris: Plon, 1964). 143 Michel Foucault, Historia de la locura en la poca clsica I, 2th ed. Translated by Jun Jos Utrilla (Mxico: Fondo de Cultura Econmica, 1976). 144 In Derrida, Writing and difference, 31-63. 145 Derrida, Writing and difference, 63. 146 Francisco Larroyo, Estudio Introductivo, in Rene Descartes: Meditaciones Metafsicas (Mxico: Porra, 1971). 147 Derrida, Writing and difference, 62.

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out from a dream or evading an error. Madness appears in the Meditations as the impossibility of being mad essential not to the object of thought, but to the thinking subject.148 From this sense, one cannot think that one is crazy, because madness appears precisely as a condition of thoughts impossibility.149 In Descartes, Foucault posits, madness is excluded from the project. The danger of madness is evacuated from the exercise of Reason itself, madness banished in the name of doubt.150 Foucault also presented how good sense was defined and defended in the 17th century through a series of internment and exclusion strategies that were based upon inventing closed fields of madness. He delineated specific fields or internment facilities that were thereby filled with sick and degenerated persons, spendthrifts, homosexuals, blasphemes, alchemists, libertines, the suicidal, lepers, witches, epileptics, senile and deformed people.151 That is, they imprisoned or hospitalized all those who would not comply with the social and political requirements, which, in those times, were structured in terms of familiar and productive schema. According to Foucault, this provoked the triumph of the morality in the social field at the same time that a series of ethical adjustments developed related to the sense of sexuality, love, profanation, the limits of the sacred and the proper modes for belonging to the moral truth.152 A clear movement resulted in which reason was defined in opposition to madness. The internment of those who did not fit became the blatant demonstration of the requirement that reason submit to everything that was considered knowledge. Or as Foucault would put it, within the regime of doubt and its movement toward truth, madness was of a worthless efficiency.153 Continuing with Foucaults study, from this perspective the initial project of reasonand even the first fundaments of sciencestructured its limits in reference to
148 149

Foucault, Historia de la locura, 75. Foucault, Historia de la locura, 76. 150 Foucault, Historia de la locura, 78. 151 Foucault, Historia de la locura, 161. 152 Foucault, Historia de la locura, 220. 153 Foucault, Historia de la locura, 221.

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madness. This project constantly saved itself through ethical parti pris, that was nothing else but the methodic will to always guard and dedicate oneself solely to the search of truth.154 It was not until the 19th century that reason tried to form a bond with unreason in the free space of choosing a new encounter between objective knowledge and moral interpretation.155 Derrida took what Foucault proposed and turned it in a new direction by pointing out the surprising apparition of the evil genius hypothesis in Descartes argumentation. The evil genius evokes, conjures up, the possibility of a total madness, a total derangement156 and of which it is said that the one who thinks has no control because it is inflicted upon himhypotheticallyleaving him with no responsibility for it.157 For Descartes this apparition is actually a way of madness that will bring subversion to pure thought and to its purely intelligible objects, to the field of its clear and distinct ideas, to the realm of the mathematical truths which escape natural doubts.158 An unexpected apparition of madness was first set aside as insanity and now welcomed into the most essential interiority of thought.159 According to Derrida, we are already too well assured of ourselves and too well accustomed to the framework of the cogito; but madness ought to be reconsidered as one case of thought within thought.160 That is: Whether I am mad or not, Cogito, sum.161 Or as Derrida also posited: I philosophize not only in terror, but in the confessed terror of going mad.162 Moreover, philosophy is perhaps the reassurance given against the anguish of being mad at the point of greatest proximity to madness.163 For Jean_Luc Nancy, a philosophic science should be in charge of studying all of that has been excluded from reason, all of that which has belonged to the scope of
154 155

Foucault, Historia de la locura, 220. Foucault, Historia de la locura, 222. 156 Derrida, Writing and difference, 52. 157 Derrida, Writing and difference, 53. 158 Derrida, Writing and difference, 53. 159 Derrida, Writing and difference, 54. 160 Derrida, Writing and difference, 56. 161 Derrida, Writing and difference, 56. 162 Derrida, Writing and difference, 62. 163 Derrida, Writing and difference, 62.

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what has been called madness and the terror of philosophizing itself. It is a science refounded by Nancy with the name of aisthetics164 and which provisionally can be assumed by the name of psychoanalysis.165 An aisthetics is not aesthetics nor is it based in the metaphysic model. 1.4. Psychoanalysis: the geophilosophers studio Could it then be said that the tragic ethic of psychoanalysis has been an aisthetic attempt to take responsibility for the aim of understanding reason itself? In addition, could it also be said that it is through the invention of this science of psyche, especially applicable to the productions of art that the recuperation of a philosophic science operates that in certain manner was excluded by philosophy itself? 166 In this respect, Jean_Luc Nancy openly asked: In what sense is psychoanalysis itself an aesthetic? while he warned us: It appears that, since this time, the question has not been taken up extensively; instead, it has been covered over by other matters concerning psychoanalysis.167 In his posing a position on the question mentioned above Nancy points out that 18th century aesthetics referred to the problem of what was called the cognitio inferior, of the nondiscursive, subjective, nonconceptual (nonconceiving and nonconceivable) cognitio. An inferior cognition that it could be said, Cartesian mathesis produced by expulsion or exclusion,168 giving space to the formation of an aisthetic knowledge

164

See Jean_Luc Nancy, The Birth to Presence, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Brian Holmes, et al. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993). 165 Perhaps Freud was preoccupied, with this cognitio inferior, which in every mode of presentation (various empiricisms, assorted materialisms, sensualisms, pragmatisms, and of course aestheticisms) both claims to equal or supplant the cognitio superior (or to mimic it) and is never quite able to attain the standing of a cognitio. Cognitio in statu nascendi, foreverto get a bit ahead of ourselves. That this cognitio can itself never be known, that it implies a new, unheard-of science of sense and sensation (but without sacrificing anything to romantic ineffability)-here, perhaps, are the highest stakes. Let us call this science aisthetics. And eventually we will come to wonder whether psychoanalysis is not an assumed, provisional, name for an aisthetics Nancy, Birth to Presence, 214-215. 166 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 216. 167 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 211. 168 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 213.

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(sensible knowledge).169 From this perspective, aesthetics became the supplemental zone of the presentation of the subject.170 Freuds first thesis to clarify how the joke operates was that the character of the joke depended on the form of expression.171 The second thesis was that the pleasurable sensation the listener experiences while hearing the joke does not come from the content of the joke but arises out of some kind of gaining a surplus of pleasure through the animic and intellectual processes. Thus, because as Freud would put it, when we do not need our animic apparatus for the achievement of our indispensable satisfactions, we then let it work for its own pleasure, while we try to extract pleasure of its own activity itself.172 For Freud, the unequivocal goal and condition of every aesthetic representing is to produce pleasure for the listener.
173

This demonstrates that the productions of wit are not of those of understanding, and with the corresponding realization that judgmentunlike reasoningis not an autologic, or self inherent, faculty, but rather depends on a je ne sais quoi.174 As Nancy also warns us, the notion of the Freudian premium of pleasure or fore pleasure [...] with respect to the work of art, gives us access to the pleasure of a content whose nature is completely different form the artistic form, let us call it an instinctive content. This is valid insofar as it is specifically the notion of a formal seduction175 thanks to which the artwork produces pleasure, according to Freud where if there is a content as such, then it is a content of ideas, since the content of the idea in general is the idea of content within the status of psycho-analysis as an activity that

169 170

Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 216. Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 215. 171 See Sigmund Freud, El chiste y su relacin con lo inconsciente, vol. 8 of Obras Completas, ed. James Strachey and Anna Freud. Translated by Jos L. Etcheverry (Buenos Aires: Amorrortu Editores, 1985). 172 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 222. 173 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 223. 174 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 222. 175 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 212.

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decodes a sense.176 From this perspective it could also be said psychoanalysis interprets itself as an interpretation (even interminable).177 With this assertion, we arrive at a cognitio that in itself never could be known, that is, implies a new unheard-of science of sense and sensation [...]here, perhaps, at the highest stakes. From a different point of view, Slavoj _i_ek has proposed Lacanian psychoanalysis as an option to avoid the impasse of Cultural Studies and to confront the challenge of the cognitive and/or evolutionary naturalization of the human subject.178 He sees it as an option to take responsibility for that je ne sais quoi mentioned before. _i_eks strategy for doing this is precisely through attempting to include Lacanian psychoanalysis within the philosophical field (or perhaps vice versa), confirming what Nancy has posited. For _i_ek especially the status of Lacanian psychoanalysis is that of a new science,179 a science in his work appears structured not as a psychoanalytical writing, neither philosophical nor aesthetic, but as aisthetic. As we have seen, this aisthetic might be provisionally understood as an anti-philosophy. As Alain Badiou has pointed out, Lacan is one of the great antiphilosophers of modernity, in the sense that kept the certitude of its devise precisely in the act, the psychoanalytic act.180 There the act itself is not an action of truth, as it is in philosophy; rather, what is really convincing in the act has to do with an ultimate resource of knowledge.181 Or as Lacan would present it in the last phrase of his closing discourse on the foundation of the Freudian school: The truth cannot convince. Knowledge passes in act.182

176 177

Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 212. Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 212. 178 _i_ek Slavoj, Lacan between cultural studies and cognitivism, unpublished. 179 Elizabeth Wright, and Edmond Wright, eds., The _i_ek Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999). 180 Alain Badiou, Lacan y la Filosofa, in Reflexiones sobre nuestro tiempo: Interrogantes acerca de la tica, la poltica y la experiencia de lo inhumano. Translated by Jorge Luiz Lima (Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Cifrado, 2000), 45. 181 Badiou, Lacan y la Filosofa, 46. 182 Badiou, Lacan y la Filosofa, 46.

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Knowledge passes precisely, Badiou continues, because in the act knowledge passes; the general movement of antiphilosophy includes the destitution of the philosophic category of truth.183 From this point of view, an antiphilosophy such as the Lacanian is not a critique but a therapeutic act that seeks to cure humans from their philosophic sickness.184 Lacan wants to submit philosophy to a test: that of the analytic act itself.185 One of _i_eks main interests has been precisely this Lacanian act, which in our Introduction we called an act in theatrical terms. In the The Ticklish Subject, Slavoj _i_ek utilizes Badious Truth-Event186 concept for getting closer to the understanding of those kinds of acts. The fundamental lesson of postmodernist politics is that there is no Event, that nothing really happens, that the Truth-Event is a passing, illusory short circuit, a false identification to be dispelled eventually by the reassertion of difference or, at best, the fleeting promise of the Redemption to come, towards which we have to maintain a proper distance in order to avoid catastrophic totalitarian consequences; against this structural skepticism, Badiou is fully justified in insisting thatto use the term with its full theological weightmiracles do happen187 These events keep a certain un-decidability, because they do not possess any ontological guarantee, and they cannot be reduced or deduced, generated from a previous Situation: they emerge out of nothing (the Nothing which was the ontological truth of this previous situation).188 For _i_ek, the Lacanian act is precisely that moment which can raise a possibility of a drastic rearticulation of the entire symbolic field by means of an act, that is, a passage through symbolic death189 and where the basic example is the figure of Antigone. From the Lacanian perspective, an authentic act involves (traversing) the fantasy and occurs only when the phantasmic background itself is disturbed. In this sense, for
183 184

Badiou, Lacan y la Filosofa, 46. Badiou, Lacan y la Filosofa, 47. 185 Badiou, Lacan y la Filosofa, 47. 186 _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 130. 187 _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 135. 188 _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 136. 189 _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 262.

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Lacan the act is on the side of the object qua real as opposed to the signifier, to speech act.190 In the act, the subject," as Lacan presents it, "posits himself or herself as his or her own cause, and is no longer determined by the de-centered object-cause."191 For Badiou the certainty of the Lacanian antiphilosophy is based on the actwith its spatio-temporal coordinates, its chance, and its modes of preservation. It is an antiphilosophy similar to that which Deleuze and Guattari defined as geophilosophy. The constitutive relationship of philosophy with antiphilosophy or nonphilosophy is a matter of becoming, of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, where the philosopher must become nonphilosopher, so nonphilosophy becomes the earth and people of philosophy.192

1.5. Theater as philosophical technology


190 191

_i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 265. _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 374. 192 Deleuze, and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 109.

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Michel Foucault referred to Deleuzes philosophy not as a thought but as a theater and this let him invert Platonism and escape from categories and hierarchies of truth. But as Foucault has explained, until Nietzsche there had been a great disinterest in philosophy about theater, its modes of operation and practice, and this disinterest can be understood as part of a mode in which the question of the gaze in philosophy has been posited.193 Since Plato, and increasingly since Descartes, what has been important is whether what is being seen in a certain moment can be considered true or false. What has been important to this gaze is to know with complete certainty if the world is true or false, if it is a reality or an illusion. In another way, this is the important aspect of theater for Foucault, because in the theatrical apparatus these distinctions do not exist. It is not relevant to know if something is real or not, true or false because if this becomes relevant, theater then disappears.194 From this perspective, Foucault was very interested in how the gaze has organized, through a theatrical structure, the spectacle of the world.195 He was interested in the ethical gaze and how theater was related to it; for this reason he developed the study of the panopticon.196 The panopticon for Foucault is a machine of dissociation because one sees without being seen or one is seen without seeing; but it is also a laboratory, a machine of making experiences, and a pedagogy.197 In the panopticon, the gaze is alert because visibility is a trap and every cell is a theater.198 The panopticon is a devise of power that established a new mode of social control and also promoted the development of new technologies of the visual that were produced by the power apparatus.

193

See Michel Foucault, Esttica, tica y hermenutica. Translated by Angel Gabilondo (Barcelona: Paids, 1999). 194 Foucault, Esttica, tica y hermenutica, 149. 195 Foucault, Esttica, tica y hermenutica, 150. 196 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, in A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, eds. Antony Easthope, and Kate McGowan (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1992). 197 Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 86. 198 Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 88.

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These new visual technologies transformed society, its systems of delegations of power, but also prompted the ceaseless working up of new social imaginaries and modes of relational behavior as has been demonstrated by Jean_Louis Comolli.199 It developed to the point where it became no longer possible to represent or experience the world without the mediation of these technologies.200 That is, within this panoptical structure of power, brilliantly exposed by Foucault, and the proliferation of new technologies of visuality, multiple opticalities arose and transformed the scope of what being seen and seeing meant, subverting the theater of subjective control to the mediatic theater201 of the Homo generator.202 As Wolfgang Schirmacher has shown there has been a failure in recognizing the activity of Homo generator by the philosophic tradition. In the debates on the body vs. virtual body, reality vs. virtual reality, truth vs. falsitythe model has forgotten the media artist, as generator of human reality and his/her responsibility for tomorrow's artificial world. The Homo generator as part of the panoptic technologies is also beyond them; he is in them as a Dasein beyond metaphysics, a human being which needs no Being, no certainty, no truth.203 Modern technology, and one could include here the visual technologies of the panoptical social structure, is the birthplace of the Homo generator, but an ambiguous one. From this perspective, it could be said that Foucaults panopticon as a technology of power and as a rigid social structure also became a place of birth. The panopticon as

199

See Jean_Louis Comolli, Machines of the Visible, in Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation, ed. Timothy Druckrey (New York: Aperture, 1996), 109. 200 See Introduction in Druckrey, 13. 201 In a theatrical view of human-computer activity, the stage is a virtual world. It is populated by agents, both human and computer-generated, and other elements of the representational context (windows, teacups, desktops, or what-have-you). The technical magic that supports the representation, as in the theater, is behind the scenes. Whether the magic is created by hardware, software, or wetware is of no consequence; its only value is in what it produces on the stage. In other words, the representation is all there is. Brenda Laurel, Computers as theater (Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1991), 17. 202 Wolfgang Schirmacher, Homo Generator: Militant Media & Postmodern Technology. Translated by Virginia Cutrufelli, European Graduate School <http://www.egs.edu/Art_Life/wolfgang/homo.html> (April, 2002). 203 Schirmacher, Homo Generator.

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a paranoid dream204 became during the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of this one, a machinic heterogenesis205 and a schizo chaosmosis;206 and from it, new ethico-aesthetic paradigms207 arose in paranoid metamodelizations of multiple visualities. At this point, we begin to realize how the panopticon is part of the aisthethicon: an expanded and ambiguous pan-optism, which also questions the limits of the optism and assumes the interrogation of sights hegemonious role in Western culture. The visual was put on trial precisely within the visual. As Martin Jay,208 has shown, these interrogations began with Nietzsche and Bergson, and artists like Mallarm, Czanne, and the Surrealist work. From this perspective, the invisible is not opposite to vision, as Derrida has demonstrated.209 A visual space is not only what is visible, but also what is invisible. The painter and the draughtsman are blind, they paint and draw like blind men, it is the hand of the blind; their experience is the experience of blindness. This is what belongs to the aisthethicon; when the theater of gaze is questioned, then the theater of the blind210 appears, as it was shown by Jacques Derrida in the exhibition Memoirs of the Blind held at the Louvre Museum from October 26, 1990 to January 21, 1991. They are all images of the blind but also memories of the blind.211 This can be understood as a kind of apocalypse that is a revelation but also as close up catastrophe, because a work is at once order and its ruin. And these weep for one another. Deploring and imploring, they veil a gaze at the very moment that they

204 205

Foucault, Esttica, tica y hermenutica, 150. Guattari, Chaosmosis, 32. 206 Guattari, Chaosmosis, 82. 207 See Chapter 6 in Guattari, Chaosmosis, 98-118. 208 Martin Jay, The Disenchantment of the Eye: Surrealism and the Crisis of Ocularcentrism, in Visualizing Theory: Selected Essays From V.A.R., 1990-1994, ed. Lucien Taylor (New York: Routledge, 1994), 173. 209 Jacques Derrida, No escribo sin luz artificial. Translated by Rosario Ibez and Mara Jos Pozo (Valladolid: Cuatro. Ediciones, 1999). 210 See Jacques Derrida, and Hlne Cixous, Velos. Translated by Mara Negrn (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 2001), 32. 211 See Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins. Translated by Pascale_Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Chicago: The Chicago University Press, 1993).

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unveil it. It is an apocalypse that makes something happen or come, makes something come to the eyes, and makes something well up in them, by producing an event. In this sense it is something performative, something vision alone would be incapable of if it gave rise only to representational reporting, to perspicacity, to theory or to theater, if it were not already potentially apocalypse, already potent with apocalypse.212 What this presents is a theater of seeing that is not interested in knowing or wanting to know if what is seen is true or false, if what is seen is real or not, or if the eye is an implant or a natural pupil. Also, this is a visibility of the blind that cannot be presented in discourse, not even as a theory, but only as theater, a theater that presents thoughts which do not rely on the hierarchies of binary opposition but are instead open to the possibility of multiple differences.213 Thinking the theatrical event, along the specific kinds of spatial and temporal axes that structure the theatrical performance, avoids abstract equivalencies or categorical oppositions, and at the same time it promotes a never completely finished process of production of meaning.214 As Cixous puts it: Theater is the palace of other people. It lives on the desire of the other, and all others. And on the desire for the desire of others: of the public, of the actors.215 Here is important to remark that in the theatrical approach utilized in geophilosophy by Deleuze and Guattari, it is evidently not a theater in itself, not as the aesthetical event of theater, a night in the theater, but theater as a devise, as a technology. A theatrical technology deterritorialized from the physical location of the traditional space of theater. For regardless of the never completely finished process of production of meaning that operates in theater, it is clear that an overcoming of metaphysics could not possibly occur within the symbolic institutional space of theater. Mainly this limit on institutional space occurred because as an art theater has been too preoccupied with

212 213

Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind, 122. Shiach, 106. 214 Shiach, 107. 215 Shiach, 110.

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fiction as an opposition to reality.216 Further, it has not been sufficiently interrogated in terms of its epistemic axioms.217 The practice of theater, despite Antonin Artaud, has rejected the event itself: it harbors something which prevents us from experiencing the presence itself in itself, and even prevents theater from occurring.218 From another perspective performance art, in its aim of subverting theater and art itself, also can not be taken as a real option for experiencing presence, because, as Nancy has argued: Happenings and performance art, and all of that which, within contemporary art, has revolved around the motif of the event (for example, Polaroid and video, the residual, the accidental, the aleatory, staining, interruption and so on)all of this seems to have either merely prolonged one posture or the other (the great or the little) or merely continued to destroy reduce, and shatter art.219 Nevertheless, this still occurs within the history of art and theater. The event of performance art is a metaphysical one. The scenery becomes worse with the political activism proposed by so-called performance studies as wee as by Richard Schechener.220 It is worse, first, because it establishes a privileged multicultural point of view of the world, and, second, because it presupposes the political idea in its attempt to apprehend presence and a teleological transcendent objective which is the basis of any metaphysics.
221

But in terms of theater as a technology it could be said, for example, that the Pataphysics of Alfred Jarry,222 (an unrecognized precursor to Heidegger according to

216

See Patrice Pavis, Theater at the Crossroads of Culture. Translated by Loren Krger (London: Routledge, 1992). 217 Melrose, 15. 218 Melrose, 5. 219 Jean_Luc Nancy, The sense of the world. Translated by Jeffrey S. Librett (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 126. 220 See Richard Schechner, The Future of the Ritual: Writings on culture and performance (London: Routledge, 1993). 221 See Schechner, Ritual, Play and Performance, xv. See Eugenio Barba, and Nicola Savarese, A Dictionary of Theater Anthropology: The Secret Art of the Performer. Translated by Richard Fowler (London: Routledge, 1991). See Eugenio Barba, The Paper Canoe: A Guide to Theater Anthropology. Translated by Richard Fowler (London: Routledge, 1995). 222 For an interesting relation between Pataphysics and the work of Jean Baudrillard see Genosko, The Drama of Theory.

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Gilles Deleuze),223 becomes relevant here, especially in its attempt to overcome metaphysics through a phenomenology, that is, from a new sense and a new comprehension of the phenomena.224 Jarry posited the occurrence of a phenomenon that shows itself in itself and that includes the post-autologic thought in an epiphenomenona, the object of pataphysics, and the being of the event itself, something not useful and unconscious.225 From this perspective, and as Deleuze posited, pataphysics is the culmination of metaphysics in technology that makes possible the overcoming of metaphysics in a passing from science to art, from reversion of science into art and in the transition from technology to the Poetic as in Heidegger.226 As Avital Ronell has posited in The Question Concerning Technology, Heidegger accordingly reminded us that techne is the name not only for the activities and skills of the craftsman, but also for the arts of the mind and the fine arts. Techne belongs to bringing forth, to poiesis, it is something poietic. Furthermore, techne is linked with the word episteme in the widest sense that both words are names for knowing.227 From this perspective, the aisthethicon is also a techne, but in a sense which reverses the development of dominance that Schirmacher describes: Techne was the Greek philosophy of life. In that time, art was not yet conceived of separately from technology, from the work of the artist. Not until the one-sided preference for usefulness in the modern age, and the systematic design for domination of nature following Bacon's teachings, did technology become a weapon against nature. And with it the meaning of art was subjugated.228 As Gilles Deleuze has described Being showed itself twice: once in relation to metaphysics, in an immemorial past, one that retreats before every historical pastthe

223

Gilles Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical. Translated by Daniel W. Smith, and Michael A. Greco (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997). 224 Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical, 91. 225 Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical, 92. 226 Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical, 96. 227 Avital Ronell, Finitudes Score: Essays for the End of the Millennium (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), 249. 228 Wolfgang Schirmacher, From the Phenomenon to the Event of Technology: A Dialectical Approach to Heidegger's Phenomenology, in Philosophy and Technology, ed. F. Durbin, and F. Rapp (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1983).

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always Alreadythought of the Greeks; and a second time in relation to technology, in an unassignable future, a pure imminence or the possibility of a thought always still to come.229 From this perspective, the aisthethicon is a technology of thinking in which all production of senseof a sense making sense in this senseis a death work. In addition it must be taken to account that: Thought is poor and it is precisely this poverty which we must think.230 For Jean_Luc Nancy, thought has to be born to presence and not to represent its presentation. In terms of the asithethicon something can occur not as an actual taking place but as the incommensurability of a coming to all taking-place, the incommensurability of spacing and fraying to all space disposed in the present of a presentation,231 that is, as a fractal ex-position of theatrical-acts-withintheatrical acts.232 It is an exposition that can be shows in technology by the very fact that it withdraws from it. From this perspective, the aisthethicon can be understood as a theoretical praxis that shows itself in itself; it is a call for thinking and at the same time the showing of how the end of the world of sense opens the praxis of the sense of the world.233 An aisthetic, aesthetic, and ethical praxis in a theater of thinking that loves what is most alive.234

229 230

Deleuze, Essays critical and clinical, 94. Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 4. 231 Nancy, The sense of the world, 126. 232 Nancy, The sense of the world, 126. 233 Nancy, The sense of the world, 9. 234 As in Martin Heidegger, What is Called Thinking? Translated by J. Glenn Gray (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1968), 20.

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2. THE ACT OF THE ETHICAL

2.1. The Kantian unreasonable ethic Lacoue-Labarthe has pointed out two interesting facts: (1) despite the theatricality of his seminars1 and his use of dramatic literature, Lacan despised theater,2 and yet (2) paradoxically this theatricality became the mark3 of Lacanian symposiums and events. For some writers, Jacques Lacans theatricality is a consequence of his search for a style that would enable him to translate into the classroom what psychoanalytic experience reveals to the analyst by taking into account the effects of transference,4 and this kind of theatricality became a central aspect of the Lacanian seminars and professional meetings around the world. An exemplary case of this sort of theatricality occurred at the Sala Magna de la Universidad Central de Barcelona, the main hall of the university at a seminar of Jacques_Alain Miller, held in September 1999 called Lakant.5 In the published proceedings of the event,6 it is possible to find the discourses and comments made during the days of the seminar. The document contains a series of interpretations about what occurred in the event, and in all of them, there is an attempt to describe as part of the seminar many of the jokes, gestures, audience reactions, movements and dialogues that could help the reader imagine the seminar as the event.

See Gregory Ulmer, The scene of teaching, in Applied Grammatology (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985). 2 Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, De la tica: A Propsito de Antgona, in Lacan con los filsofos. Translated by Eliane Cazenave-Tapie (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1997), 29. 3 For a use of this concept see Peggy Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (London: Routledge, 1993). 4 See Ulmer, The scene of teaching, 190. 5 Primera Jornada de Estudios de la EEP_ECFB and later published in Spain by the Escuela Lacaniana de Psicoanlisis en Espaa. 6 Jacques_Alain Miller, Lakant. Translated by Antoni Vicens (Barcelona: Escuela Lacaniana de Psicoanlisis del Campo Freudiano, 2000).

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At the beginning of the Seminar, the speakers alluded to the place in which they were meeting and remarked about the meaning of the event. The place was the hall of the university where the dissertation exams were taken.7 As part of the presentation one of the speakers remembered that Jacques Lacan had participated for the first time in Barcelona in September 1956, and his conference theme had been The true and false psychoanalysis. For the description of the documentation of Lakant seminar, the event was an exemplary case of Lacanian epistemology. The questions that ought to be posed are posed and the usual themes are studied and disposed of. The heir to the Lacanian kingdom, Jacques-Alain Miller, was present. He is the one with the authority and transference. He is the one who responds, and the one who has the natural right of the dramatic climax of the day, the last and most powerful aha! as it can be read in the memoirs. The theme of this event was Kants second critique in relation to Lacan. It is a seminar on some kind of Kant avec Lacan.8 It becomes clear that this avec was borrowed from that other famous avec, the one in Kant avec Sade.9 At the beginning of the seminar, Jacques_Alain Miller pointed out that the use of avec means that an author or his oeuvre serves the function of revealing a truth of another author.10 Lacan used Sade11 in order to reveal something of the other author, and

7 8

Miller, Lakant, 6. Miller, Lakant, 12. 9 See Jacques Lacan, Kant avec Sade, in crits (Pars: ditions de Seuil, 1966). 10 Miller, Lakant, 12. 11 As Slavoj _i_ek puts it: When in todays ethico-political debates, one mentions the name Immanuel Kant the first association, of course, is the post-Communist liberal advocacy of the return to Kant in all its different versionsfrom Hannah Arendt to Jrgen Habermas; from neoliberals like Luc Ferry and John Rawls to theorists of the second modernity like Ulrich Beck. However, the fundamental wager of Lacans Kant with Sade is that there is another, much more uncanny Kant, the Kant apropos of whom Lacan claimed that, in the history of ideas, his ethical revolution was the starting point which led to the Freudian discovery of the unconscious: Kant was the first to delineate the dimension beyond the pleasure principle. Slavoj _i_ek, Foreword: Why is Kant Worth Fighting For?, in Alenka Zupan_i_, Ethics of the Real: Kant, Lacan (London: Verso, 2000).

45

by this means also to reveal something of psychoanalysis.12 Moreover, after listening to the paper of the first speaker, Miller made his comment: although it had been a very interesting work, he felt that something was missing. He missed the aha! from the audience. As if this aha! in a conference was a symptom that revealed from the audience, like a lighting bolt, their sudden understanding of what had been said. After this remark and in a true dramatization (as Vicente Palomera, one of his disciples, described it) Jacques_Alain Miller developed an argument on the ethical paradoxes of Kant that pleased the entire audience.13 He discoveredin real timethe sense of the four last words of Kants first comment on the formulation of the categorical imperative: Sic volo, sico jubeo.14 Jacques_Alain Millers true dramatization during the seminar opened up a new stage. Two centers of event were occurring during the seminar: first, the theatricality of transference of Jacques_Alain Miller as the heir and responsible of Lacans oeuvre and second, the theatricality of his true dramatization.15 However, when reading the written document of the seminar, what one is able to find, more than a theater-within-the theater, is the play-within-the play or a dramatization-within-the dramatization. Jacques_Alain Miller's central presentation of the seminar (his true dramatization) was a narration on how after having sought in different texts for the four last words of Kants first comment on the formulation of the categorical imperative, Sic volo, sico jubeo, he finally discovered that they were taken from Juvenals Satires,16 specifically, from the VI satire, which narrates the story of a man who questions himself about whether or not he should get married.17 Actually, it is the demonstration that a man

12 13

Miller, Lakant, 13. Miller, Lakant, 7. 14 Miller, Lakant, 36, 37. 15 Alenka Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die: Theater in Hitchcocks Films, in Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lacan (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock), ed. Slavoj _i_ek (London: Verso, 1992), 88. 16 See Juvenal, The sixteen satires. Translated by Peter Green, et al. (London: Penguin, 1999). 17 See Kant and the arts of theory in Michel De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).

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should never marry a woman, or as Miller would explain on that occasion, it is about the single mans ethic.18 It could be supposed that Miller in terms of approaching the dramatic climax of his presentation, and as Avital Ronell would put it, had to go about slapping a few women.19 For according to Millers presentation, Kant discovered through this satire the voice of duty, specifically in the feminine tyrants voice of a woman who gave orders to crucify a slave.20 For Miller, Kant recognized with all certainty, the voice of tyrannical duty in the voice of a woman who says: I want it and I order it. Let my will be my reason.21 Juvenals character, the woman, is a wife who asks her husband to execute a slave. Then the husband asks in return, why should he be killed? What are the reasons and where are the witnesses? If it means the life of a man, then there is no reflection that could possibly be considered excessive. In Millers reading, it is insinuated that the first thing one could conclude from this matter is that Kant would have identified himself with the husband. It could be thought, at first glance, that Kant would have remembered it is necessary to have a reasonable judgment before of a given circumstance. However, as Miller showed during his seminar, this is not the case. Kant recognized himself in the voice of the woman.22 He recognized the voice of tyrannical duty in the voice of the woman who says: Madman! How can you consider a slave as a man? All right, he has not done anything, but I want it and I order it. Let my will serve as my reason.23

18

Another example of Kants use of Juvenals satires see Jacques Derrida, Politics of Friendship. Translated by George Collins (London: Verso, 1997), 258. 19 Avital Ronell, Stupidity (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 80. 20 Miller, Lakant, 37. 21 Miller, Lakant, 37. 22 See Janet A. Kourany, James P. Sterba, and Rosemarie Tong, Feminist Philosophies (Englewood Cliff: Prentice Hall, 1992). 23 Miller, Lakant, 37.

47

The play scene we have introduced, the play-within-the play, is certainly a relevant point, not only as a theatrical example, but also theoretically. It can remind us Jacques Lacans interpretation of Hamlet and the play-within-the play, in his aim of developing the thesis that the truth has the structure of fiction.24 In Jacques Millers example the play within the play can also tell us about what is considered reality and the nature of fiction within a specific drama. The device of a play-within-a play can be conceived, in a general form, simply as fiction-within-afiction. From this point of view one can argue that fiction-within-fiction is the moment where fiction is faced with its own exterior at its own interior.25 From this perspective and as Alenka Zupan_i_ has described it, fiction is established through a disjunction, and sustains itself through something that it cannot show or that it can show only by duplicating itself.26 In the narration of Jacques_Alain Miller, the Kantian Law exists neither determined by representations of sensible and intellectual objects, nor by a feeling of pleasure or pain, but by the representation of a pure form; the faculty of desiring is capable of a superior form: that of a universal legislation.27 The Kantian ethical law orders us to think the maxim of our will as the principle of a universal legislation, an action that can be thought without contradiction as a universal law.28 As Gilles Deleuze has posited, the universal is an absolute logic. Thus, the logic of a universal legislation is inherent to reason, but where reason does not reason.29 Only

24 25

Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 82. Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 82. 26 Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 82. 27 Gilles Deleuze, La filosofa crtica de Kant. Translated by Marco A. Galmarini (Madrid: Ediciones Ctedra, 1997), 55. 28 Deleuze, La filosofa crtica de Kant, 55 29 Deleuze, La filosofa crtica de Kant, 56.

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through this ethical law, we know we are free; our concept of freedom30 acquires an objective, positive and predetermined reality.31 However, Slavoj _i_ek has pointed out that this logic of a universal legislation in the Kantian Law should not be confused with an arbitrary schema: The Kantian Law is thus not merely an empty form applied to a random empirical content in order to ascertain if this content meets the criteria of ethical adequacyrather the empty form of the Law functions as the promise of an absent content (never) to come. Or to put it in a slightly different waythe form is not only a kind of neutral-universal mould of the plurality of different empirical contents; the autonomy of the Form, rather, bears witness to the uncertainty which persists with regard to the content of our actswe never know if the determinate content which accounts for the specificity of our acts is the right one: that is, if we have really acted in accordance with the Law and have not been guided by some hidden pathological motive.32 Taking this in account is where Slavoj _i_ek developed the concept of the (ethical) act, following the theory developed by Kant and Lacanian psychoanalysis.33 In the Lacanian reading, the main point of Kants theory of pure ethical acts resides in the distinction between those acts that are done only in accordance with duty and those acts that are done exclusively from duty.34 The act that is done exclusively from duty is the ethical act, in the strict sense, because it does not depend on any other pathological action in the Kantian sense: The ethical act is only the one done exclusively from duty.35 The main characteristics of the ethical acts are: 1. The foundation of these acts must always be a self-foundation. An ethical act does not occur because of external reasons (our inner impulses and

30

See Jean_Luc Nancy, The Experience of freedom, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Bridget McDonald (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993). 31 Deleuze, La filosofa crtica de Kant, 57. 32 Slavoj _i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies (London: Verso, 1997), 226. 33 Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 90. 34 Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 91. 35 Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 91.

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motives also belong to such reasons.)36 The ethical act can arise only from itself as identical with the moral law.37 2. The only purpose of the ethical act is its own realization and own fulfillment. For this reason an ethical act is beyond all criteria of usefulness or efficiency.38 3. The ethical act complies with the form of a universal legislation solely for the sake of form itself. 4. The feeling of horror an ethical act might provoke is not an aesthetic feeling, but is rather, a moral feeling. 5.
39

The ethical act cannot and does not arise from a sensible impulse but only arises from a maxim. 40

6. The ethical act is an act of freedom.41 The novels of Jos Saramago are a clear fictive example of what Slavoj _i_ek, following the Lacanian Psychoanalytic tradition, has called the ethical acts. A main characteristic of Saramagos work is his ethical concern in the Kantian sense, and specifically, his ethical characters. His characters do not discern if something is good or bad in every circumstance. They live in the uncertainty or indifference of recognizing what is bad or good for their lives. The Saramagan characters only do what has to be done. This is one of the constants of his novels. One is able to find this ethical approach, for example, in the character of Ricardo Reis, a heteronym of Fernando Pessoa.42 While walking around Lisbon, Reis waits for the un-waitable, for when he is ready to carry out that which must be done: what he is.

36 37

Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 91. Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 91. 38 Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Die, 82. 39 Zupan_i_, Ethics of the Real, 85. 40 Zupan_i_, Ethics of the Real, 85. 41 Zupan_i_, Ethics of the Real, 85. 42 See Jos Saramago, El ao de la muerte de Ricardo Reis (Mxico: Alfaguara, 1997).

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This trait is also evident in the very famous character of Saramago, his Christ,43 an almost atheistic Christ that assumes his duty, and accepts his destiny because that is the way it is. We can find it in the conversations of Don Jos, the government employee who while speaking to the roof arrives at the conclusion that humans really do not know anything about life and what should be done, to the point where, only in some moments, they only know that what must be done, must be done.44 Especially we can find it when while driving his truck, Cipriano Algor, the main character of Jos Saramagos novel The Cavern,45 says quietly to himself: I cannot do what I could do while he was meditating on what it meant for him to be almost seventy years old and then, suddenly, he realized that very deep in his conscience, another voice that was also his, contradicted him. This other deeper voice said: Actually, you never could do much Cipriano, you never could do so much.46 These Saramagan characters often discover themselves doing, without knowing it, what they must. And the loyalty to this truth is precisely what the Christ of Saramago speaks of when his mother questions him about science and his knowledge while he is still very young. After listening quietly to his mothers speech, he answers that maybe human beings are born with this kind of truth, and if they do not speak of it is because they do not believe in it, but not because they do not consider it the truth or because they do not live by this truth.47 In Saramagos characters there are no reasons given for ethical duty. Suddenly, something obligates them to unexpected acts which, in most cases, would seem absurd or mad to those around them and even according to their own quotidian perspective. These acts, after having been done, give a new sense to their lives and those with whom they live.48

43 44

See Jos Saramago, El Evangelio segn Jesucristo (Mxico: Alfaguara, 1998). See Jos Saramago, Todos los nombres (Madrid: Alfaguara, 1997). 45 See Jos Saramago, La Caverna (Barcelona: Alfaguara, 2001). 46 Saramago, La Caverna, 36. 47 Saramago, El Evangelio segn Jesucristo, 216. 48 Slavoj _i_ek, The Ticklish Subject: The Absent of Centre of Political Ontology (London: Verso, 1999), 375.

51

To put it in _i_ekian-Lacanian terms, these sorts of characters open up the possibility of rearticulating the symbolic field through the execution of an ethical act.49 Here, it is also important not to confuse the ethical acts of Saramagos characters with moral actions. They do not act because what they are doing is good or bad, but because what they are doing must be done. Most of the time, the character that performs the ethical act is the one most surprised.50 As Slavoj _i_ek has posited: An act differs from an action in that the former radically transforms its bearer (agent) while the latter does not. After an act, I am not the same as I was before. In the act, the subject is annihilated and subsequently reborn (or not); the act involves a kind of temporary eclipse of the subject. The act is therefore always a crime, a transgression, namely the ethical act proper is a transgression of the legal norma transgression which, in contrast to a simple criminal violation, does not simply violate the legal norm, but redefines what is a legal norm. The moral law does not follow the Goodit generates a new shape of what counts as Good. The act is thus not abyssal in the sense of an irrational gesture that escapes all rational criteria: it can and should be judged by universal rational criteria, the point is only that it changes (recreates) the very criteria by which it should be judgedthere are not antecedent universal rational criteria that one applies when one accomplishes an act.51 An ethical act can produce horror because it is a self-referential abyss that is not completely controlled by the will, for this reason it appears as something crazy, that it was not willed. The subjects will is split in terms of that act because there is the attraction to do the act and the repulsion of it, which are inextricably mixed in it. From this perspective, the subject cannot fully assume the act as its own.52 In short, as _i_ek has outlined, what Lacan calls act has the precise status of an object which the subject can never swallow, subjectivize,which forever remains a foreign body, a bone stuck in the

49 50

_i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 263. See _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 376. 51 See Slavoj _i_ek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?: Five Interventions in the (Mis)use of a Nation (London: Verso, 2001). 52 Slavoj _i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies (London: Verso, 1997), 223.

52

throat.53 The act in the Lacanian sense [] has the status of an unbearable object which the subject is unable to assume and subjectivize.54 In these acts, there is no one who says that something ought to be done. Only an imperious obligation that rises from within, in those moments of solitude when for example the Saramagos characters discuss with their intimate being if they want or do not want what is clear that they want.55 It is interesting to compare the literary world of Saramago with his political beliefs because the world of his novels is very different from what is considered his political agenda. Saramago, the communist, gives lectures all over the world with a highly political investment. This is the Jos Saramago of the interviews and newspaper articles, the writer who teaches about what must be done in this disenchanted world.56 This other Saramago is very different from his characters, although we could say that this Saramago is (also) one of his characters. However, in his literary world things do not occur that way. What his characters put forth is not a political program, but that in certain moments, when we cannot be sure that they will arrive, something must be done. Something that is not founded on a specific reason or even an ideology, but that must be done because it is our duty. However, the content of what this duty is, is not defined or even written: it actually occupies an empty space. There is no content or definitive project to be followed in Saramagos characters. The protagonists of his novels only know that there are moments when they have to do something and their duty consists in just doing it. For this, as Cipriano Algor would put it: we should never be sure of what we are thinking of doing or being, because at that precise point, we might as well already be something completely different.57

53 54

_i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies, 223 _i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies, 224 55 See a comparison between Lacan and Kant on ethical acts in Zupan_i_, Ethics of the Real, 85. 56 See Juan Manuel Villalobos, En busca de un nombre, La Jornada (8 March 1998): 2-3. 57 Saramago, La Caverna, 52.

53

This is what Avital Ronell has called the ethics of haunting.58 That is, the secret inducements in response to which we subject ourselves to phenomena. Sometimes it can be called freedom, God, work or love and it is something [] that holds sway over us like an unconditional prescription in the form of an imperative force that may or may not make sense.59 It can appear in several ways, but always as a haunting that, is also a haunt. The ethics of the haunted is what Ronell calls them; they invade us, [] not merely [as] a strange fixation of film makers and obsessional neurotics, but as a thought that it is not thinking beyond its time but in its time.60 For Jean_Luc Nancy,61 this is the excessive nature of the categorical imperative, and what haunts existence is linked to a domestic dimension that can never be domesticated. In his literary works, Saramago guides the reader through the interior monologue of his characters. In these monologues at certain moments, excision occurs. What was expected does not happen, and the unexpected occurs as an act, which nobody, not even the character himself or herself could know about: an encounter between acts and thoughts. Saramago has shown that there is a theater of thoughts and the ethical apparition of sudden, unexpected acts as a theater of the haunted. For Slavoj _i_ek, this description of ethical acts asserts that for someone to act ethically within this absolute logic it is required to follow an unconscious injunction that has to be forgotten, and only on the condition of such an injunction can become truly unconditional.62 According to _i_ek, Lacan showed a crack in the Kantian edifice that opened the way for his famous publication on Kant with Sade in which the dramatic writing of

58

Avital Ronell, Dictations: On haunted Writing (Lincoln: Univeristy of Nebraska Press, 1993). 59 Ronell, Dictations, xviii. 60 Ronell, Dictations, xviii. 61 See Jean_Luc Nancy, LImperatif categorique (Paris: Flammarion, 1983). 62 Slavoj _i_ek, and Mladen Dolar, Operas Second Death (New York: Routledge, 2002), 141.

54

the Marquis of Sade appear as the truth of Kant. Sade63 in his writings denounced all ethical considerations as an unwarranted limitation of the true natural order: God or morality are parasitical entities that impede the full realizations of our natural urges.64 In this description, even nature is also considered a constraint for freedom because the Kantian ethical imperative according to Lacan should be done only for the sake of the maxim itself and in these terms, to be truly free, the subject has to commit in Sadean terms a radical act of destruction.65 Lacan in his Kant with Sade established a parallelism between an excessive act of freedom and the Kantian ethical act in terms that the two options cannot be motivated by pathological motives such as for example, pleasure.66 In these cases, the only possible way to uphold the reign of the pleasure principle is to sacrifice some excessive pleasure, and the opposite would operate, that is, the only way to undermine the rule of the pleasure principle is to follow the pleasure to its horrifying unbearable excess.67 As Zupan_i_ 68 has shown, Kant in his philosophy was able to maintain the ideal of the Good only when he abandoned and renounced the possibility of the pure ethical act because these acts could be completely ambiguous and because the only examples of ethical acts he could find were examples of radical evil.69 This is the unavoidable conclusion Kant is not ready to accept: the very formal structure of an act is diabolically evil. Orto put it in yet another waythe obverse of Kants insistence of how one the pure moral act is impossible, of how can never be sure that one is acting solely out of consideration for duty, is the far more uncanny fact that the moral act, precisely as impossible, is simultaneously unavoidable, that which is in a way impossible to transgress.70

63

For an analysis of Sades thought see Georges Bataille, Literature and Evil. Translated by Alastair Hamilton (London: Marion Boyars, 1990). 64 _i_ek, and Dolar, Operas Second Death, 141. 65 On the impossibility of justice in Kantian ethics see Jacques Derrida, Acts of Religion, ed. Gil Anidjar (New York: Routledge, 2002). 66 _i_ek, and Dolar, Operas Second Death, 141. 67 _i_ek, and Dolar, Operas Second Death, 144. 68 Zupan_i_, A perfect place to Dide, 95. 69 See Joan Copjec, ed., Radical Evil (London: Verso, 1996). 70 _i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies, 230.

55

Nevertheless, if we were to accept the fact, as Slavoj _i_ek does, that the ethical act is unavoidable, then would it also have to be accepted that this act in order to be ethical could only occur in a theater or to be more specific in a play-within-a play as part of an structure of fiction? This question opens up two main options in which the ethical acts could be understood: 1. The ethical acts occur and can be set forth in theory through the aesthetical figure of an ethical act. In this sense it could be said that there are no Ethics in general as Alain Badiou has posited elsewhere71 but only ethical acts that cannot be prevented or planned. 2. An ethical act is only a theatrical act that is truthful only in literature and film.72 A provisional answer would be to take both options as affirmative in that an ethical act needs a theater in terms of been conceptualized and perhaps realized, because in any other way is impossible. At this point is important to remark that the ethical act has been presented and exemplified by Slavoj _i_ek in many occasions through film, literature, opera, and music. According to _i_ek, these endeavors to take aesthetic examples have not been a way of illustrating complex theory or try to make it easily accessible and thus spare to the reader the effort of thinking:

71

Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. Translated by Peter Hallward (London: Verso, 2001). 72 As Judith Butler asked: Can _i_ekian psychoanalysis respond to the pressure to theorize the historical specificity of trauma, to provide texture for the specific exclusions, annihilations, and unthinkable losses that structure the social phenomena []? It is unclear whether the examples are merely illustratives in this context, or whether they are the means by which the law orders and subordinates a set of phenomena to reflect back its own enduring continuity. Do the examples demonstrate the law, or do they become examples to the extent that they are ordered and rendered equivalent by the very law that then, [] reads back the examples it itself has produced as signs of the laws own persistence? If the priority and the universality of the law are produced as the effects of these examples, at which point the law is to be understood as an effect of the list of examples even as the examples are claimed to be indifferent and equivalent instances and effects of that law? Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (New York: Routledge, 1993) 202-203.

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The point is rather that such an exemplification, such a miseen-scne of theoretical motifs renders visible aspects that would otherwise remain unnoticed. Such a procedure already has a respectable line of philosophic predecessors, from the late Wittgenstein to Hegel. Is not the basic strategy of Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit to undermine a given theoretical position by staging it as an existential subjective attitude (that of ascetism, that of the beautiful soul, etc.) and thus to reveal its otherwise hidden inconsistencies, that is, to exhibit the way its very subjective position of enunciation undermines its enunciated, its positive contents?73 _i_ek has followed this tradition of staging the theoretical,74 in a similar way of what Paul Ricoeur has consider to be the transition, from the theoretical to the practical, that can be done through some kind of fiction. For Ricoeur, this has been possible because certain fictions redescribe human actions and the first way human beings have tried to understand to master the diversity of the practical field is to provide themselves with a fictional representation that in some cases has been ancient tragedy, modern drama, novels, fables or legends.75 What Ricoeurs phenomenology of individual actions is interested in showing is that there is no action without imagination. However, in _i_eks staging of theory, we would have to add that such a theory requires a theater to exist, there is no theory outside the theater: actions exist as imagination.

73

Slavoj _i_ek, Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (London: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1992), 3. 74 Robert Stam, Film Theory: An Introduction. (Malden: Blackwell, 2000). 75 Paul Ricoeur, Imagination in discourse and action, in Robinson, and Rundell, 125.

57

2.2. Sade playing Kant Slavoj _i_eks project has been to question ethics in our era of global capitalism and its technological supplement, liberal-democratic multiculturalism, through a Lacanian perspective and following Jacques_Alain Millers teachings.76 One of the main interests of _i_ek has been to study the relations between Kant and Sade (or against.)77 _i_ek has pointed out that in the Dialectic of Enlightenment,78 Theodore W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer developed a parallelism between Sade and Kant79 before Lacans Kant avec Sade. In the Dialectic of Enlightenment Adorno and Horkheimer presented what they consider the greatest merit of Sade. The Marquis de Sade, in his writings, left out moralist feelings and accepted the complete consequence of the instrumental capitalist attitude.80 In front of the loss of the sacred and carnivalesque, what remained is the utilitarian, which Sade knew how to write it,81 and stage it.82

76 77

_i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 4. See Slavoj _i_ek, Kant with (or against) Sade, The _i_ek Reader, eds. Elizabeth Wright, and Edmond Wright (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999, 283. 78 Adorno Theodor, Horkheimer Max. Dialectic of Enlightment Trans. by Cumming John (London: Verso, 1989). 79 An interesting parallelism between Lacans approach and Hanna Arendt who published Eichman in Jerusalem the same year as Lacan and in which Thinkers from quite different fields, they each found themselves disturbed at precisely the same moment by the excess or perversion which Kants moral philosophy if it not exactly lend itself to, did not preclude. See Juliet Flower Maccannell, Fascism and the Voice of Conscience, in Radical Evil, ed. Joan Copjec (London: Verso, 1996), 55. 80 _i_ek, Kant with (or against) Sade, 283. 81 See Maurice Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation. Translated by Susan Hanson (Minneapolis: University of Minessota Press, 1993), 217-229.

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According to their point of view, Sade rejected the metaphysical moralist view, and realized the price one has to pay in front of the radical instrumentalization of the world,83 and specifically within sexual activity. From this perspective, it could be understood that Sade is a man of reason.84 On the other hand (and following _i_eks reading), Kant abolished the dependence of reason on a heteronymous content. Kant despised the false morality based on moral compassion or any other pathological feeling of satisfaction. Moreover, Kant arrived at the conclusion that it is necessary to do our duty only for duty itself. For Adorno and Horkheimer, what Sade presented in his work is the extreme of the Kantian thought. Even they affirmed that in Sade, it is possible to encounter the symptom of that sickness: the complete instrumentalization of the world by the logic of capital.85 The other and most well known perspective on Sade is perhaps that of Lacan. As _i_ek explains, Lacan developed a surprising analogy between the total exigencies of [the] enjoyments freedom in Sade by following the Universal Kantian law.86 Lacan pointed out the he wrote Kant avec Sade because they both play with the subject. The subject of thought, the subject of vertigo and the subject of enjoyment.87 The importance of Sade for Lacan is having made the comparison of the sadist act with enjoyment and also for having attempted to present, in a laughable way, the law, under the form of a universal rule that could very well applied to the articulations of

82

But also as Julia Kristeva has posited: Sade was the stage director for pain as the scene of unconsciousness and jouissance-spoken at last, possible after all. See Julia Kristeva, The Novel as Polylogue, in Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, ed. Leon S. Roudiez. Translated by Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine, and Leon S. Roudiez (Oxford: Blackwell, 1981), 184. 83 See Jrgen Habermas, Perfiles filosficos-polticos. Translated by Manuel Jimnez Redondo (Buenos Aires: Taurus, 2000). 84 _i_ek, Kant with (or against) Sade, 286. 85 _i_ek, Kant with (or against) Sade, 286. 86 _i_ek, Kant with (or against) Sade, 287. 87 Jacques Lacan, Seminario 14: La Lgica del Fantasma, in Seminarios (1995) [CD-ROM] (Buenos Aires: Escuela Freudiana de Buenos Aires).

59

Kant.88 The refuge of enjoyment is that part of the Sadean subject who cannot not realize as his own Dasein, and for Lacan, this is the key to the Sadean text.89 For Lacan what can be seen as the heroism of Sades project has to do with his impossible endeavor to confer upon the very field of enjoyment (of the fantasy structuring enjoyment) the bourgeois from the universal legality, of equivalent exchange, of the reciprocity of equal rights and suits.90 Sade includes the right to enjoyment to the list of the rights of man proclaimed by the French revolution as a scandalous supplement that would be able to subvert the universal field of rights in which it purports to place itself.91 But as Lacan demonstrated in Kant avec Sade, any attempt to give to the right to enjoyment the form of a universal norm in conformity with the categorical imperative necessarily ends in a deadlock. Such a Sadean norm would affirm that anybodyirrespective of his/ her sex, age, social status, etc.has a right to dispose freely of any part of my body in order to satisfy in any conceivable way his/her desires.92 For Lacan, according to _i_ek, the sadist is some kind of parasite looking for the corroboration of his being. Through his or her suffering, the victim confirms him/herself as a resisting solid substance that is, the live flesh into which the sadists authenticates the fullness of being, in the Lacanian perspective.93 However, just as it was necessary to make up a difference between Saramago the novelist and Saramago's character as two different realms where the ethical does or does not appear, also is important to differentiate Sades literary world from Sade the producer of sadistic acts. Sade the writer, as _i_ek has pointed out, was thus actually the victim of endless harassment of different state agencies that lived out their moralistic sadism:

88 89

Lacan, Seminario 14: La Lgica del Fantasma, in Seminarios, 14:11. Lacan, Seminario 14: La Lgica del Fantasma, in Seminarios, 14:11. 90 _i_ek, Looking Awry, 167. 91 _i_ek, Looking Awry, 167. 92 _i_ek, Looking Awry, 167-168. 93 _i_ek, His bold gaze my ruin is writ large, in Everything you always, 220.

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the real Will-to-Enjoy was already at work in the state-bureaucratic apparatus that handled the subject.94 Returning to the relation between Kant and Sade, _i_ek has argued that in a first reading of Kant avec Sade we could arrive at the conclusion that the truth of the ethical strictness is the Sadism of the law, where the Kantian law is an agent of the Freudian super ego that sadistically enjoys the blocking of the subject. Nevertheless, what Lacan wants to say is very different: it is not Kant who was in the closet as a sadist; it is Sade who was in the closet as a Kantian.95 From this perspective, to see that Sade is a Kantian, allows us to understand why the emancipatory project of Sade was not possible and was considered a laughable attempt by Lacan. Sade's project also can be understood as the inherent transgression of the Kantian fantasy.96 A fantasy for _i_ek has some specific characteristics: 1. 2. A fantasy functions similar to the Kantian transcendental schematism. A fantasy constitutes our desire, provides its co-ordinates; that is, it literally: teach us how to desire. 3. A fantasy is intersubjective. 4. A fantasy has the primordial form of a narrative. 5. A fantasy stages the very act of installation of the Law.

6. A fantasy always in the narrative includes an impossible gaze (the gaze by means of which the subject is already present at the act of his/her own conception).97 7. A fantasy is based on empty symbolic gestures as forced choices that appear as free choices.98

94 95

_i_ek, His bold gaze my ruin is writ large, 221-222. _i_ek, Kant with (or against) Sade, 288. 96 See Chapter 1 in Slavoj _i_ek, The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime On David Lynchs Lost Highway (Seattle: University of Washington, 2000). 97 _i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies, 16. 98 _i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies, 28.

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For _i_ek in order for a fantasy to be operative, has to remain implicit and it has to maintain a distance towards the explicit symbolic texture sustained by it.99 Taking in account this approach, perversions are the inherent transgressions par excellence as in Sades writings.100 For this reasons, they are false subversions. They do not subvert authority, because authority actually it is used by perversions as a way of obtaining pleasure. For _i_ek, following Lacans reading, Sade, by perverting Kant, did not subvert it, but rather it installed its coordinates in the scene of desire. The elementary formula of Sadean perversion, as formulated by Lacan in Kant with Sade, is that the Sadean subject tries to elude his constitutive division with the object by occupying the position of the object, instrument of the will-to-enjoy which at the end is not his own will, but the will of the big Other, who assumes the form of the Supreme Evil Being.101 Lacan, argues, however, that it is the sadist himself who is in the position of the object-instrument, the executor of some radically heterogeneous will, while the split subject is precisely his other (the victim). The pervert does not pursue his activity for his own pleasure, but for the enjoyment of the Other,he finds enjoyment precisely in the instrumentalization, in working for the enjoyment of the Other.102 The concept of perversion according to Lacan is a complicated one, quite different of that posited by Freud as the negative of neurosis.103 For Lacan what can be revealed by the analytic experience is that, even a perversion is as a subversion of the lawin fact, what of holds that lawand where desire would be presented as that which makes the law.104 Perversion is an experience that permits us to deepen in the human passion, using the Spinoza expression,105 that is, it is open to the division that structures the imaginary and it is where the human desire is exposed to the desire of the other.

99

_i_ek, The Plague of Fantasies, 21. _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 248. 101 _i_ek, Looking Awry, 108. 102 _i_ek, Looking Awry, 109. 103 See Sigmund Freud, vol. 7 of Obras Completas, ed. James Strachey and Anna Freud. Translated by Jos L. Etcheverry (Buenos Aires: Amorrortu Editores, 1985). 104 _i_ek, Ticklish Subject, 250. 105 Lacan, Seminario 1: Los Escritos Tcnicos de Freud, in Seminarios, 1:18.
100

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If something can be known of a perversion it is that, it appears from the outside as a satisfaction without defense and as an exercise of the law that suspends itself on the way to enjoyment.106 Perversion is the privilege of an existential possibility, an internal tearing, through which the symbolic world can penetrate107 because perversions are accidents in the evolution of the drive.108 There is not human activity in which perversions are not included. The phantom of perversion is in space, it is outside of time, but is not atemporal.109 It is, in its general form, what in the human being resists against all normalization.110 Perversions for Lacan are the essence of humankind.111

2.3 The comic ethic of psychoanalysis However, Sade does something else in perverting Kant. It s another step that Lacan also recognized in a different moment, less famous and more transient than that of his Kant avec Sade. It was in the seminar of December 21st of 1960,112 when Lacan, almost as a joke, made a peculiar comparison between Plato and Sade. It was precisely after speaking about Socrates that Lacan made his point. For Lacan it was a way of establishing the difference between Plato and Socrates. To Plato, no god has spoken to him like his master, Lacan explained. Plato was a maitre. A real maitre. A maitre in front of the city as it was decomposing taken down by the democratic aims, and on the verge of the great imperial confluences. In addition, at that moment

106 107

Lacan, Seminario 10: La Angustia, Seminarios, 10:12. Lacan, Seminario 1: Los Escritos Tcnicos de Freud, in Seminarios, 1-17. 108 Lacan, Seminario 4: La Relacin de Objeto, in Seminarios, 4:7. 109 Lacan, Seminario 6: El Deseo y su Interpretacin,in Seminarios, 6:17. 110 Lacan, Seminario 6: El Deseo y su Interpretacin,in Seminarios, 6-27 111 Lacan, Seminario 23: El Snthoma, in Seminarios, 23:11. 112 Lacan, Seminario 8: La Transferencia, in Seminarios, 8:6.

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when the comparison between Socrates and Plato was established, Lacan briefly presented another comparison: Plato is some kind of Sade, but more comic. It would be tempting to make the complete comparison: if Plato is some kind of Sade, then most definitely Socrates would be some kind of Kant. However, Lacan does not move towards that direction. He is interested principally in the innocence of Plato, in his hope that was also shared by those first philosophers called physicians of encountering under the guarantee of discourse113that is, given the instrumentalization of their experiencethe ultimate apprehension of the real.114 What Plato saw on the horizon, according to Lacan, was a communitarian city as implausible in his eyes as it is now in ours. If someone wants to read Plato in our times, then it must be read as if he would be a dandy. Because as Lacan explained it during his seminar: Platos writings were written for the exterior. As Lacan would outlined it: His writings were thrown to the dogs, that we are, the good menus and the bad pieces of a humor sometimes horrendous, but that has been understood wrongly especially because of Christian desire.115 For example, in The Banquet,116 explained Lacan, all those different stories of love were pieces of buffoonery. A great error would be to look in these texts for the sense of an effusion of love in the Christian sense of the term. In addition, as Lacan showed it, one would not have to search outside of that text to get convinced. One can find a reason for authorizing this view in The Banquet itself, because the only character, who speaks adequately of love, is a clown.117 For Plato, Aristophanes was a comic poet, a clown, and this can be proved in any of his comedies, so full are they of obscenities, and ridicule situations, as Lacan repeatedly underscores.

113

See Cornelius Castoriadis, Figuras de lo Pensable. Translated by Jacques Algasi (Mxico: Fondo de Cultura Econmica, 2001). 114 Lacan, Seminario 8: La Transferencia, in Seminarios, 8:6. 115 Slavoj _i_ek, The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? (London: Verso, 2001). 116 Plato, The Symposium. Translated by Christopher Gill (New York, Penguin, 1999). 117 Lacan, Seminario 8: La Transferencia, in Seminarios, 8:6.

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Aristophanes used to tell stories that made people laugh and that somehow were and still are ridiculous for us. However, as Lacan observes, Aristophanes never takes love so seriously, or even tragically: We are the ones who see it as this kind of love. And even Aristophanes, when speaking of love does so by including some laughable beings as his characters. Lacan even compares Aristophanes tale to the circus. According to his reading, what Aristophanes reminded us of, is something that could be seen in a circus. It is like when the clowns enter at the circus stage hugging each other, coupled belly to belly and chest to chest as if they were one being of four hands and two heads running around. For Lacan, these clowns are similar to those beings made up by Aristophanes, with their spherical structure and with an interior that has everything they need. Nevertheless, what Lacan wanted to show in his seminar is that this laughable situation in the Aristophanes tale, with these sorts of beings, is something very peculiar. And what is so ridiculous and peculiar is nothing else but the dynamic of transference. For Lacan, what was so laughable is the love of transference. However, could we then compare this laughable form of love, this ridiculousness, with the laughable attempt to present the law under the form of a universal rule that could easily be coherent with the articulations of Kant? The answer might be positive but only that instead of imagining jokes performed through the figure of fused clowns in a circus show, we would have to compare them with the pieces of buffoonery proffered on a night club stage by pornographic actors during a live sex show. Another formation of circular ridiculous beings mixed between each other, appearing to be spherical and made of four legs and six arms. From this perspective with his Kant avec Sade, but especially with the brief apparition of his Plato avec Sade, what Lacan has shown is that at the end of the day

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the pornography of the Kantian ethics is taking in account of Deleuze and Guattaris sentence that the Law can only be read in and as a pornographic book.118 Lacan ended his seminar of 1960 by making a final allusion to the discourse of Aristophanes in which Plato makes a direct reference to the Phallus and the genital organs in a laughable way. Lacan signaled this and finished his seminar, after having presented to his audience a Plato that was a kind of Sade and at the meantime a Plato, that made a clown, speak of love, the phallus and the comedy of castration.119 In this sense we can conclude stating that like a clown who unveils the structure of transference, equally this other buffoon or clown, that is Sade, unveiled the pornography of the categorical imperative which is the basis of the tragic ethic of psychoanalysis that Lacan developed in Kant with Sade. However, this also set forth that ethics of psychoanalysis are not only tragic as Lacan declared it,120 but also comic. Lacan show us that it is worth to recall the demarcation line in relation of what has been for the psychoanalysis the ethical question, which is something that also implies an essential philosophic articulation. Kant set forth a topological limit, according to Lacan, that distinguishes the moral phenomenon from the ethical one. For Lacan, the first requisite of the ethical is that we, somehow, would not be interested in it. This is because the testimony of duty imposes the necessity of a practical reason: it is a you must unconditionally and that according to Lacan, the analysts can recognize ethics as founded in the place of desire. Lacan even remind us, that this you must, can easily be substituted by the Sadean phantasm of the enjoyment erected as an imperative, by a pure phantom almost laughable that does not exclude the possibility of erecting itself as a universal law. Nevertheless, it is interesting how in the Sadean literary works, the characters never are quite dead, they actually become dead while alive and what Sade present to us
118

For an exposition on the Law as a pornographic book see Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, Kafka, por una literatura menor. Translated by Jorge Aguilar (Mxico: Ediciones Era, 1978). 119 See Julia Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991). 120 Lacan, Seminario 7: La Etica del Psicoanlisis, in Seminarios, 7:24.

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is the pain,121 the pain of the other, but also the pain of the subject, because in this case, they are the same. We cannot bear extreme pleasure, as long as it consists in forcing our access to das Ding. And this is what creates the laughable side, the maniac side, as Lacan presented it. This is what explodes in front of our eyes in the literary constructions of Sade. To each point, it manifests itself the malaise of the living construction. But then, could we think that in substituting the Sadean phantom of the enjoyment in an imperative, almost laughable, some light could be shed on the origin of the Kantian imperative categorical imperative as a theater constructed by Kant avec Sade?

2.4 Ethicopathology Freud, in the prologue of what was called later on Totem and Taboo122 referred to the categorical imperative, while making his study of concordances between the animic life of the savages and the neurotic. During his investigation of the totem, he outlined that the taboo continues to exist in the world, although in a negative version and directed to different contents, because the taboo is nothing other than the Kantian categorical imperative. This taboo attempts to reign in the individual in a compulsive manner and disauthorize any conscious movement. Freud arrived at the conclusion that perhaps the taboo of the savage groups in Polynesia is something that it is not as remote for us as it could be supposed at a first
121 122

Lacan, Seminario 7: La Etica del Psicoanlisis, in Seminarios, 7:6. See Sigmund Freud, Ttem y Tab, vol. 13 of Obras Completas, ed. James Strachey and Anna Freud. Translated by Jos L. Etcheverry (Buenos Aires: Amorrortu Editores, 1985).

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sight.123 This is because the prohibitions that are obeyed in the western world are established by the morals and the traditions, yet they possibly have a relation to the primitive taboo. So, for Freud, if someone was able to unveil the taboo, perhaps some light could be shed over the dark origin of our own categorical imperative.124 Then, what Freud showed is, evidently more than shedding this light. He established that there is a Kantian (and Sadean)125 mode of understanding: a paradigmatic structure. But a paradigmatic structure that can be theatralized in the Freudian consulting room in the drama of the primal scene of the Oedipus complex. That is, this mode of understanding is constructed by psychoanalysis taking as a mythic origin the totem and taboo of a primal imagined scene. From this point of view, it could be said, that there is a mise en scene of a dark origin in which the categorical imperative is naturalized and taken as if always have been there. By stating this, it is clear that we are not trying to declare that the Sadean oeuvre is bringing forward the Freudian works, not even as a catalog of perversions.126 However, what we can say is that while Sade expanded in a laughable way the Kantian ethic, while unveiling it as a perverse theater, Freud inherited as a given (without Sade) revealing it as a natural ethical theater. From this perspective and as Deleuze and Guattari have outlined, the great discovery of psychoanalysis was the desire for production: the unconscious through its desire is productive. Nevertheless, with Oedipus, his discovery was covered over rapidly by a new idealism, the unconscious as an antique theater substituted for the

123

For a questioning of Freuds approach see Jean_Franois Lyotard, Economa libidinal. Translated by Toms Mercado (Mxico: Fondo de Cultura Econmica, 1990). 124 Freud, Ttem y Tab, 33. 125 For an study between the relation between Freuds staging of sadism in comparison to Bataille approach to Sade see Denis Hollier, Absent without leave: French Literature under the Threat of War. Translated by Catherine Porter (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 86. Whereas Freud generates sadism as a stage in process of sexualization, Bataille describes the desexualization of sadism. Freud takes the instinct to master as his starting point, while for Bataille the same instinct is the end result of the process he is depicting. 126 See Jacques Lacan, Kant avec Sade, in crits (Pars: ditions de Seuil, 1966).

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factory. The unities of production were substituted by an unconscious that could only be presented as myth, tragedy, and dream.127 Sade pulled the curtains from the theater and fantasized over it, unveiling a perverse aesthetic of the Kantian ethic. Sade prompted much thought through the presentation of his imagination which, as Kant himself would have put it, had no determinate thought whatsoever, i.e. about which no concept can be adequate. We can deduce this because of the following argument. A concept is provided with [unterlegen] a presentation by the imagination such that, even though this presentation belongs to the exhibition of the concept, yet it prompts, even by itself, so much thought that it can never be comprehended within a determinate concept. Thereby the presentation aesthetically expands the concept itself in a unlimited way, then the imagination becomes creative in this and sets the power of intellectual ideas (i.e. reason) in motion: it makes reason think more.128 Sade demonstrated through a Kantization of the universe as Kafka Oedipized the universe according to the readings of Deleuze and Guattari. Kafka developed this Oedipization by blaming his father (and the universe) and declaring his innocence (thus the innocence of the universe) at the same time, but mainly by amplifying the photograph of his father to the point of absurdity and projecting it over the geographical, the historical and political map again to the point of turning the universe oedipically laughable and at the same time eliminating the personal particularities of it, that is, Oedipizing the universe.129 In this sense, Sade makes Kant absurd in the geographical map of the desire without limits; he explodes it in the inhuman to the point of establishing a dramaturgy, a theatricality from where Kant could be (un)thought.

127

Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, El Anti-Edipo: Capitalismo y Esquizofrenia. Translated by Francisco Monge (Barcelona: Paids, 1985), 31. 128 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Norman Kemp Smith (London: Macmillan, 1990). 129 Deleuze, and Guattari, Kafka, 20.

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Here instead of speaking of the psychosomatic we ought to be speaking of the epistemosomatic, to use the term that Lacan once used, according to Jacques Allan Miller. Because it was not about the impact of the psychic in the somatic, but the impact of knowledge in the somatic, of unconscious knowledge. In this sense, Sade developed an epistemosomatic of Kant. In addition, we could also say that Sade in respect to Kant does not operate within the psychopathologic but the ethicopathologic.130 The word perversion is the point where clearly psychopathology coincides with the ethics. The word perversion has a connotation of pathology of the ethic, a perversion of the ethic sense itself as Allan Miller has presented it.131 Here becomes interesting that other Immanuel Kant of Thomas Bernhardts drama.132 An imaginary Kant that travels to America to get a prize and while traveling in a cruise ship across the transatlantic discovers in a parrot the real philosophy. This parrot did not stop saying during the journey something that nobody understood except Bernhardts Kant, which was: Get out of here! You are in jail! This is the jail of the practical reason!

130

Jacques_Alain Miller, Lgicas de la Vida Amorosa. Translated by Graciela Brodsky (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Manantial, 1991). 131 Miller, Lgicas de la Vida Amorosa, 67. 132 Thomas Bernhard, Immanuel Kant: El viaje de Kant a Amrica o Papagayo en alta mar. Translated by Miguel Saenz (Madrid: Centro Drmatico Nacional, 1991). For further information on Bernhards dramas see Thomas Bernhard, Histrionics: Three Plays. Translated by Peter Jansen and Kenneth Northcott (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990).

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3.THE PERFORMANCE OF PRESENCE

3.1. Nietzsche's acting out The interminable end of Friedrich Nietzsche remains to this day somewhat of a philosophical event. To the extent that Nietzsches death in a sense preceded his deathhe was no longer among the living prior to the finality of deathreading the expiration of the great thinker still poses a dilemma and asks for further reflection. As we know from the many photographs, letters and documents surrounding Nietzsches demise, Nietzsche, even in his darkest and most solitary moments, was radically exposed to the end, as if he were still performing a silent supplement to his philosophical writings.1 Unlike any philosopher before him, Nietzsche put his body on the line and made it a crucial part of the elaboration of his thought. Whether he was prescribing diets or exercise, conducting walks, or dancing or slumping, he broke decisively with philosophys habit of suppressing the material body in favor of spiritual or transcendental goals. His body did not abandon him the way his mind did, and he cannot be said simply to have disappeared.2 Even his death was a double affirmation of sorts, and continues to invite interpretive intervention. The appropriation of the death(s) of Nietzsche is as multifaceted and contradictory as some of his most poignant insights. Much like the death of Christ, his expiration is on a recurrent scheduleas an event that would be clocked by his own thought, that of the eternal return, where the last philosophers death keeps on recurring. Nietzsches death has been thought from many diverse perspectives and approaches. It has been considered a point of transition, a prophecy, a revenge, a resurrection and a drama among many other interpretations, speculations and

See Avital Ronell, Finitudes Score: Essays for the End of the Millennium (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994). 2 Diego Snchez Meca, En Torno al Superhombre: Nietzsche y la Crisis de la Modernidad (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1989).

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literary interventions.3 However, many scholars have agreed that Nietzsches death has staged the encounter between his philosophy and his body. It bore an incarnation of the names he wrote about, as Peter Sloterdijk has outlined. For Sloterdijk as for a number of others, Nietzsche was the thinker par excellence of the incarnation.4 Moreover, in his last years he was the thinker on the stage, as an actor in a drama of madness. At that time he had only one aim: the demolition of the stage, the act of abandonment of any attempt of incarnationor the last corporization, that of god.5 Actors invent themselves, and I love being close to them, because I get cured form melancholy, says Zarathustra.6 For Sloterdijk this utterance relates remarkably with Nietzsches philosophic work in general, thematizing the invention of the self and the invention of truth as art. For Sloterdijk, although the last years were not the sought after stage entrance for Nietzsche, nevertheless his entire work, and approach to philosophy is in fact a theatrical one. This perspective is not altogether new with Sloterdijk, yet he gives it very sharp contours. Others have tied Nietzsche to the stage in a number of compelling ways as well. One might consider in this context how Jean_Louis Barrault wrote that Nietzschean Psychology could be regarded a dramatization method.7 However, what Peter Sloterdijk has been interested is in Nietzsches theater of truth. His work explores the masks put forward in the Nietzscehan text.8 It is important to remember that even Burckhardt, Nietzsches friend, suggests a dramatic reading of Zarathustra.9 Sloterdijk, for his part, seems to follow that thread and connect it to the reflections of other serious commentators. Indeed, this view is
3

See Jrgen Habermas, Sobre Nietzsche y otros ensayos. Translated by Manuel Jimnez Redondo (Mxico, Red Editorial Iberoamericana, 1993). 4 Peter Sloterdijk, El Pensador en Escena: El materialismo de Nietzsche. Translated by Germn Cano (Valencia: Pre-Textos, 2000), 143. 5 Sloterdijk, 144. 6 Friederich Nietzsche, Thus Spoken Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1956). 7 See Edgar Ceballos, ed., Principios de Direccin Escnica (Mxico: Editorial Gaceta, 1992). 8 Introduccin in Sloterdijk, El Pensador en Escena. 9 Sloterdijk, 42.

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not so different from that of Deleuze, who even states that Zarathustra can be compared to a modern opera and should be read that way.10 However, according to Deleuze, it is not that Nietzsche produced only a philosophical opera or a piece of allegorical theater. Nietzsche created a piece of theater or an opera which directly expresses thought as an experience and movement.11 Thought is choreographed as a producer of movements, and evokes bursts of extraordinary speed and slowness. It resembles some kind of projectile-like movement. Nietzsche developed a new relation of philosophy with the arts of movement. For Deleuze, Nietzsches writings sometimes even seems to be notes from a stage director who indicates how the Overman should be played or whom this figure should resemble. Showing a marked affinity to this approach, Jean_Luc Nancy reflects on the significance of Nietzsches death. Nancy focuses on the paralysis of Nietzsche, when he was diagnosed with paralysis progressiva.12 His last eleven years of life, for Nancy, were above all a presentation.13 The great philosopher was in the end paralyzed with his face transformed in a mask. With his body enacting the figure of god. This viewpoint itself had many lives: it was first elaborated by Nancy in his text Dei paralysis progressiva that appeared first in English, in a special number of the Stanford Italian Review14 called Nietzsche in Italy. A second version of the text appeared in French in Nancys Une pense finie.15 And a third version in Spanish for the Journal Archipilago,16 as if it was necessary to return, and change every time what a theater of death can offer up to infinite interpretation. These different versions, as the author has outlined, are an attempt for establishing how Nietzsche belongs to
10

Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson (London: The Athlone Press, 1983), xiii. 11 Deleuze, xiii. 12 See Jean_Luc Nancy, The Birth to Presence, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Brian Holmes, et al. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993). 13 Nancy, 48. 14 Jean_Luc Nancy, Dei paralysis progressiva. Translated by Jess S. Villasol. Archipielago no. 40: Nietzsche entre dos milenios. (2000), 32. 15 See Jean_Luc Nancy, Une pensee finie (Galillee, 1992). 16 Nancy, Dei paralysis progressiva, 32.

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something that Nancy called an autodestruction of monotheism that we are far from having ended. 17 It is interesting also to point out that Nancy, at least in the third version of his text, states that Nietzsche has not only the posture and figure of god that appears under his mask and attitude, but actually it is theater itself. What this means is that, for Nancy, Nietzsche paralyzed is the theater and the stage.18 His body enacts the death of god, and for that purpose he is to be understood as posing in the last theater, because there has never been a theater without gods.19 Nevertheless, what is important to remark is also that god died by the death of Nietzsche. The god that dies in Nietzsche is a resuscitated one. But now he appears paralyzed, mad, alienated, so congealed in the anticipated posture of deathpreceding death itself, death not ceasing to precede itselfthat he could never resuscitate again.20 And for this god, death became his very being.21 Nietzsche enacts the death of god, but in his own deathsomething that only can be shown as a theater. A particular kind of theater is convoked: that of an agon. A theater of the agonist, reminiscent of the agonist celebrations, as a continuation of the orgiastic Dionysian celebrations.22 The enactment requires a theater that it is the last theater, and at the same time is not an actual theater in the conventional aesthetic way. It is an act that takes place (to the extent that it has a place) between masks, between plotsan act offered for contemplation. What is offered to contemplation is the image of a god that is resurrected a final time with Nietzsche, with the parody and dazzling uttering of the inevitable I am god of self-consciousness. I am Dionysus, the Crucified, and all gods. This marks the emergence of a god that gambles his own resurrection in the madness of Nietzsche. It is a combination of Hlderlins madness with that of Hegel:
17 18

Nancy, Dei paralysis progressiva, 32. Nancy, Dei paralysis progressiva, 32. 19 Nancy, Dei paralysis progressiva, 32. 20 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 48-49. 21 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 49. 22 See Appendix A.

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the madness of derangement in an exhausted calling to the gods, and the madness or the night of consciousness that knows the Self as negated.23 However, it is and remains also a theatrical act. Nietzsches death is an enactment that discourse could not state. It had to be presented as a happening that offered itself to the apprehensible. It is not only a madness of drama as Sloterdijk posited, but also the madness of drama as the incarnation of god, the last god mad. And as Nancy puts it: His madness is both what arises at the furthest extreme of the cogito: the ego sum uttered in the negation of its own substanceand what is set off, mechanically, in the infinite reciting of the extreme edge of language, that is to say in the impossible naming of all divine Names, which are lacking, god has become the twofold madness of the absolute subject of utterance (lenonciation) and of the infinite number of subjects of the uttered (lenonc) in our logos. [] The madness of god is not a new death. The mad god can no longer either die or rise again. He no longer has any freedom. He is fixed, frozen, in his madness, in the absolute logic of a being identical to its own utterance, in the implacable automatism of the subject who is himself his own acting out.

23

Deleuze, 151.

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3.2. The picture of theater Deleuze has emphasized that Nietzsches phrase God is dead is not a speculative proposition but a dramatic proposition, the dramatic proposition par excellence.24 A dramatic proposition, therefore, a proposition that is pluralist, typological, and differential. When a god dies in a drama, then, it is not only one god but also many gods who die, in different shapes and figures. The dramatic announcement of the death of god is a dying that occurs in many kinds of ways.25 Here it is interesting to point out the importance of Deleuzes remark. Because through dramatization the speculative (in the Hegelian sense26) loses its relevance, and the impossible in discourse becomes possible in drama. The demonstration of an impossibility on stage is possible only in its staging. An impossibility becomes possible by the theatrical act but only as far as the spectator, in an active role, becomes an accomplice that already knows and accepts its impossibility as a possibility as part of the spectator's willing suspension of disbelief. The only condition of giving something crucial on stage is its presence. What is given resembles the predicament of giving in a Derridean sensea thought that in Derrida culminates with his Gift of Death.27 Really to give something, it is necessary not to know that it has been given. If it is known then it belongs to another drama, a libidinal drama, a sacrificial drama or a capitalistic drama, in which the given is inscribed as an exchange. In order for the gift to be what it is, it needs to break the economy of exchange and risk not being perceived. However, if somebody gives in order to introduce an economy of exchange, then what is given cannot be considered as given as a gift, but it becomes an action made for the purpose of receiving something in return. To give something in order to
24 25

Deleuze, 152. Deleuze, 152. 26 See Jean_Luc Nancy, The Speculative Remark (One of Hegels Bons Mots). Translated by Cline Surprenant (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001). 27 See Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death. Translated by David Wills (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

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receive sympathy, recognition, moral value or the entrance to heaven, is not to give in the Derridean sense. One only gives what one does not know is being given or what someone does not have, as for Lacan occurs in love (one gives stubbornly what does not have).28 Nevertheless, from this perspective what Derrida is showing us through a literary text, by attempting to inscribe it in a book (within the fiction of Baudelaires work),29 is one rendition of possibility as impossibility. For Derrida to give involves the possibility of an impossibility because although to give is possible, it is only possible in the end as an impossible. He is trying to give an account of something that cannot occur as a possibility. In his argument, if it is a possibility then it is not a gift or a given. This brings us to the gift of death that was Nietzsches gift: we can say that in theater, or the Nietzschean theater, we are shown impossibility staged as the possible. The death of god reaches into Nietzsches death while remaining theater. However, this remaining a theater is not a theater, or not only a theater, but also opens up into its bare thingliness and embraces, perhaps surprisingly, its technological base. Nietzsche in the end was given over to the technology of photography30that other death machine, according to Walter Benjamin,31 Roland Barthes,32 and so many others. His final years were spent archivizing his image not only as an art, but mainly, as the death that can be filtered by a technology of seeing.33 To the stagings of the Nietzschean stupor we owe even our memory of his famous moustache.

28

See Jacques Derrida, Dar la muerte. Translated by Cristina de Peretti and Paco Vidarte (Barcelona: Paids, 2000). 29 See Jacques Derrida, Dar (el) tiempo I. La moneda falsa. Translated by Cristina de Peretti (Barcelona: Paids, 1995). 30 See the famous Peitsche-Foto, discussed in Ronell, Finitudes Score, 86. 31 See Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt. Translated by Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1969). 32 See Roland Barthes, La cmara lcida. Translated by Joaquim Sala-Sanahuja (Buenos Aires: Paids, 1990), and Roland Barthes, Lesson in Writing, in Barthes: Selected Writings, ed. Susan Sontag (Oxford: Fontana Collins, 1983). 33 Avital Ronell, and Ulrich Baer, Hungry Eye: The Photograph of Suzanne Doppelt, Art Forum no. 9 (2002): 170-173.

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All of these themes have something in common: they are committed to the problem of showing that which resists presentation. Something essentially remains concealed even as it is brought into production. A showing occurs but without a recognizable content or material referent. Art meets its limits to the extent that it is involved in rendering present the very thing that refuses presence. And even though nothing as such can be pointed to, we are somehow located in the realm of the visual. A visual technology of something that can neither be seen anymore, but only can be pictured by Nietzsches letter to Gast and Burckardt. The investment in developing an ungraspable film has been multiplied in significant ways. That is, Deleuze, Sloterdijk and Nancy as well as many others, have played the role of metteurs en scene or film directors of an unrealized theater. No doubt somebody will be tempted to stage the descriptions of Nancys heart implant as part of a re-suscitation of the multiple. But returning to Nietzsche, its theater as could be pictured here, it is not a theater of truth. It is not truth that can be seen as a theater. Truth is a movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred and embellished as Nietzsche presented it.34 What Nietzsches death shows is the truth that only a theater can show, even if it succeeds in showing the failure of its own project. Though truth in Nietzsche is rhetorically tied down, in one respect its presencing recalls Heideggers reflections. There is namely a truth that only the work of art evidences. That is, it emerges as the self-evidently thingly element in the work of art.35 According to Martin Heidegger, the nature of art is the truth of beings setting itself to work.36 Significantly, art does not have to do with beauty or the beautiful but

34

Martin Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche: God Is Dead, in The Questions Concerning Technology and Other Essays. Translated by William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1977), 56. 35 Heidegger, 81. 36 Heidegger, 88.

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with truth. It is no longer subservient to traditional aesthetic claims and disclaimers. Art is armed with the disruptive powers of truth rather than the tranquilizing promise of beauty. It goes to places that have been hidden from view. But Heidegger is no mere metaphysician who believes truth to reveal itself as presence. Thus the truth, in Heidegger, is what in its nature is un-truth. However, not because truth is at bottom falsehood.37 The truth is the conflict between what the work of art conceals as unconcealedness. It is related to what puts forward and withdraws. That is, in Heideggerian terms, it belongs to the conflict between the setting up of a world of the work of art and the setting forth of the earth.38 For Heidegger, the work of art sets up a world, where a world is the nevernonobjective to which we are subject as long as the paths of birth and death, blessing and curse keep us transported into Being.39 Moreover, it at the same time sets-forth the earth where the earth is what sets itself back in the work of art. The earth is where historical man grounds his dwelling in the world.40 Arts importance is underscored in its capacity to prompt history and provide for dwelling. These portentous utterances have had many different resonances and cannot be elaborately delved into at this point. The implications of the trajectory that Heidegger sets up for art are in keeping with Nietzsches transvaluations, binding art to the most vital necessity and affirmation of life, which in Heidegger bears historical meaning. For him, the work of art occurs in the form of a double concealment, a denial, and a conflict that allows for presencing as truth. The truth that in its nature is untruth, that is, the nature of truth as unconcealedness.41 From this perspective, art is the setting-into-work of truth and that for Heidegger is exemplified in poetry.42 Poetry, then, can be considered the apotheosis of art to the extent that it is seen as being capable of Stiftung or instituting in the sense
37 38

Heidegger, 96. Heidegger, 92. 39 Heidegger, 90. 40 Heidegger, 91. 41 Heidegger, 92. 42 Heidegger, 99.

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that Hlderlin brought to light. For Heidegger, art lets truth originate43 and while one may no longer subscribe to the potential for truth that art unquestionably evinced in Heidegger, it would be important to situate the theatrical act close to his reflections. What in art lets truth originate is what the theatrical act struggles to delineate when it shows itself as a moment in the techn. Nietzsches protracted and double death can show the un-showable through the technology of the use of the theatrical act. The death of god in Nietzsche assumes the mask of Dionysus, staging without a stage the characters of truth in the sense elaborated by Heidegger. Dionysus is the conduit for the presencing without presence of a certain truth of art. His performance in Nietzsches demise was however signaled prior to the philosophers collapse, before his last years, as Peter Sloterdijk has argued. It was already operative in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, for example. As Deleuze points out, Zarathustra occupies a singular zone of performativity, blurring known genres, and challenging the limits of what can be presented, demonstrated or explicated. Thus, Zarathustra can be read as a fiction but it is not. It has been enacted but it is not reducible to a drama in any conventional sense. It can be read as a philosophy, but without a philosopher. The philosopher has been evacuated from his philosophy just as the stage has been removed from its role in supporting the drama. What kind of a philosopher signs with the name of Zarathustra? This name already bears a multiplicity of masks, including a Zarathustra that is not Zarathustra, the prophet, the historical one. In a sense, Zarathustra can be understood to reside between languages, masks, and theaters. What Zarathustra does was written, or rather signed, by Nietzsche, Antichrist, and Dionysus. Still, Nietzsches many signatures and do not include that of Zarathustra. The most abundant of his conceptual personaes, Zarathustra depends on repelling attributes much like he repels his

43

Heidegger, 100.

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disciples. As in the crucial passages of Beyond Good and Evil44 or The Gay Science,45 Zarathustra belongs to a movement in Nietzsche that produces negative inventories and studies the being of what is notnamely, those beings and attributes that fail to manifest. The withdrawal of essence, substance, and even manifestation in his work is what led Derrida to explore the transvaluations of woman in Nietzschethe being that refuses essence and plays with fiction, including especially the fiction of truth.46 We cannot get into a feminist deconstruction at this time, but it is important to note that the kind of withholding that is being traced here converges in the figure of woman, which is of course utterly overlooked by Heidegger. Nonetheless, overlooking is what she promotes. Her seduction, for Nietzsche read by Derrida, consists in showing that there is nothing to show, for bringing out truth in its abyssal groundlessness. Heidegger had to overlook her.47 The relation between truth and its groundlessness is not limited to the difficult emplacement of woman in Nietzsches workBeyond Good and Evil famously begins, Supposing truth to be a woman. Then what? Zarathustra and his animals are also convoked into this space: it is not that Zarathustra is a conceptual persona of Nietzsche in the sense of Deleuze and Guattari but bespeaks a philosophical need to show what discourse cannot present. And precisely when it is said that a phrase God is dead is not speculative but rather dramatic this is a way of trying to indicate that there is something that discourse is not able to apprehend, that it is not able to show. That is, it is the indication that there is a technology at play.

44

See Friederich Nietzsche, Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. Translated by R.J. Hollingdale (London: Penguin Books, 1990). 45 See Friederich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Translated by Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1967). 46 See Jacques Derrida, Dissemination. Translated by Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983). 47 See Avital Ronell, The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989).

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3.3. The production of the body For Camille Dumouli, Nietzsches euphoria at the end of his life marked the victory of Dionysus. An explosion of histrionism and the invasion of god,48 this victory of Dionysus, as Klossowski points out, involved for Nietzsche the renunciation of writing and substitution of discourse by gesture. However, what interests Dumouli most are the parallelisms between Nietzsche and Artaud, with the understanding that nevertheless Artaud was not Nietzsches son. The singular bond shared by Nietzsche and Artaud has been discussed by Derrida, along with a number of other commentators. For Dumouli, Nietzsche and Artaud became protagonists of their own theater of cruelty. As regards Artaud, he offered himself up as the scapegoat of the society of his time. Artaud also had his own last theater of gods death. He adopted his divine posture in many different ways and occasions and stated that the true name of god is Artaud.49 He also added Satan and Dionysus to the sacred list. Nietzsche and Artaud shared the realm of the cruel as an ethics. They conceived of an ethics of cruelty that is beyond what is good or bad. Such an ethics is shown in the cruelty as cruelty itself, but also as a will to power,50 as a pathos that belongs to the human in its inhuman excess.51 Dumouli is addressing Lacans Kant avec Sade in terms that delineate a direct relation between cruelty and ethics, beyond the psychological, pathologic, and moral. She gives focus to the responsibility taken for ones desire, and for interpreting the sense of cruelty52 in cruelty itselfin the innocence of cruelty.53 For Derrida, the theater of the cruelty expulsed god from the stage, but also expulsed theater subjugated to the power of speech and text.
48

Camille Dumouli, Nietzsche y Artaud: Por una tica de la crueldad. Translated by Stella Mastrngelo (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1996), 164. 49 Dumouli, 170. 50 Dumouli, 170. 51 See Maurice Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation. Translated by Susan Hanson (Minneapolis: University of Minessota Press, 1993). 52 Dumouli, 24. 53 Dumouli, 24

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Because the sense of cruelty is a rigorous necessity, it affirms the abandonment of and by representation, aesthetics, and metaphysics in an ethical approach. For Derrida, Artauds theater of the cruelty is not a call for destruction but is the production of an affirmation itself in its full and necessary rigor.54 The theater of cruelty provokes an affirmation of something that still has to be born. But, for this to happen [t]heatricality must traverse and restore existence and flesh in each of their aspects,55 because whatever can be said of the body can be said of the theater. In this sense, Western theater (and theater is a western concept) has been separated from its affirmative essence as well as the body. Theater underwent a dispossession and Artaud underwent the dispossession of his body or as he would put it, he underwent a kind of reeducation of the organs. This dispossession has to do with the attachment of theater and the body to representation. Derrida asserts that cruelty is always at work; its theater, however, has not yet begun to exist. One reason for this is that the theater of cruelty resists representation. It has little to do with the representation of the body or the representation of life. It is life itself, in the sense that life is unrepresentable.56 Artaud, as well as Nietzsche, wants to have done away with the imitative concept of art, with the Aristotelian aesthetics and with the metaphysics of Western art.57 According to Nancy, cruelty can be seen as the birth of the presence of the body but not in terms of the represented body; it belongs to the tradition of no body. Nor is it linked to the ineffable body,58 because the idea of the ineffable always serves the cause of a higher entity, as Nancy continues.59 The ineffable body is a treasury of sense to which only those united with god have access. However, since

54

Jacques Derrida, Writing and difference. Translated by Alain Bass (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978), 232. 55 Derrida, Writing and difference, 232. 56 Derrida, Writing and difference, 234. 57 Derrida, Writing and difference, 235. 58 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 190. 59 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 190.

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god is dead (in Nietzsches death, in Artauds death), then god no longer has a body, and, consequently, the representation of any body has been lost. Because in truth the body of god was the body of man himself, it is his resemblance.60 The loss is considerable, for as Nancy has argued, with the death of god, we have lost his glorious body, this sublime body this real symbol of his sovereign majesty, this microcosm of his immense work and finally the visibility of the invisible, this mimesis of the inimitable.61 What remains, however, of this glorious body? Perhaps only bodies themselves and a discourse dividing them. The body is simply there henceforth, fundamentally unknowable.62 The body is thus given and in some way abandoned. Without any presupposition, it is simply posited. Weighted, weighty, as Nancy puts it. The body as the experience of its own weight, exposing itself and being exposed,63 touched and touching. That is, the body, no longer transcendentally supported or exalted is seen as: [A]n ectopic topography, serial somatography, local geography. Stains, nails, hairs, spurts, cheeks, sides, bones, wrinkles, creases, hips, throats. The parts of the corpus do not combine over the whole, can spread out over it, can become it. A whole- that never takes placethere is no whole. No totality of the bodybut its absolute separation and sharing out. There is no such thing as the body. There is no body. Instead, there are patient and fervent recitation of numerous corpuses. Ribs, skulls, pelvises, irritations, shells, diamonds, drops, foams, mosses, excavations, fingernail moons, minerals, acids, feathers, thoughts, claws, slates, pollens, sweat, shoulders, domes, suns, anuses, eyelashes, dribbles, liqueurs, slits, blocks, slicing, squeezing, removing, bellowing, smashing, burrowing, spoiling, piling up, sliding, exhaling, leaving, flowing.64 The conglomeration of body parts spin out of the event of Nietzsches death, where we find the enactment of the last bodythe enactment of the body of a mad god that it is about to die. It was a mad god, already dead in its dis-appearance. It was

60 61

Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 191. In Ronell, Finitudes Score, 187. 62 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 199. 63 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 205. 64 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 207.

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the ultimate theater producing the body, which philosophy suppressed.65 In philosophy the body that was traditionally propped up in order to be discarded long ago stopped being the body in Nancys sense. Then we also should consider the mad body in the abandoning act, the sick body. Alternatively, Avital Ronell had said it is a body in a kind of frenzied state of belated compensatory awakening, demanding a reading or at least occasional interpretative and diagnostic strategies, from everyone and everywhere, that often culminates in an excess of discourse.66 The mad body of the dead god and the sick body of Nietzsche expulsed from discourse or in the excess of discourse are paralyzed because of the unbearableness of been thrown. It is a throwness from nowhere and to anywhere, thrown as a mad god. In Artaud, this mad body would be the body without organs, a set of practices, a radiophonic, biological and political experimentation.67 The mad body declares war on the organs To be done with the judgment of god. Nevertheless, is this another mask of god? Not in another resurrection, but in the same last theater as in Nietzsches one? Is this a new or the same character of the last theater? As Deleuze and Guattari had explained, the body without organs is not god, is not god anymore, not even dead.68 But still is divine energy what runs in it when it attracts the production of desire and serves as an enchanted and miraculous surface?69 From this perspective, Deleuze and Guattari wrote on the strange relations that Schreber maintained with god.70 They described the agents of production situated over the body, as the rays that are being attracted by him and that contain thousands of

65 66

Ronell, Finitudes Score, 186. Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 186. 67 Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi (London: The Athlone Press, 1988), 150. 68 Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari, El Anti-Edipo: Capitalismo y Esquizofrenia. Translated by Francisco Monge (Barcelona: Paids, 1985), 150. 69 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 21. 70 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 21.

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little sperms. It is a matter of rays, birds, voices, and nerves in permutable relations.71 They are part of a complex genealogy of god and its divine forms. In the Anti-Oedipus, it becomes clear that it would be a mistake to place Nietzsche as part of the scene of the dead father72 in psychoanalytic terms. For Nietzsche, according to Deleuze and Guattari, what was important is only the time in which the death of god will last in giving fruits.73 The death of god for Nietzsche is only another death, the death of someone who has always been dead. With the death of god, what one is able to find is the belief of what is unbelievable: The incarnation of god in Nietzsches theater and the in-creation is the last announcement of his death.74 Nevertheless, for Deleuze and Guattari there did not exist the I-Nietzsche, the professor of Philology that loosened reason and identified himself with strange characters. For them there is the Nietzschean subject that moves between stages and that becomes every one. He is all the names of history,75 but not in an identification with persons, rather in an identification with the names. In Nietzsche, the construction of a character is the construction of a name. It is a construction of intensity zones in a body without organs that enunciates: I am, and then, I am.76 According to this perspective, the vision of the world by Nietzsche is the parody of an event, a one-man stand in one only journey, although as Deleuze and Guattari expressed it, the journey should have lasted more, perhaps from December 31st to the sixth of January, beyond the reasonable calendar.77

71 72

Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 24. Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 112. 73 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 112. 74 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 112. 75 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 29. 76 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 29. 77 Deleuze, and Guattari, El Anti-Edipo, 29.

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3.4 The presence as praxis of thought The parallelism between Nietzsches death and Antonin Artauds theater of the cruelty is not irrelevant. Jacques Derrida, by deconstructing Antonin Artauds writings on theater, has explored an idea of theater that is not a representation78 but that is life itself taking in consideration that life for Artaud was unrepresentable. At the same time what this exploration of Derrida developed was the understanding of the theatrical representation as a presentation.79 In this sense, Jacques Derrida has been interested not in the thought of theater as an act of representation but as an act of cruelty in Artauds terms. Jacques Derrida has been concerned with the limits of representation, in its closure and its impossibility, or as he would outline: the possibility and impossibility of pure theater. 80 From this perspective, for Derrida, representation as such is to be totally rejected and only can be transformed or deconstructed,81 and as he has posited,

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The stage, certainly, will no longer represent, since it will not operate as an addition, as the sensory illustration of a text already written thought or lived outside the stage, which the stage would then only repeat but whose fabric it would not constitute. The stage will no longer operate as the repetition of a present, will no longer re-present a present that would exist elsewhere and prior to it, a present whose plenitude would be older than it, absent from it, and rightfully capable of doing without it: the being-present-to itself of the absolute Logos, the living present of God. Jacques Derrida, Writing and difference. Translated by Alain Bass (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978), 237. 79 For a debate on the concept in theater see Eric Morris, and Joan Hotchkis, No acting please (New York: Spelling Publications, 1979). 80 Derrida, Writing and difference, 249. 81 Gregory Ulmer develops a very interesting approach to theater of cruelty and The scene of teaching: Derrida looks not only to Freud and Marx (pautrats choice) for a model for an enactment of the signature effect in the classroom but also to avant-garde theater, especially as couched in the theories of Mallarm and Artaud [] Artauds theater of cruelty interests Derrida because it announces the very limits of representation: it is theater that is not representation but life itself. Gregory Ulmer, Applied Grammatology (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), 174.

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this rejection ought to occur not only in the theater of cruelty but also in terms of the aesthetics of mime82 and even of dance.83 However, the deconstruction of representation in Artaud is the presentation of something that already is representation. The theater of cruelty is already penetrated by representation regardless Artauds aim, especially taking in account that theater as such, has always already had to represent itself: Theater, in order to be presence and self presence, has always already been penetrated by representation. Derrida does not list a series of characteristics of what the theater of cruelty istaking in account the theater of cruelty has not occurred because theater itself is already in the realm of presentation and representationbut he lists a series of characteristics of what could not be:84 1. 2. 3. 4.
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All theater that is not sacred.85 All theater of words or that privileges speech.86 All abstract theater.87 All theater of alienation.88

Referring to Paul Marguerittes solo performances. Ulmer utilizes this text for determining the nature of the performance needed in the scene of teaching. Ulmer, 176. 83 For an example Derridas approach to dance and feminism see the interview made by Christie McDonald, Choreographies, in Jacques Derrida, The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, ed. Christie McDonald. Translated by Peggy Kamuf (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985). 84 In a different point of view and as Gary Genosko [Gary Genosko, The Drama of Theory: Vengeful Objects and Wily Props, in Baudrillard: A Critical Reader, ed. Douglas Kellner (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1994)] has pointed out: In Lyotards estimation, what stopped Artaud short of grasping the reversibility of the pure libidinal energy of a debarred A/B [i.e.,signifier/signified, work/performance, tooth/palm], was that he had already found a religion. Or as Lyotard himself established: In order to put intensities to work as a new language, a system of signs, a grammar of gestures, a hieroglyphics. This is what he thought he found in Eastern theater, particularly in the Balinese and Japanese theaters. He thus remained a European; he repeated the invention of the agreement of the body and senses, and made the great discovery (at the antipodes) of the unity of the libido as Eros and of the libido as death drive; he repeated his ethnological mise en scne on the Eastern stage. See Jean Franois Lyotard, La dent, la paume, in Des dispositifs pulsionnels (Paris: Union gnrale deditions, 1973). 85 Derrida, Writing and difference, 243. 86 Derrida, Writing and difference, 243. 87 Derrida, Writing and difference, 244.

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5. 6. 7.

All non political theater.89 All ideological theater and cultural theater. And all communicative, interpretive (except the Nietzschean sense).90 With this list, nevertheless, Derrida showed that Artauds theater of the

cruelty, in its attempt of being a presentation not a representation, is not something that can be attain immediately or even found, but something that is still to come. Nevertheless, the theater of cruelty for Derrida marks the end of the Aristotelian imitative concept of art that has been so fundamental in aesthetics of Western theater and of metaphysics,91 that is, it is the closure of a scene of representation within representation in a theater of cruelty that attempts to open up itself to pure presence and pure difference.92 The theater of cruelty is within the limits of representation and it is closure but also disclosure of the unrepresentable as a possibility. But this unrepresentability of theater of cruelty as a possibility of the closure of representation does not implicates a theater of the Unconscious.93 Indeed Artaud presented his theater of cruelty as a theater of dreams, but as Derrida has pointed out, these dreams were not the same ones studied and conceptualized by Freud, because Artauds dreams are cruel unrepresentable dreams.94 Although in some moment Freud described the stage as the dream,95 dreams in the theater of cruelty are not a fulfillment or a substitution of something else, but according to Derrida an affirmation, much more original, free, and affirmative that any activity of displacement.96 Artaud rejected psychoanalysis as the interpreter,

88 89

Derrida, Writing and difference, 244. Derrida, Writing and difference, 245. 90 Derrida, Writing and difference, 245. 91 Derrida, Writing and difference, 234. 92 Derrida, Writing and difference, 247. 93 In Camille Dumouli, Nietzsche y Artaud: Por una tica de la crueldad. Translated by Stella Mastrngelo (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1996). 94 Derrida, Writing and difference,242. 95 Derrida, Writing and difference, 241. 96 Derrida, Writing and difference, 243.

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hermeneutician, or theoretician of cruel dreams because in these dreams there is no Logos that should be found in the mask of mythos.97 The theater of cruelty is also very far from being a psychodramaturgy, because as Derrida has explained cruelty, is not unconscious but consciousness, in its exposed lucidity. As it is well known, Derridas endeavor to study Artaud has been a constant in some of his texts. Another of his exemplary works has been a text on Artauds drawings and portraits co-authored with Paul Thvenin in which Derrida continued the deconstruction of theatrical representation in relation to drawing and specially to Artauds use of the word: subjectile.98 Derrida studied the subjectile in a complex style of writing that strives to sense what the subjectile unsense. The subjectile is a word that cannot be translated but has the connotations of support and subject.99 In Artauds writings on his drawings and paintings, Derrida found that subjectile is the name given for something that unities the subjective and the projectile, as well as a notion that belongs to a code of painting that designates what is in some way laying below (subjectum) as a substance, as a subject or a succumbs.100 Although Derrida doubts that we can consider certain a scene of the subjectile, for Derrida, in Artauds writing there is a dramaturgy and also a surgery subjective as a projectile:101 it shows Artauds body of thought working itself out in a graphic realm that cuts, suture and stitch his own flesh.102

97

See Paul Ricoeur, Freud una interpretacin de la cultura. Traduccin de Armando Surez (Mxico: Siglo Veintiuno, 1990). 98 On the deconstruction of representation, the symposium on Artaud at Cerisy-La-Salle 1972 raised the question Derrida and Artaud affinities. The participants were Xavire Gauthier, Pierrre Guyotat, Jacques Henric, Julia Kristeva, Georges Kutukdjian, Marcelin Pleynet, Guy Scarpetta and Philippe Sollers among many other. Philippe Sollers, ed., Artaud. Traduccin Ana Guerra (Valencia: Pretextos,1973). 99 Introduction, Jacques Derrida, and Paule Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud. Translated by Mary Ann Caws (Cambridge: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1998), Xii. 100 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 64. 101 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 62. 102 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 62.

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In Artauds poetic writings, the subjectile is word or a thing that is able to take the place of the subject or of the object, although is neither one nor the other.103 However there is also a subjectilian Thing104 which is a force at work prepared to diminish the scenic elements: the visibility, the element of representation, the presence of a subject, even an object.105 The subjectile evades representation, it cannot even be considered a presentation, because in itself is a contradictory project106 of gestures, gestations and tensions. As Derrida has pointed out about the subjectile, it is at the same time an instantaneous grasp and an institution of great strength.107 The subjectile cannot be presence, but holds the drama of Artauds drawings, paintings, writings in relation to his body; it is the phenomenon of Artauds driving of meaning to madness.108 It is not the unrepresentable, but the intensities109 of any form, shape or name in which the Artaudian act and his paintings, drawings and writings, are played. Derridas approach to the subjectile is a way of setting up Artauds passage of the subject to the subjectile, from meaning to madness, form representation to the closure of representation. Or to put it in another words, if in the theater of cruelty there was a representation already at work, then within the subjectile the closure is achieved, and this can be proved, according to Derridas text, through the imagination of what is left of Artauds drawings and writings. For Derrida, with the figure of Artaud and specially the subjectile, there is a curtain falling on the metaphysical

103 104

Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 61. The subjectile figures the Other, or rather the Other having become the adverse party, the opposed supposed, the place as a carrier of all the instruments, succumbi and incubi, representatives of the rape to counter-command. This is confirmed at once in what by artifice, we would distinguish as the pictographic practice of Artaud and in his discourse: the three times when he names the subjectilian Thing. Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 137. 105 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 61. 106 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 146 107 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 147. 108 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 147 109 See Gilles Deleuze, and Flix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus, 233.

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scene. Alternatively, as Jean_Luc Nancy has outlined it is the moment where there is no doubt the curtain has fallen on metaphysics as scene of representation: No doubt the cycle of dramatic representations is closed. It is not by chance that theater today is without any new fable [fable], without mythos, having exhausted the total fable (Bertolt Brecht), the fable of the end of fables (Samuel Beckett). The curtain has fallen on the metaphysical scene, on metaphysics as scene of (re)presentation.110 Artaud is Derridas conceptual character for this end of fables. As Nietzsche acted out Gods death in Jean_Luc Nancys reading, Derridas Artaud acted out the death of representation, something that cannot be represented, but left behind as a vestige of the act of the subjectile.111 For Derrida, To Unsense the subjectile is to explode sense, as well as language.112 What Artaud showed with the subjectile is sense beyond all sense, sense in the absence of sense and the overflowing of sense as element of the world or world as absolute excess of sense.113 In the subjectile, there is no more presentation left, but only traces. This could also be understood in Jean_Luc Nancys terms, because what Artaud shows us is precisely the destruction of all limits that structure representation114 and the destruction of the staging of the sense of sense build and maintained by Europe and the so-called Occident.115 The necessity of Occident to stage of the sense of sense and agitate masks in an intense dramatization has been required in terms of maintaining its hierarchy over the rest of the world. The staging of history, of being, of nature as universals has been the requisite for colonizations

110

Jean_Luc Nancy, The sense of the world. Translated by Jeffrey S. Librett (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 23. 111 On art as a vestige see Jean-Luc Nancy, The muses, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Peggy Kamuf (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), 81. 112 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 66. 113 Nancy, The sense of the world. 23. 114 Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 89. 115 Nancy, The sense of the world, 23.

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and exploitation of the world.116 However, what Artaud does, or at least what the conceptual personae of Derrida does, is to make the destruction of the stage of the sense of sense in the same stage, a the-theater-within-the-theater, from the theater of the cruelty to the subjectile, from his aphoristic writings to his painting and drawings.117 Artaud, in Derridas text, is the figure of un-sensing sense and the closure of metaphysics as a scene of representation; but as Nancy has pointed out, this theatrical closure, is not only the closure of the theater of the world,118 but also a closure of thetheater-of-the-world within the-theater-of-the-world. This closure is like a curtain that falls for the sense of the world at the same time and that opens the world itself as an excess of sense, that is, as nonsense. It is the closure of the end of the sense of the world and the end of the world of sense in which we live and in which all our points of reference are still established.119 Or as Nancy himself has put it: Consequently, when I say that the end of the world is the end of the mundus, this cannot mean that we are confronted merely with the end of mundus, this cannot mean that we are confronted merely with the end of ascertain conception of the world, and that we would have to go off in search of another one to restore another one (or the same). It means rather, that there is no longer any assignable signification of world, or that the world is subtracting itself, bit by bit, from the entire regime of signification available to usexcept its cosmic signification as universe, a term that for us, precisely, no longer has (or does not yet have) any assured signification, save that of a pure infinite expansion.120 From this perspective, there is an opening of the praxis of the sense of the world,121 where there is not a sense of history but a history of sense.122 For Nancy,

116

See Ella Shohat, and Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media (London: Routledge, 1994). 117 Derrida develops two paradoxes on artauds pictographies, see Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 89-106. 118 Nancy, The sense of the world, 24. that, quite mistakenly, certain people take to be a vast screen of simulation, while others (at bottom the same) take it to be a scenario of disenchantment. 119 Nancy, The sense of the world, 5. 120 Nancy, The sense of the world, 5. 121 [] how the end of the world of sense opens the praxis of the sense of the world. Nancy, The sense of the world, 9.

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this is the limit and the end of philosophy or what Heidegger or Nietzsche called metaphysics. It is the end of philosophy and the beginning of the praxis of thought123 that should not be considered as irrepresentable, pure presence or pure absence.124 Nevertheless, this birth to presence that opens up the praxis of thought, as Nancy has explained, in the end of the scene of metaphysics, occurs as in the case of Artauds theater of cruelty within in another stage. The closure of the scene of representation can only occur in front of the staging of a co-appearance that still is a stage in Nancys terms: the co-appearance of society. Society is based on a being-with that is the sharing of a simultaneous space-time and that it involves of this space-time as such. This is a co-appearance that according to Nancy forms a staging, not understood as a simple play of mirrors but rather as how the truth of the play of mirrors must be understood as the truth of the being with in a society. From this perspective and as Nancy posited: society is spectacular125 and beings are as singular plural organizing themselves as having their own stage.126 In this sense, there is no society without spectacle; or more precisely, there is no society without the spectacle of society. Although already a popular ethnological claim, or, in the western tradition, a claim about theater, this proposition must be understood as ontologically radical. There is no society without the spectacle because society is the spectacle of itself.127 With the birth to presence, there are not any more subjects of representation or representation as subjects, but there is still an occurrence of the we, which is not representation but that paradoxically Nancy explains as the stage of the we.128 This staging of the we is a co-joined stage, that each time is coincidental ad concurrent,

122 123

Nancy, The sense of the world, 25. Nancy, The sense of the world, 19. 124 Nancy, The Birth to Presence, 2. 125 Jean_Luc Nancy, Being singular plural, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. OByne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 69. 126 Nancy, Being singular plural, 67. 127 Nancy, Being singular plural, 67. 128 Nancy, Being singular plural, 66.

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simultaneous, and mutual.129 Also in Nancys writing is present a deadlock, where the theater of the world persists as an image, where staging still have to be done, as if there was not out of the theater. This stagethis theater of the worldas Descartes also liked to call it, using the persistent image of his timeis not a stage in the sense of the opening of a spacetime for the distribution of singularities, each of whom singularly plays the unique and plural role of the self or the being-itself [] The stage is the spectacle of a co-appearing without which there would be nothing but Being, pure and simple, which is to say, all and nothing, all as nothing.130 From this perspective, the thought of us for Nancy, is not a representational thought, that is, not an idea, a notion or a concept, but is a theatrical praxis and an etho as a condition of thinking. It is praxis and an etho as an staging of co-appearance, in which the we is always already there at each instant, re-inventing itself, each time, each time making our entrance a new,
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in a theater-within-a-theater, a theater that

does not ends to end, knowing that its shadows still will remain with us long after, like the shadows of God remained after his death.132

3.5 The (un)dead art Why would man have killed god, if not to take his still warm seat? Heidegger questions.133 For Martin Heidegger Nietzsches pronouncement of the death of god is the death of a realm of the supersensory that has been considered since Plato, or more strictly speaking, since the Late Greek and Christian interpretation of Platonic Philosophy, to be the true and genuinely real world.134 Gods death happened when this realm of the suprasensory lost its effective power and when it did not work any

129 130

Nancy, Being singular plural, 69. Nancy, Being singular plural, 66-67. 131 Nancy, Being singular plural, 71. 132 Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 143. 133 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 63. 134 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 61.

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more as a structure of thought or legitimatization.135 From this perspective, the death of god, in Heidegger, is the death of the metaphysical approach of thought. However, Heidegger warns us, that the suprasensory is being replaced by a notion of historical progress: Ideology, politics and even artistic realms have tried to substitute the empty seat of God; and sacred bliss has transformed it into earthly happiness. The careful maintenance of the cult of religion is relaxed through enthusiasm for the creating of a culture or the spreading of civilization. Creativity, previously the unique property of the biblical god, becomes the distinctive mark of human activity. Human creativity passes over into business enterprise.136 However, for Heidegger, in order to understand the Nietzschean death of God, it also important to question and understand what nihilism was for Nietzsche.137 In general terms, nihilism relates to the devaluation of the higher values by themselves138 and this is the inner logic of Western History139 as a continual revaluation seeking what is most alive.140 Here, the concept of value is very relevant, because for Nietzsche, according to Heidegger, a value is the point-of-view constituting the preservation-enhancement conditions with respect to complex forms of relative durations of life within becoming. In addition, lifes main characteristic is what Nietzsche called becoming,141 will to power, and Being in the broadest sense.142 Therefore, Nietzsches God is dead can be thought adequately only from out of the essence of the will to power:143 The creating possibilities for the will on the basis of which the will to power first frees itself to itself is for Nietzsche the essence of Art. In keeping with this metaphysical concept Nietzsche does not think under the heading art solely or even primarily of the aesthetic realm of the artist. Art is the essence of all willing that opens up
135 136

Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 64. Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 64. 137 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 62. 138 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 66. 139 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 67. 140 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 70. 141 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 73. 142 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 74. 143 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 75.

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perspectives and takes possession of them: the world as a work of art that gives birth to itself.144 This perspective is from where Nietzsches phrase can be understood: Art is worth more than truth,145 because for Heidegger Art is a condition of will to powers being able to ascend to power and to enhance itself.146 Art excites and is a stimulant of the will to power, Deleuze restated, so art should be considered something that excites the will and that exposes every reactive conception of art.147 Nevertheless, for Gianni Vattimo, Nietzsches death was also the death of metaphysical art and the death of art as religion or in religion as Hegel had posited. However, it this also marks a birth, in that art is the essence of will to power. For Gianni Vattimo the death of art is related to Nietzsches phrase: How the Real World at last became a myth as he explained it in The adventure of difference.148 That is, according to Vattimo, the world has become an enormous web of fables.149 And the radical disorganizing of the subject while revising these different symbolic productions of fables is that which will open a new epoch of Beingsomething to be achieved by the will to power as art.150 This is related to the Hegelian project of the death of art, followed by Vattimo. For Vattimo the death of art is a phrase that describes, or better still, constitutes the epoch of the end of metaphysics as prophesied by Hegel, as lived by Nietzsche and as registered by Heidegger.151 The death of art is an event that constitutes the ontological and historic contemporary constellation. The death of art is the prophecy of utopia, Vattimo contends, and it has been suppressed

144 145

Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 85. Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 86. 146 Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche, 86. 147 Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 102. 148 See Gianni Vattimo, The Adventure of Difference: Philosophy after Nietzsche and Heidegger. Translated by Cyprian Blamires (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Uinversity Press, 1993). 149 Vattimo, The Adventure of Difference, 92. 150 Vattimo, The Adventure of Difference, 107. 151 Gianni Vattimo, The death or decline of art, in The Continental Aesthetics Reader, ed. Clive Cazeaux (London: Routledge, 2000), 187.

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and ablatedin Hegelian waythrough a general aesthetization of existence.152 This aesthetization of existence comes from the explosion of aesthetics within the arts, especially since the avant-garde artists whom considered art as a place for theoretical and practical experience which even the artistic operation itself becomes ironic.153 In general terms, the aesthetization of the world and the death of art, are what we are living in the mass culture according to Vattimo. Then could we say that in Nietzsches last act, in the figure and posture of god, art also died? As Jean_Luc Nancy has shown, the borders of art have been erected and destroyed too many times. In addition, the first of anger, the signs of distress, and the certifications of exhaustion are themselves already quite used up.154 Thus, this tradition of designating a continual end of art in the banal sense, and very quickly as a death, is what for Nancy could be considered a way for understanding something of art as a suspension of a form and also as the instantaneousness of a gesture, the blackout of an appearanceand thus also, each time, of a disappearance.155 There is birth of art in Nietzsches death. This birth of art is understood as an instantaneousness of a gesture. Further, the gesture disappears and can appear somewhere else, as something other unexpected and un-defined. Art history and art in general, from this perspective, can be understood not as progress but passage, succession, appearance, disappearance, event. However, every time as another event, that is not a final goal, or an objective, but each time as a completion, as the presentation of a single thing inasmuch as it is formed.156 From this perspective art is each time radically another art (not only another form, another style, but another essence of art) according to its response to another world, to another polis; but is at the same time all that it is all art such as in

152 153

Vattimo, The death or decline of art, 188. Vattimo, The death or decline of art, 189. 154 Nancy, The Muses, 86. 155 Nancy, The Muses, 94. 156 Nancy, The Muses, 87.

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itself finally.157 Moreover, here is what the death of Nietzsche shows as the death of god: art as a suspension, a remaining and disappearance, an evanescence, a trace, an almost ungraspable fragment. From this perspective, art is the place where the unnamable names it, adopts all the names catatonize, and explodes the language, it makes the subjectile appear and even betray itself.158

157 158

Nancy, The Muses, 87. Derrida, and Thvenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, 61.

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CONCLUSION: Towards the concept of the aisthethicon

Each of the parts that form this dissertation presents a complex relation between theory and theater from very different approaches: Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari through their conceptual characters; Philippe Lacoue_Labarthe with his questioning of the relation of theater and ethics; Martin Heidegger in relation to Alfred Jarrys pataphysics; Jacques_Alain Miller with his study on Juvenals Satires; Jos Saramago with the acts of the imperative categorical; Slavoj _i_ek through the staging of the Kantian ethics; Jacques Lacan with his studies on Sadean perversions; Jean_Luc Nancy on his theatricalization of Nietzsches death; and Jacques Derrida through Antonin Artauds writings. In every one of these cases, the theatrical act appears in a multiplicity of forms and modes. On some occasions it is a site of contradiction, inconsistency and paradox, on others, it provides a site for metaphors and metonyms. Sometimes the theatrical act appears as an escape and others, as a jail; it is at the same time a place for utopia and a place for cruelty. In every case the theatrical act marks some kind of limit of philosophy, of art, of theory or of thinking, and, at the same time, the aesthetic figure of the theatrical act posits the possibility for producing within theory new possibilities for developing diverse and compelling ethical questions. These questionings, on one occasion or another, have come from very specific concerns of every one of the authors included in this dissertation. Jean_Luc Nancys main preoccupation for elaborating his theories has been what constitutes the theater of bloody conflicts among identities1 and of those people that everyday are mutilated, starved, raped, ostracized, excluded, exiled and expelled in the earth we inhabit.2 Slavoj _i_eks concern has been related to what he has considered to be a catastrophe
1

Jean_Luc Nancy, Being singular plural, eds. Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery. Translated by Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. OByne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), xii. 2 Nancy, Being singular plural, xiii.

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in process with the unconditional Real of global Capital perturbing the very reality of nature, ruthlessly disregarding and destroying particular life-worlds and threatening the very survival of humanity.3 Deleuze and Guattaris main preoccupation with how capitalism has developed a semiotic subjugation of the body is well known,4 as also is Jacques Derridas enormous project of deconstruction as a means of questioning and confronting the violence of phallogocentrism.5 Nevertheless, these concerns appear in this dissertation through determined ethical questionings and proposals that share in common the use of aesthetical figures of theatrical acts. These theatrical acts are utilized as a way out of philosophy, sometimes acknowledged and sometimes unacknowledged. However, this way out through a theatrical act as it has been shown is also an entrance: it is the entrance to a theater-within-a-theater. It is the way out of a fractal theater-within-the-theater that also is an entrance to another, perhaps, infinite theater. This dissertation has explored specific texts in which this fractal entrance/exit has developed the mastery of a technique of thinking that is theatrical in itself: an aisthetic technique that opens up the realm of presence and the world as praxis of thought, to use Jean_Luc Nancys terms. The theatrical act in theory and the staging of theory itself establishes a laboratory of possibilities of what can be enacted in a supposed event. Nevertheless, this dissertation presents a conflict in relation to the question regardless of the use of theatrical acts, and especially in the most radical approaches. From this perspective, the question can be posed as follows: Is this technique only an aesthetical devise or is it is able to really answer or posit real questions in the face on ethical concerns? What seems to be at stake here is whether this technique is a mode of making aesthetic

Slavoj _i_ek, The Ticklish Subject: The Absent of Centre of Political Ontology (London: Verso, 1999), 4. 4 See Flix Guattari, Chaosophy, ed. Sylvre Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1995). 5 See Geoffrey Bennington, and Jacques Derrida, Jacques Derrida. Translated by M Luisa Rodrguez (Madrid: Ediciones Ctedra, 1994).

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examples of theoretical proposals or whether it can really be a schema to be used in a real event. The answer to this deadlock according to what has been presented in different moments is that both options are valid at the same time. The technique that has been named by the term of aisthethicon can answer and posit real questions of real events precisely because it can present through aesthetic figures what we have called ethical actions. This can be understood remembering that French theoreticians (following Nietzsches conception of truth) have declared and explained since approximately the second half of the twentieth century that there is theater of the subject, a political theater, and that the world can be still understood as a theater. Since Pierre Bourdieus6 concept of the habitus for example, or Lacans mirror theory,7 it has been shown not only that truth is structured as fiction but so have identity, subjectivity, ideology, gender among many other conceptions that in the past were considered natural. From this same perspective it could be also said that in a similar way that if truth is structured as fiction so also fiction has been structured as truth. To put it in terms of this dissertation: the same way theory in many of the texts presented here is structured as theater, it could also be stated that theater has been structured as theory. This perspective of denaturalizing social constructions from French theory has opened up a new way for approaching ethics. The question on ethics did not continue to be a common sense one that should be followed but a complex possibility that needed to be rethought. To put it differently, the ethical theater opened up its doors, not as a Grand theater, but as minor ones, almost personal theaters that belonged to a large web of different personal theaters that interrelate in the form of a fractal geometrical figure. This approach of society has been developed by Niklas

Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). 7 Jacques Lacan, crits: a Selection. Translated by Alain Sheridan (London: Tavistock, 1977).

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Luhmann8 and explained in terms of social systems that are autopoietical and autoreferent structures interweaved in complex relations. The use of the aesthetical figure of theatrical acts opens up a different way of thinking about our contemporary world in its excessive, contradictory, fragmented reality and its time out of joint as Hamlet says it. A time out of joint that for Jacques Derrida is the only way time ought to be understood because it opens the possibility of the multiple and the diverse.9 However, this time out of joint requires new ways of thinking, new endeavors, and different technologies. In this sense, to think in terms of theatrical acts about the limits of philosophy, the limits of sense and even of theater itself is a way of rethinking our time as a time out of joint. Nevertheless, there is a central problem in what is proposed here, because if the use of the aesthetical figure of theatrical acts is supposed to open new or different ways of thinking our time, then how is it supposed to achieve it if the terms of aesthetics and theater belong to and are metaphysical, which is exactly what is to be avoided. The answer to this problem is that the use of theatrical acts is not a theater, performance art, nor is it a night in the theater or part of a festival of performance art, but rather it is an asithetic technique. This perspective gives riste the term aisthethicon, because although it acknowledges very long traditions in its grammatical construction, it presents a different use of these traditions in a specific technique. The aisthethicon as a technique was already operating in Sade, Artaud and Nietzsche, among many others, and has been developed in exemplary ways by most of the authors mentioned in this work. On numerous occasions the aisthethicon appeared as a philosophy with the hammer, as a destructive attempt to challenge the grand theater of sense, or the theater of truth as in Nietzsche, but also as an attempt to open
8

Niklas Luhmann. Sistemas Sociales: Lineamientos para una Teora General (Mxico: Universidad Iberoamericana, 1991). 9 See Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International. Translated by Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge, 1994).

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the praxis of sense and a praxis of thought that is aesthetical and ethical at the same time. In Geophilosophy, there is an example of the aisthethicon through establishing an event of philosophy based on conceptual personae that unveil an aesthetic and ethical dominion by developing relationships, plots, and temporalities in a specific spatio-temporal realm. _i_eks ethical acts could be taken as some kind of method acting. An acting that is ethical within a determinate theater that although _i_ek does not directly accept, always is taken for granted in every one of his cinematic or theatrical examples. The requisite for the ethical act is a theater in where it can occur. An ideological, politic, psychoanalytic or perhaps religious theater might not actually be known or acknowledge but it would be what makes possible the occurrence of the ethical act. An example of this would be the moment in which _i_ek compares ethical acts to miracles (that do happen) because what a miracle presupposes is a religious theater. To understand that a miracle is able to occur first we need to understand and play a part in a world where the natural and the supernatural exist. An ethical act, as something supernatural or miraculous, can occur only in a religious theater that is able to offer some manifestation. On the other hand, in terms of the question of presence, Jean-Luc Nancys work can be interpreted by means of the aisthethicon as opening a door to what is there in the earth. Although at a first glance it seems to say that with his proposed end of philosophy there is a getting out of the theater, this getting out still is constituted by a theatrical exit as has been shown in previous sections of this dissertation. In Derrida something similar occurs with his approach to the closure of representation precisely by directing his efforts to Antonin Artaud, a man of theater. The end of theater is the opening for an impossible theater of cruelty, which is possible in its staging of theory. Derrida presents the closure of representation but within a theater as an option for understanding the difference between what is represented and what is not. From this point of view, the outside of the theater is still a

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theater, and this is what we have attempted to show through the technique of the aisthethicon in our previous discussions of Derrida. In the end, it must be remarked that this dissertation, as has been stated, was not as such about the aisthethicon, but traced a movement towards the concept of the aisthethicon. The goal of this dissertation resided mainly in the hope of bringing to the fore and underlying commonality, something very complex that functions as a distinct technique in exemplary texts of so-called French theory. This technique was not discovered as such but was developed quietly a long time ago, and very probably will continue to be developed by others, under many different names, and in a multiplicity of scenes, stages and theaters.

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APPENDIX A AGONISTAS: MULTIDISCIPLINARY PROJECT (1996- 1998)

Agonistas were a series of artistic and theoretical events that proposed to question the relations between theory, theater and determinated spatio-temporal realms. Among these variety of events developed between 1996 and 1998, there is one in which participated different philosophers, artists, sociologists and psychoanalysts such as Martin Jay, Zidane Zeraoui, Susan Melrose, Dulce Mara Gonzlez, Vctor Ziga, Sergei Salmin among may others. The name of this specific event was Disertaciones y Otros Actos (Dissertations and Other Act) and its main objective was to produce theoretical enunciations in different spaces of the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Mexico city. In universities, theaters, museums, mountains, open fields and even caves these theoretical enunciations were produced. The results of the experiment were published in newspapers. The conclusion was that temperature, schedule, architecture and lighting conditions for example would radically change the theory it was made at a specific time and space. From these conclusions a series of theatrical events were staged, in which many of the theoretical enunciations were dramatized. The images that are presented here are examples of these events.

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Project director: JM Lozano Sponsored by Consejo para la Cultura y las Artes de Nuevo Len

APPENDIX B EL BANQUETE: THEATER PROJECT (1999 2001)

The Banquet was a devised theatrical piece based on Platos Symposium. The aim of this work was to explore Platos theatricality. An adaptation of the text was developed in terms of developing a new context of the drama in a contemporary setting. This production questioned the possibilities of understanding Platos philosophy through theatrical acts. The Banquet toured across Mexico, and a documentary was developed about the different cities and reactions the performances produced. The images presented here were taken during a performance in Chiapas during December 1999.

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Project director: JM Lozano Sponsored by Cervecera Cuauhtmoc.

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