FEATURE

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72 Ar·Review
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A s p o l i t i c a l p h i l o s o p h e r
J a c q u e s R a n c i è r e
t u r n s t o c o n t e m p o r a r y a r t i n
h i s l a t e s t b o o k , A r t R e v i e w
a s k s h i m w h e t h e r a r t c a n e v e r
c h a n g e t h e w o r l d

I N T E R V I E W B Y J . J . C H A R L E S W O R T H
A R T R E V I E W : I am curious to know your thoughts about what
it means to be in demand. What does it mean to bring certain ideas
to a public that needs new ideas?
J A C Q U E S R A N C I E R E : I think it’s a complicated question.
I think there are perhaps two kinds of interests that overlap. Firstly, I
think that there is an interest that is specific to the world of art: the
old ideas that don’t work anymore. There are some standards, like
the standard of critical art, but this has become repetitive and there
is nothing subversive about it any more. As I started discussing the
relationships between politics and art, people were interested, thinking
maybe they don’t have to choose between this critical art that nobody
believes in any more, and ‘art for art’s sake’. There is a search for a new
kind of relationship, perhaps one that is more indirect. Perhaps people
think they can find it in what I write. At the same time, I’m not part of
the artworld. I can be kind of somebody from the outside, a reference
at the same time. I’m not involved in the problems and quarrels of
the community.
The other point is I’m also a kind of survivor of a generation
that was trained by Althusser, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze and so
on. Many people of my generation, who were harsh revolutionaries
30, 40 years ago, are now right-wing – sometimes far-right-wing!
So how can people of that generation give something from the
experience of that time? The 80s and 90s was a kind of depressing
time, with neoliberalism and conservative and reactionary thinking
about politics. People are looking for something new, looking for a
way of making a new link between the new and the old. That’s part of
the demand, I think.
A R : As I understand, you were not always in a discussion directly
about art or aesthetics.
J R : Not at all. It’s not at all my world. I was supposed to be teaching
philosophy, but for a very long time I was doing research in
the archives of the workers’ movement. I was looking at the
practice of the autodidacts in the nineteenth century, working
on emancipation. Early on I was asked by some people in the
artworld to think about the relation between history and the
representation of history. It was the first time I was asked by a
curator to write on art. It was for an exhibition in Paris: the title
was Facing History. Perhaps I was able to bring some fresh
ideas about the relationship between history and art. That’s
how, in a way, I got into the artworld. It’s not at all my natural
field.
A R : In your latest book, The Emancipated Spectator, you mention
quite a number of artists, Alfredo Jaar and Martha Rosler,
for example, who are contemporary artists. You seem to find
an affinity in their work with something that is useful and
productive. It’s not all the bleak critical art of the 1980s and
early 90s that you just gestured to. Did your writing start to
affect the art you were looking at or did the art made in the
last 10, 15 years start to affect your writing?
J R : I wasn’t really looking for anything particular in the field of art.
My interested was firstly about a debate within contemporary
art related to the debate (if it was a debate) about the end.
That was the time of those statements about the end of history,
art, politics – the end of everything. I got into the debate from
this angle. The other thing that interested me was a debate
about aesthetics. Long ago I criticised Bourdieu and the idea
of aesthetic experience as something reserved for privileged
people. I disagreed, arguing that social emancipation was also
a kind of aesthetic emancipation, getting the people involved
in it out of a certain position that constrained the capacities of
the body in a certain social world. That was the background.
Sometimes artists or curators came to me and said, ‘I’m doing
this. I’m preparing this exhibition. I would like you to come
and see.’
Every time I’m looking at the work and thinking, is there
something that’s interesting for me in this? For instance, if you
look at the cover of my book, the installation of Alfredo Jaar,
what interested me was not the place of Alfredo Jaar in art,
but it was the way in which his work gives a certain response
to a debate. It was a debate about the unrepresentable. Can
you represent images of massacres? Can you make images
of the Holocaust? What interests me is the point at which
the debate on the work of art is, at the same time, a kind of
political debate. Are you authorised to present this or that
image? What is the implication of making this image? For
instance, in the case of Alfredo Jaar, what is the implication
of making those installations with no images of the massacres,
but installations with words, giving visibility to the names, of
the histories given in the press and the reasons why those
people have been massacred. What interests me is what I
call the ‘distribution of the sensible’, the way in which bodies
and individuals are located in a certain space of visibility or
invisibility and the way in which an image can be linked to a
certain meaning, can be given certain cogency.
A R : You are quite intolerant of forms of art or expressions in
representation which attempt to fix meaning and presentation
too much, and of ‘critical’ art that attempts to designate what
one should think and what one should experience, as if the
coding of representation was easily controllable.
J R : Yes. Let’s say I’m as much against the pedagogical model of
critical art as I am, in general, against the pedagogical model of
politics. What is important for me is to shift from the question
‘Is it possible to make this or that image?’ to the question
‘What does it imply, more generally, about the distribution of
the sensible, how people are located in a certain universe, in
a certain interrelation of words and images?’ My point about
critical art is about this pedagogical model, which is, in the
lasting instance, the old Platonic model: the irony that people
don’t see you, people are like prisoners and they don’t see the
truth, they only see shadows. We’ve seen this model painted a
number of times. I’ve mentioned before this image by Martha
Rosler with the lady who is pulling back a curtain, and behind
the curtain there is a window and behind the window there is
the war in Vietnam. Of course the war in Vietnam is a reality,
but she is unable to see it. It’s this idea that if you put together
the two images, you give an image of how people ignore the
truth, with the idea that if they know the truth they will act.
But there’s no reason to act if you know the truth. There’s no
reason to act just because you know what’s happening behind
the window.
A R : The pedagogical mode is also implicated in a political activist
mode, which seems to be about trying to teach other people
that they’re blind or that they can’t see. Does that go back to
May 1968, to a certain loss of faith among left intellectuals
with regards to the capacities of ‘the people’ or the working
class? That seems to be something which circles in some of
your comments, your antagonism towards those who think
that everybody else is stupid or everybody else can’t see.
J R : Yes, but I think that precisely what I call the pedagogical model
is a kind of general framework which says that people are
dominated or oppressed because they don’t know, because
the place where they are prevents them from seeing. The idea
is that they are dominated because they don’t know the law of
domination, so we have to teach them. Or they are dominated
but they are passive, so we have to make them active. This is
the old couple of presuppositions – that people are passive
and people are blind but we can bring them light. If we bring
them to the light, of course, they will act. My long-standing
idea is that this is wrong. Of course it’s a presupposition you
must have in mind, if you are a Marxist. But basically the point
is not that people are dominated because they don’t know.
I think people know. People know they are dominated. The
point for them is, is there anything other than domination?
Are we able to construct another world? Emancipation,
precisely, is about the possibility of constructing another
world. It is, I would say, a direct relation between two worlds
and not mediation through knowledge. This has been, for
me, a kind of constant concern since May 68, since the time I
started to criticise Althusserianism and Marxism and the idea
of oppression as a kind of ‘optical machine’.
A R : You mentioned earlier that social emancipation was also
aesthetic emancipation. In terms of your study of the workers’
movement, certainly around the nineteenth century, social
emancipation is very energetic. We now are in the situation
where the dynamic of social emancipation is very weak. It seems
to me in many of your essays that aesthetic emancipation
might almost be a precursor to social emancipation.
J R : For me, the aesthetic is not a precursor; I think it’s part of social
emancipation. At the same time, for me, the point is that
aesthetic emancipation is not the result of political strategies
of the artist. It is very important for me, this kind of dissociation
between aesthetic experience and artistic strategies. The
strategies of artists are always strategies to make people
see what they did not see or to make people active while
they are passive, etc. Aesthetic emancipation supposes
that the very people that are supposed to be ignorant or
passive spectators are able to reappropriate in their way the
product of the strategies of the artist. The fact is that for the
emancipated proletarians of 1840s in France, the model for
their emancipation was not taken from social novels, but more
from the romantic novels and romantic characters.
A R : Do you see then that there is an opportunity in postcritical
art to do something more authentic with subjectivisation
than these rather formulaic declarations of certain kinds of
subjectivisation? Is it a more open period at the moment?
J R : Yes, I think probably it’s a more open period because certain
dominant models have perhaps disappeared, although much
of the critical model is still working. This means that the
aesthetic field is a field of multiple forms of experimentation.
It’s true that we don’t exactly know where these forms of
experimentation may lead. I would say that there is a kind of
connection – but it’s a connection with a distance – between
political and artistic experimentation; trying some new forms
of connection between objects and practice, between framing
the visible and making sense. This is a period of indecision. I’m
not a champion of the undecidable, that’s not my point, but
the fact is, I think it’s always good when you know what you
don’t know. When you know that there is no evidence of any
kind of direct effect from a certain strategy to a certain effect.
There is the idea with many artists and curators that they are
doing politics; that the practice of art and the practice of the
curator are a way of redistributing the relation between the
objects. The idea that any installation, in a way, is a political
gesture.
My point is: there is no general strategy. A work, the practice of
art, the practice of exhibition, it’s always addressing a specific
form of visibility and what I call a dissensus. It’s not a general
form. It’s always a relation to a given form of visibility – an
E m a n c i p a t i o n ,
p r e c i s e l y , i s a b o u t
t h e p o s s i b i l i t y
o f c o n s t r u c t i n g
a n o t h e r w o r l d
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FEATURE: JACQUES RANCIERE
Ar·Review 75
attempt at displacing that given form. For instance, in The
Emancipated Spectator I’ve focused on many works dealing
with the Middle East – Israeli, Palestinian or Lebanese issues
– and how people try to displace a line separating the world.
It’s what Godard joked about: that epic is for the Israelis and
documentary is for the Palestinians! The idea that there are
certain situations where only reality can be taken into account
– there is no place for fiction. The point is that many artists
who are Palestinian or Lebanese or Israeli are trying to displace
the border: when the Atlas Group creates fake archives, artists
who are working not on the images of war but on what war
does to images. Or when Israeli filmmakers play with animated
film, like Ari Folman [director of Waltz with Bashir, 2008], with
the creation of a digital mask for filmography. There is an
attempt to displace the very forms of representation, to blur
the border between fiction and documentary. The problem is
not blurring in general – there is no point in blurring in general.
It’s always in relation to the idea of what kind of representation
looks at people in certain spaces and in a certain distribution
of the sensible.
A R : Do you ever think about that with regards to what appears to
be the expansion of the institutional space of art presentation
internationally? It seems to me that one thing we can say about
the last 10, 15 years is that contemporary art has expanded
and generalised as a venue for spectatorship and a location
to mediate internationally in a way which was possibly not the
case 20, 30, 40 years before. Is spectatorship changing, do
you think, precisely because of a change in the phenomenon
of presentation? Is that a way of looking at it that you are
concerned with?
J R : For me it’s an ambiguous phenomenon, because at the same
time there is an internationalisation of experimentation that
goes hand in hand with a certain multiplication of the forms
of artistic practice. The danger comes when all this becomes
a kind of specific scene with the same artists, same curators
and the same works basically, or the same way of doing
works, circulating all around the world. So it’s a problem, this
function of art as a substitute, but with the lack of a political
perspective. There is this idea that the art scene – especially
in an international exhibition – creates a kind of [political]
‘international’ of a new kind. It’s true that there is a kind of
circulation of ideas and experience. At the same time, it
becomes a world of its own.
A R : I’ve noticed that you’ve turned more and more to the very
contemporary. Historically there seems to have been a
focusing on what is going on now because of the interest
that is being paid to your work. I was wondering whether at
any time you felt like curating an exhibition. I’m thinking of
Lyotard’s Les Immatériaux, Virilio making exhibitions at the
Cartier Foundation. I wonder if you’ve ever been tempted
to test the relationship between presentation and theory. An
aesthetic project in a way that puts you in a more responsible
position, or perhaps a more dangerous position?
J R : I was once asked to curate an exhibition in Paris. I hesitated
and I asked some artists who I knew. I thought, that’s not my
business, all the aspects of the relations with the institutions,
the mediations between the artists and the institutions.
Also, trying to resist what the institution wants, because the
institution tells you that you are free, but at the same time the
institution wants a lot of things. I hesitated and I thought, no.
Perhaps from what I say or from the examples I’m commenting
on, it’s possible to create the frame of an exhibition, but... it’s
another job. Also I think there is something very authoritarian
in the curatorial function! It’s a way of wanting your ideas to
be materialised in the space and to have the control of that
space. For me, that’s not the way of emancipation!
A R : I was reading Nicolas Bourriaud’s The Radicant. It seems to
be that if we’re no longer certain of previous forms of political
activity or political projects, are we ‘waiting’ for something?
I wonder whether you think that we are in a ‘prepolitical’
moment. I am quite curious about this sense of anticipation,
which is focused on the possibility of what subjectivity can
be. I wonder whether you are also involved in thinking about
a more purely social, political project that might be coming,
might come or that you might want to come. Are you any
more active in that kind of dimension?
J R : I’m not directly active. Of course there is some kind of
interaction between what I see and what I write, and people
who are involved in specific political activities, sometimes
there is a kind of dialogue. What I’m waiting for is what many
people are waiting for, perhaps the idea of a new kind of
political movement that could be free at once from all the
official notions of politics, elections and so on. And free at
the same time from the strategical model of ‘the way to the
revolution’. I would think of a political movement that would
be the expansion of real experiments of political practice
and of a thinking about the possible universalisation of these
experiments. You know my point about emancipation is always
the same. It’s about politics based on equality, where equality
is a presupposition and not a goal to achieve. What can we,
from the experiments today, construct as a new form of
political subjectivity that would accept the point that we start
from equality, from the idea that there is universal competence
– that there is a universal capacity that is involved in all those
experiments and that we are trying to expand – to expand the
field and the capacities of that competence. It is not much, but
I think, for me, it’s what I’m hoping. I don’t know if we are in a
prepolitical period or more of a kind of interval. Most of my
work is devoted to trying to say we are not in the time of the
end – but nor are we in a time with a goal – but this doesn’t
mean that we are in the end. We are in a time which is a kind
of interval. One in which precisely the question is, what do we
think we are able to do together?
Jacques Rancière, The Emancipated Spectator (2009), is
published by Verso

I would like you to come and see. but she is unable to see it. but it was the way in which his work gives a certain response to a debate. What is important for me is to shift from the question ‘Is it possible to make this or that image?’ to the question ‘What does it imply. a reference at the same time. I can be kind of somebody from the outside. I disagreed. Derrida. 40 years ago. art. how people are located in a certain universe. That’s how. Did your writing start to affect the art you were looking at or did the art made in the last 10. Many people of my generation. I got into the debate from J R : You are quite intolerant of forms of art or expressions in representation which attempt to fix meaning and presentation too much. perhaps one that is more indirect. The Emancipated Spectator. are now right-wing – sometimes far-right-wing! So how can people of that generation give something from the experience of that time? The 80s and 90s was a kind of depressing time. Perhaps I was able to bring some fresh ideas about the relationship between history and art. against the pedagogical model of politics. the way in which bodies and individuals are located in a certain space of visibility or invisibility and the way in which an image can be linked to a certain meaning. But there’s no reason to act if you know the truth. What interests me is what I call the ‘distribution of the sensible’. can be given certain cogency. arguing that social emancipation was also a kind of aesthetic emancipation. It’s this idea that if you put together the two images. J R : A R : J R : . but this has become repetitive and there is nothing subversive about it any more. Not at all. It’s not at all my world. At the same time. looking for a way of making a new link between the new and the old. you were not always in a discussion directly about art or aesthetics. in the case of Alfredo Jaar. in the lasting instance. That was the time of those statements about the end of history. of the histories given in the press and the reasons why those people have been massacred. the old Platonic model: the irony that people don’t see you. It was a debate about the unrepresentable. I think. giving visibility to the names. you mention quite a number of artists. The other thing that interested me was a debate about aesthetics. There’s no reason to act just because you know what’s happening behind the window. getting the people involved in it out of a certain position that constrained the capacities of the body in a certain social world. people were interested. I’m not involved in the problems and quarrels of the community. like the standard of critical art. Yes. Deleuze and so on. is there something that’s interesting for me in this? For instance. Foucault. Can you represent images of massacres? Can you make images of the Holocaust? What interests me is the point at which the debate on the work of art is. the installation of Alfredo Jaar.A R T R E V I E W : I am curious to know your thoughts about what it means to be in demand. There is a search for a new kind of relationship. My interested was firstly about a debate within contemporary art related to the debate (if it was a debate) about the end. politics – the end of everything. ‘I’m doing this. I was supposed to be teaching philosophy. a kind of political debate. more generally. at the same time. working on emancipation. Long ago I criticised Bourdieu and the idea of aesthetic experience as something reserved for privileged people. Early on I was asked by some people in the artworld to think about the relation between history and the representation of history. What does it mean to bring certain ideas to a public that needs new ideas? J A C Q U E S R A N C I E R E : I think it’s a complicated question. We’ve seen this model painted a number of times. In your latest book. people are like prisoners and they don’t see the truth. thinking maybe they don’t have to choose between this critical art that nobody believes in any more. It’s not at all my natural field. A R : As I understand. It was the first time I was asked by a curator to write on art. I’ve mentioned before this image by Martha Rosler with the lady who is pulling back a curtain. I got into the artworld. in a certain interrelation of words and images?’ My point about critical art is about this pedagogical model. There are some standards. I think that there is an interest that is specific to the world of art: the old ideas that don’t work anymore. That was the background. That’s part of the demand. which is. Of course the war in Vietnam is a reality. I’m not part of the artworld. but installations with words. Let’s say I’m as much against the pedagogical model of critical art as I am. as if the coding of representation was easily controllable. 15 years start to affect your writing? I wasn’t really looking for anything particular in the field of art. I think there are perhaps two kinds of interests that overlap. It was for an exhibition in Paris: the title was Facing History. Perhaps people think they can find it in what I write. and of ‘critical’ art that attempts to designate what one should think and what one should experience.’ Every time I’m looking at the work and thinking. I was looking at the practice of the autodidacts in the nineteenth century. Sometimes artists or curators came to me and said. what is the implication of making those installations with no images of the massacres. who are contemporary artists. you give an image of how people ignore the truth. and behind the curtain there is a window and behind the window there is the war in Vietnam. with neoliberalism and conservative and reactionary thinking about politics. People are looking for something new. Firstly. Alfredo Jaar and Martha Rosler. Are you authorised to present this or that image? What is the implication of making this image? For instance. but for a very long time I was doing research in the archives of the workers’ movement. I’m preparing this exhibition. if you look at the cover of my book. what interested me was not the place of Alfredo Jaar in art. As I started discussing the relationships between politics and art. The other point is I’m also a kind of survivor of a generation that was trained by Althusser. they only see shadows. It’s not all the bleak critical art of the 1980s and early 90s that you just gestured to. with the idea that if they know the truth they will act. in general. A R : this angle. in a way. about the distribution of the sensible. and ‘art for art’s sake’. who were harsh revolutionaries 30. for example. You seem to find an affinity in their work with something that is useful and productive.

A work. that’s not my point. We now are in the situation where the dynamic of social emancipation is very weak. but more from the romantic novels and romantic characters. so we have to make them active. There is the idea with many artists and curators that they are doing politics. I would say that there is a kind of connection – but it’s a connection with a distance – between political and artistic experimentation. is about the possibility of constructing another world. Do you see then that there is an opportunity in postcritical art to do something more authentic with subjectivisation than these rather formulaic declarations of certain kinds of subjectivisation? Is it a more open period at the moment? Emancipation. is about the possibility of constructing another world J R : A R : J R : J R : Yes. It is very important for me. Of course it’s a presupposition you must have in mind. the practice of exhibition. People know they are dominated. of course. a kind of constant concern since May 68. It seems to me in many of your essays that aesthetic emancipation might almost be a precursor to social emancipation. When you know that there is no evidence of any kind of direct effect from a certain strategy to a certain effect. For me. The point for them is. but the fact is. If we bring them to the light. This is a period of indecision. I would say. a direct relation between two worlds and not mediation through knowledge. although much of the critical model is still working. so we have to teach them. they will act. is there anything other than domination? Are we able to construct another world? Emancipation. precisely. since the time I started to criticise Althusserianism and Marxism and the idea of oppression as a kind of ‘optical machine’. precisely. the point is that aesthetic emancipation is not the result of political strategies of the artist. the aesthetic is not a precursor. It’s not a general form. I think people know. I’m not a champion of the undecidable. Does that go back to May 1968. It’s always a relation to a given form of visibility – an A R : . your antagonism towards those who think that everybody else is stupid or everybody else can’t see. You mentioned earlier that social emancipation was also aesthetic emancipation. between framing the visible and making sense. This has been. in a way. Or they are dominated but they are passive. My long-standing idea is that this is wrong. It’s true that we don’t exactly know where these forms of experimentation may lead. This means that the aesthetic field is a field of multiple forms of experimentation. the model for their emancipation was not taken from social novels. for me. My point is: there is no general strategy. Yes. etc. The idea that any installation. It is. it’s always addressing a specific form of visibility and what I call a dissensus. trying some new forms of connection between objects and practice. Aesthetic emancipation supposes that the very people that are supposed to be ignorant or passive spectators are able to reappropriate in their way the product of the strategies of the artist. In terms of your study of the workers’ movement. I think it’s always good when you know what you don’t know. for me. because the place where they are prevents them from seeing. that the practice of art and the practice of the curator are a way of redistributing the relation between the objects. The fact is that for the emancipated proletarians of 1840s in France. At the same time. social emancipation is very energetic. The idea is that they are dominated because they don’t know the law of domination. The strategies of artists are always strategies to make people see what they did not see or to make people active while they are passive. certainly around the nineteenth century. I think it’s part of social emancipation. to a certain loss of faith among left intellectuals with regards to the capacities of ‘the people’ or the working class? That seems to be something which circles in some of your comments.A R : The pedagogical mode is also implicated in a political activist mode. the practice of art. This is the old couple of presuppositions – that people are passive and people are blind but we can bring them light. But basically the point is not that people are dominated because they don’t know. but I think that precisely what I call the pedagogical model is a kind of general framework which says that people are dominated or oppressed because they don’t know. I think probably it’s a more open period because certain dominant models have perhaps disappeared. if you are a Marxist. is a political gesture. which seems to be about trying to teach other people that they’re blind or that they can’t see. this kind of dissociation between aesthetic experience and artistic strategies.

What I’m waiting for is what many people are waiting for. 15 years is that contemporary art has expanded and generalised as a venue for spectatorship and a location to mediate internationally in a way which was possibly not the case 20. to blur the border between fiction and documentary. same curators and the same works basically. from the experiments today. I would think of a political movement that would be the expansion of real experiments of political practice and of a thinking about the possible universalisation of these experiments. but at the same time the institution wants a lot of things. and people who are involved in specific political activities. from the idea that there is universal competence – that there is a universal capacity that is involved in all those experiments and that we are trying to expand – to expand the field and the capacities of that competence. it’s another job. You know my point about emancipation is always the same. Of course there is some kind of interaction between what I see and what I write. but I think. What can we. elections and so on. trying to resist what the institution wants. For me. which is focused on the possibility of what subjectivity can be. Perhaps from what I say or from the examples I’m commenting on. It’s always in relation to the idea of what kind of representation looks at people in certain spaces and in a certain distribution of the sensible. Palestinian or Lebanese issues – and how people try to displace a line separating the world. We are in a time which is a kind of interval. this function of art as a substitute. There is an attempt to displace the very forms of representation. A R : business. There is this idea that the art scene – especially in an international exhibition – creates a kind of [political] ‘international’ of a new kind. Or when Israeli filmmakers play with animated film. that’s not the way of emancipation! A R : Do you ever think about that with regards to what appears to be the expansion of the institutional space of art presentation internationally? It seems to me that one thing we can say about the last 10. the mediations between the artists and the institutions. I wonder whether you are also involved in thinking about a more purely social. I hesitated and I thought. 30. The Emancipated Spectator (2009). One in which precisely the question is. Also I think there is something very authoritarian in the curatorial function! It’s a way of wanting your ideas to be materialised in the space and to have the control of that space. like Ari Folman [director of Waltz with Bashir. I don’t know if we are in a prepolitical period or more of a kind of interval. are we ‘waiting’ for something? I wonder whether you think that we are in a ‘prepolitical’ moment. I’ve noticed that you’ve turned more and more to the very contemporary. because at the same time there is an internationalisation of experimentation that goes hand in hand with a certain multiplication of the forms of artistic practice. I wonder if you’ve ever been tempted to test the relationship between presentation and theory. An aesthetic project in a way that puts you in a more responsible position. with the creation of a digital mask for filmography. It’s true that there is a kind of circulation of ideas and experience. circulating all around the world. is published by Verso J R : J R : A R : J R : . 40 years before. Are you any more active in that kind of dimension? I’m not directly active. but with the lack of a political perspective. Historically there seems to have been a focusing on what is going on now because of the interest that is being paid to your work. it’s what I’m hoping. in The Emancipated Spectator I’ve focused on many works dealing with the Middle East – Israeli. do you think. no.. Is spectatorship changing. The problem is not blurring in general – there is no point in blurring in general. or perhaps a more dangerous position? I was once asked to curate an exhibition in Paris. where equality is a presupposition and not a goal to achieve. It’s about politics based on equality. I thought. It’s what Godard joked about: that epic is for the Israelis and documentary is for the Palestinians! The idea that there are certain situations where only reality can be taken into account – there is no place for fiction. precisely because of a change in the phenomenon of presentation? Is that a way of looking at it that you are concerned with? For me it’s an ambiguous phenomenon. artists who are working not on the images of war but on what war does to images. The point is that many artists who are Palestinian or Lebanese or Israeli are trying to displace the border: when the Atlas Group creates fake archives. Most of my work is devoted to trying to say we are not in the time of the end – but nor are we in a time with a goal – but this doesn’t mean that we are in the end. but. At the same time. for me. might come or that you might want to come. I’m thinking of Lyotard’s Les Immatériaux. it’s possible to create the frame of an exhibition. I was wondering whether at any time you felt like curating an exhibition. Also. It is not much. I am quite curious about this sense of anticipation. sometimes there is a kind of dialogue. I hesitated and I asked some artists who I knew. it becomes a world of its own. The danger comes when all this becomes a kind of specific scene with the same artists. all the aspects of the relations with the institutions.. So it’s a problem. what do we think we are able to do together? Jacques Rancière. construct as a new form of political subjectivity that would accept the point that we start from equality. And free at the same time from the strategical model of ‘the way to the revolution’. perhaps the idea of a new kind of political movement that could be free at once from all the official notions of politics. political project that might be coming. It seems to be that if we’re no longer certain of previous forms of political activity or political projects. because the institution tells you that you are free. or the same way of doing works. For instance. that’s not my I was reading Nicolas Bourriaud’s The Radicant. Virilio making exhibitions at the Cartier Foundation. 2008].FEATURE: JACQUES RANCIERE attempt at displacing that given form.