( :optinuum

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' La Fabrique-fdirions, ZÜÜÜ
' Gabriel Rockhill, ZÜܬ
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I
Contents
Translator's Preface
The Reconfgurarion of Meaning
Translator's Introduction
J�lcqlle� Rancierc's Ìol i tiL� of ''tic··n:ìti
The DistriblItion of the Sensible
Foreword
The Distribution of the Semibk: Ìtl i tic· and Aesthetics
Art istic Regimcs and the Shortcomings of thc Noti(ln
of Moder ity
Mechanical Ars auu the Promotion of the AnInvmous
fs History a Form of Fiction?
Oil Art ;llld \/or-k
Interview for the English Edition
´l·j;11l1lS- l·· of Pol iricized AÍ. Jacques I\allcii'rc
in Interview with Gabriel Rockhill
Historical and Hermeneutic Methodology
Universality, Historicity, Equality
Positive Contradiction
Politicized Art
Afterword by Siavo; Zizek
The Lesson of" Rancicrc
\pf`'ndi` i
;\ppendix ii
>otcs
index
Clmsar), ·!´.·h·i·i¡ ´c¡··
Bibliograph) of Primary .··+d `LLIndUr\´ S(lllrCS
`11
\|1
|.
.'
+1
´¯
Í.
Ì'!`i
Translators Introduction
Jacques Ranciere' Politics of Perceptimr"
CABRIEL ROCKHIl.
As Alain n:l.di otl has aptly poi nted out, Jacques Rancitres work
does not belong to any particular JCademi c community but LIther
i nhabits unknown intervals ' between hi story and philosophy. het,veen
phi losophy and politics, and between doclme!ar\ ;In<1 h,:tio!1' (l')q;�:
122) + Hi s l1ni que methodology, eclectic rLs'`Lh hahiu.,1Ild '¹ ·r·····
propellSity for assimi lating European intellccrllal and ·u!i·i·¹ 'i···
arc comparable perhaps only to the llllCla ssifiahlc work ·' `¹·'.¦
r()\lCalllr, an a\lthor wi th vhcn ¦· ¦·||·:¦| .`¹ 'n··vl··¦�· !'`1'!J1J
affnities. If his voice has yet to he he.11d in '·+1l '·rc· i n |¹· Fnglish­
speaking world due l! a bck ()! trall,1ario']s : 1n,1 ··i!¬·····: .·onl·
`
literature, it is perhaps ;lttriblluhlc to whar Rdl1cicrc |i····¦¹ |.i·
called the distri bution of the sensible, or the sy,tcm old:·ii·¬· :·u
boundari es that defne, among other thi ngs, wh:1I is visible �ncl alldihle
wi thin aparticular aesthetico-pnli tic:1 regi me.
Although closely affliated wi th the group or neo-ilarxists wnrk;ng
around A Ithusser in the 19()Os, Ranci ere's vi I'ulenr criticisms of | h·
latter a:; of 1968 served to di stance him from the au:l· with whom
he had shared the common project Itrc/· Glpit(;/in i´(5.As Ranci i:re
explained in the Preface to lo lcço·t oÍ//t/:·ct !¨/4`. the thcoreti cal
and poli ti cal di stance separati ng hi s work from Althusserian )vlarxism
was parti ally ·1 res.tlt of the event, of 1 968 and the realization that
Althusser's school was a 'ph i 10soph;T of ordcr' whose very pri nciples
anaesthetized the revolt against the bourgeoisie. Uninspired by the
political options proposed by th in kers such as Dclcuzc ;ll1d Lyota rd,
Rancicre saw in the politics of dift�rence the risk ol reversing `u×
statement in the 1|·c···Ü/ Í::tcrb·tc/: `. tried t(1 tr· Îfor! the ··ìc
2 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
i n diverse ways, now i t is a matter of interpreti ng it' (]974: 14). These
cri ti ci sms of the response by certain intel lectuals to the events of May
1968 eventually led him to a critical re-examination of the soci al ,
politi cal , and hi storical forces operative i n the producti on of t heory.
I n the f rst two books to fol low t he collection of essavs on Al thusser,
Ranciere explored a question that would continue to
'
preoccupy hi m
in his later work: from what posi tion do we speak and i n t he name
of what or whom? Whereas La Nuit des proletaires (1981) proceeded
via the route of meti culous historical research to unmask the il l usi ons
oIrepresentation and gi ve voice to certai n mute events i n the h i story
of workers' emanci pati on, Le Philosophe et ses pauvres (I983) provided
a conceptuali zati on of the rel ationshi p between thought and society,
philosophic representati on Hnd its concrete histori cal object. Both
of these works contributed to undermini ng the privi leged positi on
usurped by phi l osophy in its various attempts to speak for others, be it
the proletari at, the poor, or anyone else who is not ' desti ned to t hi nk '.
However, far from advocat i ng a popul i st stance and cl ai mi ng to fnal ly
bestow a speci fc identi ty on the underpri vileged, Ranci ere thwarted
the artifce at work in the di scourses founded on the singularity of the
other by reveal i ng the ways in which they are ultimatel y predi cated on
keepi ng the other in i ts place.
This general criticism of social and poli tical philosophy was counter­
balanced by a more posi tive account of the relationshi p between the
' intellectual ' and the emanci pation of soci ety i n Ranciere's fourth
book, Le Maztre ignorant (987). Analysi ng the life and work of Joseph
Jacotet, Ranciere argued in favour of a pedagogical methodology that
would aboli sh any presupposed inequalities of intelligence such as
the academi c hierarchy of master and disciple. For Ranci ere, equal i ty
shoul d not be thought of i n terms of a goal to be attai ned by working
through the lessons promulgated by promi nent soci al and political
t hi nkers. On th/: cont rary, it i s the very axi omati c poi nt of departure
whose sporadic reappearance vi a disturbances in the set system of
social i nequalities is the very e�sence of emancipati on. Thi s expl ai ns, i n
part, Ranci ere's general rejection of pol iti cal phi losophy, understood as
the theoretical enterprise that aboli shes politics proper by i dent i fyi ng
it with the ' poli ce' (see below). It also sheds l i ght on hi s own attempt
to work as an 'ignorant school master' who - rather than transmitting
TRANSL\TOR
'
S INTRODUCTION
performati vel y contradictory l essons on the content of em;) nLipation
- ai ms at gi ving a voice to those excl uded from the hierarchies of
knowl edge.
With the more recent publ ication of .¡t: Bord, dN politiCu{ ¦I¹'¹í)
and La Mlj'entrnte (1995), Ranciere has further elaborated a politics
of demoLrÛtic emancipation, which might best he ulldersrood in terms
of its central concepts. The po/icc, to begin with, is defned as an
organizationÜl system of coordinates that establishes a distribution 01
the sensi ble or a la,v that divides the community i nto grollPS, social
positions, and functions. Thi s law impl ici tly separates those who take
part from those who are excl uded, and it therefore presupposes ·¹ prior
aesthetic division between the visibl e and the invisible, the ;]ud iblc and
the inaudible, the sayable and the unsJ
y
ahle. The Lssence ·! /)(/itlcs
consists in i nterrupti ng the distribution of the s!nsibl! | sun¡l·¬
menti ng it with those who h;lve no part in the pcrceptll<ll C()(lrciinates
of the community, thereby modifying the vcry ;1Csthetico-politicd field
of possibility. It is parti al ly lor this rcason that Railciere defnes t,(�
political as rel ational in nature, founded on t1lf inervention of politics
i n the police order rather than on the estahlishment of .1 particular
govermental regime. Moreover, pol itiLs in its strict ·L1`L never presup­
poses a reifed subject or prLdefned group of I lldividuals such,]s the
prolctJriat, the poor, or minorities. On the contra η the only possiblL
subject of pol itics is the p{op/{ or the dilos, i.e. the supplementary part
of evLry account of the population. Those who have no name, \vho
remain invisible and inaudible, can only penetrate the pol ice order via a
mode of J/;jectilJizatiol1 that transForms the ;lesthetic coordinate� of the
community by implementing the uni versal pwupposition of pol itiLs.
we arc al l equal. D{,loCfacy itsel f is defned by these i ntermi tten acts
of political subjectivization that reconfgure the communal distribution
of the sensible. However, j\t as {C1ity IS not a !oal ro be attai ned hut
a presupposition in need of constant verifcation, democracy is neither ;]
form of govermellt nor a style of social life. Democratic cma:·······
is a random proces,� that redistrihutLs the system of sensible coordin;ltes
without being able l guarantee the ahsolute elimination of the soLial
inLquHl i ties inherent in the pol ice order.
The irresol vxl hle conAict between poli ti cs and the police, most visible
perhaps in the pLrLnnial persistence ofa lllrrJllgth,lt cannot be resolved

4 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
by j uri dical l iti ga
t
i on, has led many readers to i nterpret La Mesentente
as a si mple conti nuation of Lyotard's Le Difrend ( 1 983) . Al though a
conceptual proxi mi ty is readily apparent, Ranci ere is careful to disti n­
gui sh hi s p roject from what he considers to be the essenti ally discu rsive
nat ure of Le difrend. Accordi ng to hi s defi ni ti on, disagreement is
nei ther a mi sunderstandi ng nor a general lack of comprehension. It
i s a conRict over what i s meant by 'to speak' and over the very di stri ­
buti on of the sensible that deli mi ts the hori zons of the sayable and
determines the relationship between seei ng, heari ng, doi ng, maki ng,
and t hi nki ng. I n other words, di sagreement i s l ess a clash between
heterogeneous phrase regi mens or genres of discourse t han a conf ict
between a gi ven distri buti on of the sensi bl e and what remai ns outside
it.
Begi nni ng with the publication of Courts Voyages au pays dtt peuple
( 1990) and up to h is most recent work on fi lm and modern art, Ranci ere
has repeatedly foregrounded hi s long-standi ng i nterest i n aesthetics
while at the same t i me analysi ng its conjunction wi th both politics
and hi story. I n positioni ng h imself agai nst the Sartrean preoccnpation
with engagement and the more recent hegemony of the Tel Que! group,
Ranciere presents hi s reader with a unique account of aesthetics as well
as an i nnovative description of its major regi mes. Accordi ng to the
genealogy he has undertaken, the ethical regime of images character­
i sti c of Platoni sm is pri marily concerned wi th the origi n and telos of
i magery in relati onshi p to the ethos of the communi ty. It establ ishes
a di stri buti on of i mages - wi thout, however, identi fyi ng 'art' i n the
si ngular - that rigorously disti nguishes between art istic si mulacra and
the ' true arts' used to educate the citizenry concerni ng thei r role i n
the communal body. The representative regime is an arti sti c system of
Aristotelian heri tage that l i berates i mitation from the constrai nts of
ethical utility and isolates a nMmatively autonomous domai n wi th its
own rules for fabrication and criteria of evaluati on. The aesthetic regime
of art puts t his enti re system of norms i nto question by abolishi ng the
di chotomous structure of mimesis in the name of a contradi ctory identi­
fi cation between Logos and pathos. It thereby provokes a t ransformation
in the di stri buti on of the sensible established by the representative
regime, whi ch leads from the primacy of fction to the pri macy of
language, from the h i erarchical organi zati on of genres to the equality
TRANSLATOR
'
S I NTRODUCTI()N
of rcprescnted subjecrs, Iror the principle of Hpprop·iate discourse to
the indifference of stvle with regard to subject matter, and from the
ideal of speech as act
'
and perf{m�lanCe to the model of writing.
Ranciere has forcefully argued that the emergence of literature in the
nineteenth century as distinct from / /c/'··-/ºt/rc·was a central catalYST
in the development of the aesthetic regime of art. By |ejecti ng the repre­
sentative regime'� poetics of mimesis, moder l iterature contributed to a
general reconfguration of the sensible order linked to the contradiction
inherent in what Ranciere cal| s iitfrarit)', i.e. the status of a written word
that freely circulates outside any system of legitimation. On the one
hand× lirerarity is a necessary condition Ior the appearance of moder
literature as such and its cruuc¡pa|¡oh Iìor the rcpresentJtive r:gi||)
of a n. However, it si multa neously ;lCts as the comr;ld .ctor
\
I i i11 it at
which the spe.ifcity of literatur e itself disappeHr· dlle Ï! the |ct |lu· lt
no longer has any clearly identifahle characteristics that would distin­
guish it from any other mode of discourse. This partially explains the
other maj or |·nn of writing that has been in constant strugglc with
democratic l iterarity throughou| the moder age: the idea of a 'tme
writing' that would incorporate language in sllch a way as to exclud· ¦+·
Iree¯Roating, disemhodied di·ct:i·c oI lireraritv. The 'positive comr;1-
diction' between these two f{)tms of writing, as well ;IS the pa:udox i¦+.·i
defnes the unique discursive ,tatlS of liter;1tlrt' as sllch, has given risc
to numerous and v;Jried responses through the COllrse of time. In other
words, this contradiction has played a productive role in the emergence
of moder literature, and it has also been dec| sivc in setting the stage
for later developments i n the aesthetic regime of art. To take one
exampl e among nany, Ranciere has recently argued in !c/ FaM( cinrma­
tographique (2001 ) that a po·ìtive contradiction - between elements of
the representative and aesthetic regimes of art - is also operative in film.
On the one hand, the very invention of fil m ra|er¡al | y realized the
properly aesthetic defnition of art, first elaborated in Schelling's So···
»{ Ti"lrscOldmtai lJ¬//·m, as a union of conscious and unconscious
processes. On the other hand, however, film is ah arr of fiction that
bestows a new youth on the genres, codes, and conventions of represen­
tation that democratic literarity had put into question.
ln h is critical genealogy of art a nd pol itics, Ra nciere has also dealt
extensively with the emergence of history as a unique discipl| n· [c·
6 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
Noms de l'histoire, 1992) and, more recently, with psychoanalysi s
(L'fnconscient esthCtique, 2000) , photography, and contemporary art
(Le Destin des images, 2003) . Behi nd the i ntricate analyses present i n
each of these studies, a central argument i s di scernible: the histori cal
conditions of possi bi l ity for the appearance of these practices are to be
found i n the contradictory relationship between elements of the repre­
sentative and aesthetic regimes of art. Thus conti nui ng to work i n the
i ntervals between pol i tics, phi losophy, aestheti cs, and historiography,
Jacques Ranciere wi l l undoubtedly leave hi s own i ndel ible mark on one
of hi s pri vileged objects of study: the di stri bution of the sensi ble.
The Distribution of the Sensible
Foreword
The following pages respond to a twofold solicitation. At their origin
was a set of questions asked by two young philosophers, Muriel Combes
and Berard Aspe, for their journal, AliC, and more speciflcally for the
section entitled 'The Factory of the Sensible'. This section is concered
with aesthetic acts as confgurations of experience that create new
modes of sense perception and induce novel forms of political subjec­
tivity. It is within this framework that they interviewed me on the
consequences of my analyses-i n DiJagrrcment-of the distribution of
the sensible that is at stake in politics, and thus of a certain aest |·ììt·
of politics. Their questions, prompted as well by H novel reflection on
the major avant-garde theories and experiments concering the fllSion
of art and life, dictate the structure of the present text. At the request
of Eric Hazan and Stephanie Cregoirc, T developed nv responses ;lnd
chrifed their presuppositions [8] as l¡ as pmsihle.'
This particular soliciration is, however, inscrihed in ·| bro;lder
context. The proliferation of voices denouncing rhe crisis of art or irs
fatal capture by discourse, the pervasiveness of the spectacle or the
death of the image, suffce to indicate that a hattie fought yesterday
over the promises of emancipation and the illusions and disillu­
sions of history continues today on aesthetic terra i n. The trajectory
of Situationist discourse - stemming from an avant-garde arristic
movement in the post-war period, developing into a radical critique of
pol itics in the 19(Os, and absorhed today into the routine of the d isen­
chanted discourse that acts as the 'critical' stand-in for the existing
order - is undoubtedly symptomatic of the contemporary ebb and
Row of aesthetics and politics, and of the transformations of avant­
garde thinking into nostalgia. [t is, however, the work ofJean-Fran<ois
Lyotard that best marks the way in which 'aesthetics' has become, in
the last twenty years, the privileged site where the tradition of critical
thinking has metamorphosed into deliberation on mouring. The
reinterpretation of the Kantian ;In:1lysis [9] of the suhlime inrroduced
1 0 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
into the feld of art a concept that Kant had located beyond it. lt did
this in order to more effectively make art a witness to an encou nter
with the unpresentable that cripples all thought, and thereby a witnes�
for the prosecution against the arroga nee of the gra nd aesthetico­
political endeavour to have 'thought' become 'world'. In thi� way,
reflection on art became the site where a mise-en-scene of the original
abyss of thought and the disaster of its misrecognition continued after
the proclamation of the end of political utopias. A number of contem­
porary contributions to thinking the disasters of art or the image
convert this Fundamental reversal into more mediocre prose.
This familiar landscape of contemporary thought def nes the context
in which these questions and answers are inscribed, but it docs not
specify their objective. The following responses will not lay claim yet
again, in the face of postmodern disenchantment, to the avant-garde
vocation of art or to the vitality of a modernity that links the conquests
of artistic innovation to the victories of emancipation. These pages do
not have their origin in a desire to take a polemical stance. They arc
inscribed in a long-term project that aims at re-establishing a debate's
conditions of intelligibility. This means, frst of all, elaborating the
very meaning of [10] what is designated by the term aesthetics, which
denotes neither art theory in general nor a theory that would consign
art to its effects on sensibility. Aesthetics refers to a specifc regime (or
identifying and refecting on the arts: a mode of articulation between
ways of doing and making, their corresponding forms of visibility, and
possible ways of thinking about their relationships (which presupposes
a certain idea of thought's eFfectivity). Defni ng the connections with in
this aesthetic regime of the arts, the possibilities that they determine,
and their modes of transFormation, such is the present objective of
my research and of a seminar held over the past few years within the
framework provided by the University of Paris-VIII and the College
!nternational de Philosophie. The results of this research will not be
found in the present work; their elaboration will follow its own proper
pace. I have nevertheless attempted to indicate a few historical and
conceptual reference points appropriate for reformulating certain
problems that have been irremediably confused by notions that pass off
conceptual prejudices as historical determinations and temporal delim­
itations as conceptual determinations. Among the foremost of these
F()RFW()fD
!|
noti ol fgures, of course, the Loncept of moderity, today the source
of all the jumbled miscellny that arhitrarily sweeps [11] togethtr such
fi gÎres ·!` H6ldnlin, Cezanne, rlallarmc, Malevich, nr Duchamp into
a vast whirlwind where Canesi;n sci enLe gets mixed lip with t···lì
tionary parricide, the age of rÍ) masses vvith Romantic irrationalism,
the ban on representat i on with the techni ques of mechanized repro­
duction, the Kanri;]n sublime with the Freudian primal scene, the hi
ght
of the gods with the extermination of the Jews in Europe. I ndicating
the general lack of evidence supporting these notions obviously does
not entail adhering to the contemporary discourses on the retur Î
the simple reality of artistic practices and its criteria of assessment. The
connection between these 'simple practices' and modes of di'course,
forms of life, Lonctptions of thought, and fgures of the community
is not the fruit of a malefcent misappropriati on. On the contran', rhe
effort to think through this connecti ol requires forsaking the 1IlS,lt­
isfactorv mise-en-scene of the 'end' and the 'retur' that persisrclltlv
occupi the terrain of art, politics, and any other obj ect of thought.
'|.|
.
"
1
-,
The Distribution of the Sensible: Politics
and Aesthetics
In Disagreement, politics is examined from the perspectilJe of what you
call the 'distribution of the sensible: In your opinion, dors this expression
providr the key to the necessary junction between aesthetic practices and
political practices?
I call the distribution of the sensible the system of self-evident facts
of sense perception that simultaneously discloses the existence of
something in common and the delimitations that defne the respective
parts and positions within it.5 A distribution of the sensible therefore
establishes at one and the same time something common that is shared
and exclusive parts. This apportionment of parts and positions is based
on a distribution of spaces, times, and forms of activity that deter­
mines the very manner in which something in common lends itself to
participation and in what way various individuals have a part in this
distribution. Aristotle states that a citizen is someone who has íÍ part
in the act of governing and being governed. However, another form of
distribution precedes this act of partaking in government: the distri­
bution that !3] determines those who have a part in the community
of citizens. A speaking being, according to Aristotle, is a political
being. If a slave understands the language of its rulers, however, he
does not 'possess' it. Plato states that artisans cannot be put in charge
of the shared or common elements of the community because they do
not have the time to devote themselves to anything other than their
work. They cannot be somewhere elsr because work will not wait. The
distribution of the sensible reveals who can have a share in what is
common to the community based on what they do and on the time
and space in which this activity is performed. Having a particular
'occupation' thereby determines the ability or inability to take charge
of what is common to the community; it def nes what is visible or not
1IJ O:1!JI1'1JC! C! 1IT :I':!1TI
in a common space, endowed with a common langu,lge, etc. There is
thus an 'aesthetics' at the core of politics that has nothing Î do with
Renj:lllin's discllssioll of the ';lCstheticizatioll of politics' specific Î
the 'age of the masses'. This aesthetics should not be understood as
the perverse cOllltllandeering of politics by a will to art. by a consid­
eration of the peop| e qU:l work of ;Ht. If the reader is r()nd of analogy,
aesthetics can be understood in a Kantian sense - re-examined perhaps
by Foucault - as the system of // priori forms determ in ing what presents
itself to sense experience. It is a delimitation of ¹4] spaces and rimes,
of the visible and the invisible, of spLech and noise, that si tllul ta neouslv
determines the place and the stakes of politics as a form of experience.
Politics revolves around what is seen and what can be said abollt it.
around who has the abi | itv to see and the t·ì Íem Î "peal<. ummd the
properties of spaces and the possihi I ities of ti me.
It is on the basis of this primary aesthetics that it is possible to raise
the question of 'aesthetic practices' as l understand them, that is |··¡)+·
of visibility that disclose artistic practices. the pLtce they occupy, what
they 'do' or make' from the standpoint of what is common to thC
community. Artistic practices are 'ways of doing and making' thar
inervene in the general distribution of ways of doing and making as
well as in the relationships they maintain to modes ofheing and f(m)ls
of vi·ibil ity The Platonic proscription of the poets is hased \1 the
impos·ibility of ooing two things at once prior to heing based on the
immoral content of fbles. The question of fiction is frst Ü question
regarding the distribution of places. Frm thL Platonic point of view.
the stage, which is simultaneouly a locus of public activity and the
exh ibition-space for' fantasies', d isrurbs the clea r partition of identities,
activities, and spaces. The same is true orr15] writing. By stealing away
to wander aimlessly without knowing who to speak to or who not Î
speak to, writing destroys every legitimate foundation for the circu­
lation of words, for the relationship between the eFfects of language
and the positions of bodies in shared space. Plato thereby singles out
two main models, two major forms of existence and of the sensible
effectivity of language - writing and the theÜtre -, which are aL'io
structllre-givi ng forms for the regime of the arts in genera l However,
these forms !! out to be prejudicially linked from the outset to a
certai n regime of pol ities, a regi me hased on the indetermination of
l4 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
identities, the delegitimation of positions of speech, the deregulation
of partitions of space and time. This aesthetic regime of politics is
strictly identical with the regime of democracy, the regime based on
the assembly of artisans, inviolable written laws, and the theatre as
institution. Plato contrasts a third, good frm of art with writing and
the the

tre, the choreographic form of the community that sings and
dances Its own proper unity. In sum, Plato singles out three ways in
which discursive and bodily practices suggest forms of community:
the surface of mute signs that are, he says, '!6] like paintings, and
the space of bodily movement that divides itself into two antagonistic
models (the movement of simulacra on the stage that is offered as
material for the audience's identifications and, on the other hand, the
authentic movement characteristic of communal bodies).
Here we have three ways of distributing the sensible that structure
the manner in which the arts can be perceived and thought of as Forms
of art and as forms that inscribe a sense of community: the surface
of 'depicted' signs, the split reality of the theatre, the rhythm of a
dancing chorus. These Forms defne the way in which works of ;lrt or
performances are 'involved in politico, whatever may otherwise be the
guiding intentions, artists' social modes of integration, or the manner
in which artistic Forms refect social structures or movements. When
Madme Bovar was published, or Sentimental Education, these works
w

re imn
:
edi

telY
'
perceived as 'democracy in literature' despite Flaubert's
anstocratlc SituatIOn and political conformism. His verv refusal to
entrust literature with any message whatsoever was considered to be
evidence of democratic equality. His adversaries claimed that he was ']7|
democratic due to his decision to depict and portray instead of instruct.
This equality of indifference is the result of a poetic bias: the equality
of all subject matter is the negation of any relatiomhip of necessit�
between a determined Form and a determined content. Yet what is ths
indifference after all if not the very equality of everything that comes to
pass on a written pag

, available as it is to everyone's eyes? This equality
destroys all of the hierarchies of representation and also establishes a
community of readers as a community without legitimacy, a community
formed only by the random circulation of the written word.
I n this way, a sensible politicity exists that is immediatelv attributed
to the major forms of aesthetic dihtribution sllch as the �heatre, the
THE mSTRIFUTlON C! THE SENSlHLE
1'
page, or the chorus. These 'politics' ohev their own proper logic, ;ll1cl
thev offer their service, in \,er\ different contexts and time pl'l'iods.
COlsider the wav these p<na�1 igms functioned in the con necrion
betwecn art and politics at the end of the nineteenth century and the
beginning of the twentieth. Considers ror example, the role taken on
by the paradigm of the page in all its different forms, which exceed
the materiality of a written sheet of paper. Novelistic democracy, on
the one hand, is the indifferent democracy of writi ng sllch as [1 8] it is
symbolized by the novel and its readership. There is also, however. the
knowledge concerning typography and iconography, the intertwining
of graphic and pictorial capabilities, that played such an important
role in the Rena issa nce and vvas revived by Roma ntic typography
through its me of vignettes, cllis-de-lampe, and variolls innovations.
This model disturbs the clear-cut rules of representative logic that
establish a relationship of correspondence at ·Ì d ista nce between the
sayable and the visible. It also disturhs the clear partition between
works of pure art and the Or;lllent� made by the dccorative arts.
This is why it played such an important - and gener;ll1y underesti·
mated - role in the uphe;lval of the representative paradigm and of its
political implications. I am thinking in parricuhr of its role in the \)'
and Crafts movement and all of lI~ deriv;Hives (;\rr Dcco, Bauh:l1IS,
Constructivism). These movcments developed an idea of furiture - in
the hro;ld sense of the terll - for a new com Tllll n ity, wh ich also i nspi red
H new idea of pictorial surface as a surf;ce of shared writing.
Moderist discourse presents the revolution of pictorial abstraction
as painting's discovery of its own proper 'medium': two-dimensional
surface. By revoking the perspectivist illusion of the third dimension,
pai nti ng was to rega i n (19] the mastery of it, own proper slld�lce. [ n
.ctual flet, however, this surface does not have any distinctive feature.
A 'wrface' is not simply a geometric composition of lines. It is a certain
distribution of the sensible. For Piato, writing and painting were cquiv­
alent surflees of mute signs, deprived of the hreath that animatcs and
tramports living speech. Flat surface" in this logic, arc not opposcd
to depth in the sense of three-dimensional surfaces. They are opposed
to the living' . The mllte surface of depicted signs stands in opposition
to the ;lCt of 'liNing speech, which is guided hy the speaker towards
its appropriate addressee. Moreover, p<linting's adoption of the third
l6 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
dimension was also a response to this distribution. The reproduction
of optical depth was linked to the privilege accorded to the story. In the
Renaissance, the reproduction ofthree-dimensional space was involved
in the valorization of painting and the assertion of its ability to capture
an act of living speech, the decisive moment of action and mean ing. In
opposition to the Platonic degradation of mimis;s. the classical poetics
of representation wanted to endow the 'Bat surface' with speech or with
a 'scene' of life, with a specifc depth such as the manifestation of an
action, the expression of an interiority, or the transmission of meaning.
Classical poetics established '20l a relationship of correspondence at
a distance between speech and painting, between the sayable and the
visible, which gave 'imitation' its own specifc space.
It is this relationship that is at stake in the supposed distinction
between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space as 'specifc'
to a particular form of art. To a large extent, the ground was laid for
painting's 'anti-representative revolution' by the fat surface of the
page, in the change in how literature's 'images' function or the change
in the discourse on painting, but also in the ways in which typog­
raphy, posters, and the decorative arts became interlaced. The type
of painting that is poorly named abstract, and which is supposedly
brought back to its own proper medium, is implicated in an overall
vision of a new human being lodged in new structures, surrounded by
different objects. Its flatness is linked to the Batness of pages, posters,
and tapestries. It is the faress of an interface. Moreover, its anti-reprL¯
sentative 'purity' is inscribed in a context where pure art and decorative
art are intertwined, a context that straight away gives it a political
signification. This context is not the surrounding revolutionary fever
that made Malevich at once the artist who painted !/·tc� 'quor·and
the revolutionary eulogist of ¸2!¦ 'new forms of life'. Furthermore,
this is not some theatrical ideal of the new human being that seals
the momentary alliance between revolutionary artists and politics.
It is initially in the interfce created between different 'mediums'
- in the connections forged hetween poems and their typography or
their illustrations, between the theatre and its set designers or poster
designers, between decorative objects and poems - that this 'newness'
is formed that Ii nks the artist who abolishes figurative representation
to the revolutionary who invents a new form of life. This interface is
THE DISTRlRUTfON Of THE ·r:·U:ì
17
political in |hat it revokes the twofold politics inherent in the logic
of representa|ion= On the onc hanel, this logic separated rhe world
of artis|ic imitations from the world of vital concer" and polltlco¯
social grandeur. li+ the other hand, it! hierarchical organi/ation - in
particular the primacy of living speech/action oveÎ depictLd Images ¯
formed an analogy with the socio-political order. With the triumph of
the novel's page over the theatrical stage, the egalitarian iÎCl|wining
of images and signs on pictorial or typographic surfaces, the c\ev;ltion
of artis

ans' art to the staniS of crcurart, and the new cbim to bring art
into the dt(cor of each and every life, an entire well-ordered dim'iblltion
of sensory experience was overturÏLd.
[22] This is how the 'planarity' of the surface of depictLd sigl, the
form of egalitarian distribution of the sensible stigmatiTed hy Plato,
intervene+·1` the principle hehind an art's 'formal' revolution at the
same time as the principle behind the political redistribution of shared
e`pcrienLe. The other m.1jor forms, among which there are t!o·c ol the
chorus and the theatre rlui l mentioned earlier, could he cOllSidered ill
much the samc wav. / historv of aesthcric politic" I1llcitrstooc ill t!is
sense, has to take
'
into accOl.nt the wav in which these H.I|·I t�)fIllS
stand in opposition to one ;mother o� intermingle. l Ü1 thinking"
|·)r e?ample, of the wav in which thi� paradigm of the s\I|ce ·l
signs/forms entered into confict or joinLd f�JlLes with :h

c theatrical
paradigm of presence, and with the diverse forms that ´¡ paradigm
itself has taken on, from the Symbolist figuration ()f a collective legend
to the actualized chorus of a new humanity. Politics plavs itself olit
in the theatrical paradigm as the relationship hetween the stage and
the audience, as meaning prod\ced by the actor's hody, ;IS g;llll'S ní
proximity or distance. Mallarmc\ uitical prost' writings stage. in ·\J]
exemph ry ma n ncr, the play of clIss-ÎL|ÎenCes, oppositiol
:
s or ass! l11i­
lations between the·e forms, from :hc inti mUte :hcurrc oI t!e page or
calligraphic choreography to tbe new 'service' performed by concerts,
23] In one respect, these forms therefore appear to bring fIl1h<
in very different contexts, figures of community eq\al to themselves.
However, they are sLlsceptible to bei ng as`i¤ned I contradictory political
paradigms. Let us take the Lxample of the tragic stage. Itsillluitan­
eouslv carries with it, according to Plato, the svndromt of democrac
y
and he power of illusion. By is�JlatiÍJg rn·rc·t·in :is own n:p· ·n.i.·
l8 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
and by enclosing tragedy within a logic of genres, Aristotle -- even if
this was not his intention - redefned its politiciry. Furthermore, in
the classical system of representation, the tragic stage would become
the stage of visibility for an orderly world govered by a hierarchy
of subject matter and the adaptation of situations and manners of
speaking to this hierarchy. The democratic paradigm would become a
monarchical paradigm. Let us also consider the long and contradictory
history of rhetoric and the model of the 'good orator'. Throughout the
monarchical age, democratic eloquence ala Demosthenes denoted an
excellence in speaking, which was itself established as the imaginary
attribute of the sllpreme power. It was also always receptive, however,
to the recovery of its democratic function by lending its '24] canonical
forms and its consecrated images to the transgressive appearance of
unauthorized speakers on the public stage. Let us consider as well the
contradictory destinies of the choreographic model. Recent research
has evoked the metamorphoses undergone by Laban's notation of
movement. It was developed in a context favouring the liberation
of bodies and became the model for the large Nazi demonstrations
before regaining, in the anti-establishment context of perfrma nee
art, a new subversive virginity. Benjamin's explanation via the t: ltal
aestheticization of politics in the 'era of the masses' overlooks, perhaps,
the long-standing connection between the un an imolls consensus of
the citizenry and the exaltation of the free movement of bod ies. In
a city hostile to the theatre and to written law, Plato recommended
constantly cradling unweaned infants.
I have evoked these three forms because Plato conceptually charred
them out and because they maintain a historical constancy. They
obviously do not define all of the ways that figures of community
are aesthetically designed. The important thing is that the question
of the relationship between aesthetics and politics be raised at til is
level, the level of the sensible delimitation of what is common to
the community, the forms of its visibility and of its organization.
'25] It is from this perspective that it is possible to reflect on artists'
political interventions, starting with the Romantic literary forms that
aimed at deciphering society, the Symbolist poetics of dreams or the
Dadaist or Constructivist elimination of art, and continuing up to
the contemporary modes of performance and installation. From this
THE DISTRlRUTION OF 1J¡ SENSILE
perspective, it is possible to challenge a good many Imaginary st
c
ries
about artistic 'modernity' and vain debates over the autonomy of an
or its submission to politic.�. The ;Hts only ever lend to prjec" ol
domination or emancipation what they are ahle to lend to them, th;lt
is to say, quite simply, what they have in common with them: bO

1ily
positions and movements, functions of speech, the parcelling Ollt of thc
visible and the invisible. Furthermore, the autonomy thev can enjoy \
the subversion they can claim credit | rest on the same foundatIon.
Artistic Regimes and the Shortcomings of
the Notion of Modernity
Certain ofthe most fundamentrtf categories used fr thin/"ing (zbout (Irtistic
creation in the twentieth century, namely the tÕte7or·Ús o{modc·n:/;. t/c
avant-garde and, fr som(' time now, postmodern
i
ty, a/sc !appn! t(
;
/cnc
a politiral meaning. Do these Cltegories seem to )0n to /otc n·c s/·/·cst
interest fr conceiving, in precise terms, wh{lt tics
'
acsthetirs ' ·o ;o/··. `
I do not thi nk that the notions of modern i ty and the avant-garde have
b

en very enli ghteni ng when it comes to t hi nki ng about the new forms
of art that have emerged si nce the l ast century or the rel at ions between
aesthetics and pol i ti cs. They actual l y confuse two very di ffercnt
thi ngs: the hi stori ci ty speci fi c to a regi me of the arts i n gcneral and
the decisi ons to break wi th the past or anti ci pate the flltue that take
place wi thi n thi s regi me. The notion of acsthet i c moderi tv conceal s ­
wi thout conceptual i zi ng i t i n the l east - the si ngul ari ty oa par t i cul a r
regime of the arts, that i s [27J to say of a speci fc type of connecti on
between ways of produci ng works of art or developi ng practices, forms
of vi si bi li ty that disclose them, and ways of conceptual i zi ng the former
and the latter.
A detour is necessary here in order to c1 ari fv t hi s noti on and si tuate
the problem. Wi th regard to what we cal l {
;
rt, it is i n fact possi bl e
to di st i ngui sh, wi t hi n the Wester tradi ti on, t hree maj or regimes of
i dentifcati on. There i s frst of al l what l propose t o cal l an eth i cal
regi me of i mages. [ n thi s regi me, ' art' i s not i denti fed as such but i s
subsumed under the questi on of i mages. As a speci fe type of cnt i tv,
i mages are the object of a twofol d questi on: the questi on of thei r ori gn
(and consequently thei r truth content) and the questi on of thei r end
or purpose, the uses they are put to and the effects they resul t i n. The
questi on of i mages of the divi ne and the ri ght to produce sLlch i mages
or the ban placed on them fal l s wi thi n thi s regi me, as wel l ·1¬ t he
THE Dl STRl IHJTI ON OF TI ll' SENS I B LE 2 1
questi on of the status a nd si gni fcat i on of t he i mages produced. The
ent i re Pl atoni c pol emic aga i nst t he s i mul aLa of pa i nt i ng, poems, a nd
t he stage a l so [;l l l s wi th i n t hi s regi me. rLlto does not · :lS i t is oftcn
cl a i med, pl ace an u nder t he yoke of pol i t ics . Thi s very d i st i ncti on
wou l d have made no sense for Pl ato s i nce :Ht di d not exi st fo r [ 2RI h l lJJ
hut on l y a rts, ways of doi ng :l nd 1l: l k i ng. And i t i s among these t h,l t
he traces t he d i vi d i ng l i ne: t here a rc true art s , t ha t i s t o say forms of
knowledge based on t he i mi tat i on of a model wi t h preci se cnds, ,1 11c!
:nt i st i c `i mu l acra t hat i mi tate s i mpl e appcarances. These i mi tar i om.
d i fferent i ated hy t hei r ori gi n, a rc t hen di .'ti ngui s hcd hy t hei r cnd 'Í
pu rpose, hy t he way i n whi ch t he poem's i mafes pro·i d| t he S peCLl tnrs,
hoth ch i l dren and adu l t ci t i 7cll S . wi t h a ccrLl i n educl I l on ,1 1 l d ft ; 11
wi t h t he d i s t ri buti on of t he ci · ¹ oCCl l p; ni o11 .\ . l i .s I n t hi s SCI l .".· 1 1 1 .1 1
1 spL·d· of' ·1 Î` cr hi Cll rL
'
i mL of i 11 l ;l ges. I n t h i s rC"l. ; i nl t:". it !' .l · · | ..
of k nowi n g i n \l'h;l t \\,;l �' i mages Il(�dc of bei ng ;l ccts t he //··· t he
mode of bi ng of i nd i vi Li ua I s and comlll un i ti es. h is
q
ue¬ti on preyetw,
' art' from i nd ivi dua l i /i ng i tse l F as slI ch . -
The poet i c - or representati ve - regi me of the a rts hrea ks away from
the ethi cal regi me of i mages. Ì i dcnt i flcs t he suhs ta ncL of art ¬ or
rather of t he a rt s - i n t he coupl e poihslminll�,i;s. The mi met i c pri nci pl l
i s not at i ts core a normat i ve pri nci pl e stati ng t hat an mu` · ma ke
copi es resembl i ng t hci r model s. I t i s fi rst of ;dl a pragmat i c
p
ri nLi pl
t hat i .sobtes, wi t h i n t he gencr;d doma i n of t he ;lr ts (wa\' s of dOl ll " and
ma ki ng) , cert a i n parti cl�LH forms of a rt t hat produce
'
speci fc el�i t i l>s
[2()] ca l ' ed i mi t at i ons. These i mi tat i om a rc ext ri cltnL :J t one and t he
same t i me, from t he ordi nary conrrol of a rt i s t i c products by t he i r usc
and from t he l eg| sl ati ·e rei gn or t rut h oyer d i scourses a nd i m·1ges .
Such i s t he V;l s t operati oll ca rr i ed out hy t he :\ ri srotcl i an ebhorat i on of
Inimesis a nd by t he pri `i l ege accordLd Í traf; i c ac· i on . l : is t he /:(/ ·/..
of the poem, t he Elbri cati on of a pl ot l la n!i n. :lcti ons t h:l t reprcc ;ent
t he ;1 Cti vi t i es of men, wh i ch i s t he foremost i ssue, Î . |c d' ri m'n t ·'
t he cssol (c of rhc i ma ge. a copv exa mi ncd wi th :
'
d to i ts Ill odel . Such
i s r hl pri nci pl L gui d ng t he unct i on:1 1 chan<' c i � t he t hc;l t r i c;J ! l llodel
I was speaki ng �ea rl i �r. The pri nL pl L rq!,u l t i ng r i l l" · · |' d·' | ·
tat i on of ;l wLl l ¬fou nded doma i n of i mi tat i ons i� t hus ar t he s ame t i l lle
a norma ti ve pri nci pl e of i ncl .i on . h devLl ops i nt o for ms of ll Orl1;] ­
t i vi ty that defne t he cond i t i ons accordi ng to wh i ch i mi t at i ons c;l n he
22 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
recogni zed as exclusively bel onging to an art and assessed, wi thi n thi s
framework, as good or bad, adequate or i nadequate: parti ti ons between
the representable and the unrepresentabl e; the di st i ncti on between
genres accordi ng to what is represented; pri nci pl es for adapti ng forms
of express ion to genes and thus to the subj ect matter represented; the
distri buti on of resemblances 30| accordi ng to pri nci pl es of veri si mi l ­
i tude, appropriateness, or correspondence; cri teri a for di sti ngui shi ng
between and compari ng the arts; etc.
I call t his regi me poetic i n the sense that i t ident i fes the arts - what
the Cl assi cal Age woul d later cal l the ' fne arts' - wi thi n a cl assi fcati on
of ways of doi ng and making, and i t consequently def nes proper ways
of doi ng and maki ng as well as means of assessi ng i mi tati ons. I cal l
i t representative i nsofar as i t i s t he noti on of representati on o r mimesis
that organ izes these ways of doi ng, maki ng, seeing, and j udgi ng. Once
agai n, however, mimesis is not the l aw that bri ngs the arts under the
yoke of resembl ance. I t i s frst of al l a fol d i n the di stri buti on of ways of
doi ng and maki ng as wel l as i n soci al occupati ons, a fol d that renders
the arts vi si bl e. I t is not an arti sti c process but a regi me of vi si bi l i ty
regardi ng the arts. A regime of vi si bi l i ty is at once what renders the
arts autonomous and also what l i nks thi s autonomy to a general order
of occupati ons and ways of doi ng and maki ng. Thi s i s what l evoked
earl i er concerni ng the l ogi c of representati on, whi ch e nters i nt o a
rel ati onshi p of global anal ogy wi th an overal l hierarchy of pol i ti cal
and soci a l occupati ons. The representative pri macy of acti on over
characters or of narration over [31 ] descri pti on, the hierarchy of gen res
accordi ng to the digni ty of thei r subj ect matter, and the very pri macy
of the art of speaki ng, of speech i n actual i ty, al l of these cl emenrs fgure
i nto an analogy wi th a ful ly hi erarchi cal vi si on of thc commun ity.
The aestheti c regi me of the arts stands i n contrast with the repre­
sentative regime. I cal l t his regi me aesthetic because the i deni fi cati on
of art no l onger occurs vi a a di vi si on wi thi n ways of doi ng and maki ng,
but i t i s based on di sti ngui shi ng a sensi bl e mode of bei ng speci fc to
arti sti c products. The word aestheti cs does not refer to a theory of
sensibi l i ty, taste, and pl easure for art amateurs. It stri ctl y refers to the
speci fc mode of being of whatever Lll l s wit hi n the domai n of art, to
the mode of bei ng of the objects of art. I n the aestheti c regi me, arti sti c
phenomena are i denti fed by thei r adherence to a speci fc regi me of
THE DISTRI BUTI ON OF THE SENSI BLE
the sensi bl e, wh i ch is extri cated from its ord i na rv connecti ons and i s
i nh abi ted by a heterogeneous power, the pO'Ner �f a form of thought
that has become foÍei gn to i tsel |. a product i denti cal wi th someth i I lg
nor produced, knowl edge trans formed i ll to I loll-k nowl edge, /ogos
i denti cal wi t h p;l thos , the i ntent i on oC t lw \ 1 ni '1tent i onal , etc. Th i s i dea
of a regi me of the sensi bl e that has hecome (�)rei gll l i \sel | the l ocus
for a frm of t hought that has hecome �rei gn to �sel i s the i nv;1fi abl e
core i n the 3'¦ ideHt i fcati ons of a rt t hat have con fgured t he aestheti c
mode of thought from the ouset : Vi co's di sLoveÎy of the ' true l l omer'
as a poet i n spi te of h i msel f; Kant i an 'geni \1 s' that i s unaware of t he |ì·v
it produces, Schi l l er's 'aestheti c state' t hat s\pends both the act i vi ty of
the understandi ng and sensi bl e pass i vi ty, Schel l i ng's def n i t i on or a rt as
the i denti ty between a consci ous process and a n \1 nconsci o\ 1 s process,
etc. The aestheti c mode of thought l i kewi se lHs th rough the speci fc
defn i t i ons t hat t he a rt s have given t o themsel ves i n t he Moder Age:
Proust's i dLH of a book that woul d he enti Îel y pl anned out and ful ly
removed from the rea l m of t he wi l l ; Ma l l arllle's i dea of a pocm by t he
spectator-poet, wri tten ' wi thout t he scri be' s appa ratm' bv t he steps
of an i l l i terate da ncer; the `u|rcal | s t ¡|a.t | cc of produci ng work t har
expresses the . ¡t | ·t` u nconsci o\ 1 s wi t h r he oll tdated i l l ustrati ons i n
catal ogues or newspaper ser i al s from the prcvi ous CtH!I\. Bn' sson's
i dea of fi l m · Ì ` t he f l m-maker" t ho\ 1 ghr wi t hdr; t wn frolll the hodv ·|
t he ' model s' who, hv l l nt h i n k i ngI v repea t i tw t he words and <Yl'S tli rcs
he lays down for th.m, ma n i fcsr rÀei r prope�truth wi t hout ·tl 1 ('
f l m-ma ker or t he model s k nowi ng i t ; etc.
I t i s poi Htl Lss to go on wi th defni t i ons and exa mpl es, We need
to i ndicate, on the contrary, the heart of t he probl em. The aestheti c
regi me `3¦ of t he arts i s the regi me that stri ctl y i dcnt i fes ar t i n the
si ngll i a r a nd f-rees i t from .)� speci fc rul e, from any h i era rcl w of
the arts, subj ect mat ter, and geÎes. Yet i t docs so hy destroyi ng t he
mi met i c harri er t hat d i sti ngu i shed ways of doi ng and ma ki ng aff l i ated
wi th ar t from other ways of doi ng and maki ng, a ba |ri L t hat sepa r;ltcd
its rul es from the order of social occ\pati ons. The aest heti c regi mL
asserts the absolute si ngul ari ty of art and, at t he same ti me, destroys
any pragmati c cri teri on for i sol ati ng thi s si ngul ari ty. It si mul taneousl y
establ i shes the autonomy of art and the i denti ty of i ts forms wi t h the
forms that l i fe uses to shape i tsel f. Sch i l l er's aest/rtic strltl, whi ch is th i s
2+ THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
regime's frst mani festo (and remai ns, in a sense, u nsurpassabl c) , cl earl
.
Y
i ndicates thi s fundamental identity of opposites. The aesthetic state l`
a pure i nstance of suspensi on, a moment when form is experi enced for
itsel f. Moreover, it is the moment of the formati on and education of a
specifi c type of humani ty.
. .
From this perspective, it is possible to understand the tunctl ons
served by the notion of modernity. The aestheti c regi me of the arts, i t
can be said, is the true name for what is designated by the i ncoherent
l abel ' moderi ty'. However, ' modernity' is more than an i ncoherent
label. I t i s, in i ts di fferent versions, the concept that di l i gentl y works
at ¸3+| maski ng the specifi city of thi s regi me of the arts and the very
meani ng of the specifcity of regi mes of art. It traces, in order ei ther
to exalt or deplore i t, a simple l i ne of transition or rupture between
the old and the new, the representative and the non-representative or
the anti-representative. The basis for this si mpl isti c hi stori cal account
was the transition to non-fi gurative representati on i n pai nt i ng. Thi s
transition was theorized by bei ng cursori ly ass i mi l ated i nto artI sti C
' modernity's' overal l anti -mi metic desti ny. When the eul ogi sts of t hi s
for m of moderni ty saw t he exhibiti on-spaces for t he wel l -behaved
desti ny of modern ity i nvaded by al l ki nds of obj ects, machi nes, and
unidentifed devices, they began denounci ng the ' tradition of the new',
a desire for i nnovation that would reduce artisti c moderi ty to the
emptiness of its self-declaration. However, it is the starti ng poi
:
1t t hat
is erroneous. The l eap outside of mimesis is by no mea ns the refusal ot
fgurative representati on. Furthermore, i ts i naugural moment ha

of
:
en
been cal led realism, whi ch does not in a ny way mean the val ofl zatl on
of resemblance but rather the destruction of the structures wi th i n
which it functioned. Thus, novel i sti c real i sm i s f rst of al l t he reversal
of the hierarchies of representation (the pri macy of the narrative over
the descriptive ¸3°| or the hierarchy of subject matter) and the adopti on
of a fragmented or proximate mode of focalization, which i mposes raw
presence to the detriment of the rational sequences of �he story. The
aesthetic regime of the arts does not contrast the old WIth the new. It
contrasts, more profoundly, two regi mes of hi stori city. I t is wi thi n the
mi metic regime that the ol d stands i n contrast wi th the new. In the
aestheti c regi me of art, the future of art, its separati on from the present
of non-art, i ncessantly restages the past.
THE OI STRI RUTr ON OF TIl E SENS I BLE '°
Those who exa l t or denounce the ' t radi ti on of the new actu;] I ! \,
forget that th is t rad i t i on has as i ts str i ct compl ement the ' ncwnc
<
s
of the trad i ti on'. The aestheti c regi me of the arts di d not begi n wi t h
deci si ons to i ni tiate an a rti sti c rupture. I t began wi th deci si ons to
reinterpret what ma kes a rt or what a rt makes: Vico di scoveri ng the
' true Homer', that i s to say not an i nventor of fabl es and characters but
a wi tness to the i mage-l aden l a nguage and t hought of anci ent t i mes;
Hegel i ndi cat i ng the true subject matter of Dutch gele pa i nt i ng: not
i n stori es or descri pti ons of i nteri ors but Û nati on's freedom d i splaycd i n
reAections of l ight; Hol derl i n rei nventi ng Greek tr:lgedy; Bal zac · .'
contrasti ng t he poetry of the geol ogiht who reconst ructs worl ds o1lt
of t racks and. fossi l s with the poetry that makes do wi th reproduci ng
a bi t of agi tati on i n t he soul ; Mendel ssoh n repl ayi ng t he 't Mt/}('1{ '
Passion; etc. The aestheti c regi me of the arts is frst of al l a new regi me
for rel ati ng to the past. It act ual l y sets lip as the very pri nci pl e of
artisti ci ty t he expressive rel ati ons hi p i nherent i n a t i me and a state
of ci vi l i zati on, a rel ations hi p t hat was previ ousl y consi dered to he the
' non-arti st i c' pa rt of works oLl I·t ( the part t hat was excused bv i nvoki ng
the crudeness of the ti mes when t he author l i ved) . The aesth�t i c regi m�
of t he a rt s i nvents i ts revol ut | o¡ on the hHsi s of t he same i dea t hat
callsed i t t o i nvent the museum a nd art h i storv, t he not i on of cl assi ci sm
and new f() rms of reproducti on . . . And i t dcv(

tes i tsel f to the i nventi on
of new forms of l i fe on the basi s of an idea of what ar t ÎÔ¹. an i dea of
what art woul ham heen. \XThen the Futuri sts or t he Construct i vi sts
decl a red the end of art and the i dent i fcati on of i t> practi ces wi t h the
practi ces t hat const ruct , decorate, or gi ve a certa i n rhyth m to t he t i mes
and SfXl ees of comll1un:l l l i fe, they propmcd ;n end of art equi va l Cnt to
the i denti fcati on of art wi t h the l i fe of t he coHmun it y. Th i s proposal
i s d i recdy dependent on t he Seh i I Icri an · 1 nd Roma nti c rei ntcrprnat i on
of Creek a rt as a communi ty's mode of l i fe, wh i l e al so cOllllll uni cat i n(>,
¹¯¦ in other respects, wi th
'
the new styl es i ntroduced b. the i nvento�s
of Ûdvert| si ng who, for thei r part, d|d not propose a revolution but
only a new way of l ivi ng amongst words, i mages, and commodi ti es.
The i dea of modernity is a questi onabl e noti on that tries to make cl ea r­
cut disti ncti ons i n the compl ex con fgurati on of the aest heti c regi me
of the a rts. Tt tri es to retai n the forms of rupture, the i conocl asti c
gestures, etc. , by separati ng them from the col 1 text that al lows for t hei r
2o THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
exi stence: h istory, i nterpretati on, patri mony, t he museum, t he perva­
s iveness of reproducti on . . . The idea of moderi ty would l i ke there
.
to
be only one meani ng and di recti on i n h istory, whereas t he temp\al l ty
speci fi c to the aesthetic regi me of the arts i s a co-presence of heteroge~
neous temporal i ti es.
.
The noti on of moder nity t hus seems to have been del iberatel y
i nvented to prevent a clear underst andi ng of the t ransformati ons of
art and i ts rel ati onshi ps wi th the other spheres of col l ecti ve experi ence.
The confusion i nt roduced by thi s noti on has, i t seems to me, two
maj or forms. Both of them, wi thout analysi ng it, rely o

the contra­
dicti on constitutive of the aestheti c regi me of the arts, whI ch makes art
i nto an autonomous !rm of/iand t hereby sets down, at one and the
same t i me, the autonomy of art and i ts identi fcati on wi th a moment
i n l i fe's process of sel f-formati on. The two [38J maj or vari ants of the
di scourse on 'modernity' derive from thi s contradi cti on. The f rst
vari ant woul d have moder ni ty i denti fed si mpl y wi th the autonomy
of art, an ' anti -mi meti c' revol uti on i n art i denti cal wi th the conquest
of the pure for m of art fi nal ly l aid bare. Each i ndi vi dual art woul d
thus assert the pure potenti al of art by expl ori ng the capabi l i ti es of
i ts speci fc medi um. Poeti c or l iterary moderni ty woul d expl ore t he
capabi l iti es of a l anguage diverted from i t s com muni cati onal uses.
Pictori al moderni ty would bri ng pai nti ng back to i ts disti nctive feature:
coloured pi gment and a two-di mensi onal surface. Musi cal m.del

n ity
would be i denti fi ed wi th t he l anguage of twelve sounds, set free hom
a ny analogy wi th expressive l anguage, etc. Furthermore, these speci
.
fc
forms of moderni ty woul d be i n a rel ati onshi p of di stant anal ogy WI th
a pol i ti cal moderni ty suscepti bl e to bei ng identi fed, dependi ng o.� the
t i me peri od, wi th revol uti onary rad icali ty or wi th the sober and dIsen­
chanted moder ni ty of good republ ican gover nment. The mai n feature
of what i s call ed the ' cri si s of art' i s the overwhel mi ng defeat of t hi s
si mpl e moderni st paradi gm, whi ch i s forever more distant ftom the
mi xtures of genres and medi ums as wel l as from the numerous pol i ti cal
possi bi li ti es i nherent i n the arts' contemporary forms. [39J
Thi s overwhel mi ng defeat i s obvi ousl y overdetermi ned by the
modern ist paradi gm's second maj or form, whi ch mi ght �e cal led
modernatism. I mean by t hi s the i denti fcation of forms from the
aesthetic regime of the arts wi th for ms that accompl i sh a task or flll f l
THE fI STRT RUTI ON OF TH E SFNS I I\ LF
a dcs t i ny speci fc Î moderi ty. At t he root O| t hi s i dent i fl cati on rhere
i s a spcci fc i nterpretar i on o| thc st ructura I a nd generat i ve contra­
d i cti on of aestheti c ' form'. It i s, i n t hi s CJse. the dcterrni nat i oll of
a rt qua for m a nd sel fformat i on of l i fe t hat i s va l ori zed. The sta rt i ng
poi nr , Sch i l l cr's noti on of t he c/c:tlcttc ··/t··ttt··tt o; Í/l- consti tutes
an un surpassabl e reference poi nt. I i s t hi s noti on that cstabl i s hed thc
i de<l that domi n at i on and servitude <He, i n t nc f rst pl a\\, pa rr of an
ontologi cal d i st r i but ion (the acti vi ty of thought versllS the passi vi t y of
sensi bl e ma tter) . I t i s al so t hi s noti on t hat defi ncd ;l ncutral s t1 tc, a st·| tc
of dual canccl l ati on, where thc acti vi ty of thought and sensi ble recíp~
ti vi ty become a s i ngl e real it y. Thcy const i tute a sort of new regi on of
bei ng - the regi on of free play and appcarance - that makes i t pt·8 i bl L
to concei ve of the equal i ty whose di rect materi a l i Zat i on- accord i ng to
Schi l l er, was shown to be i mpossi bl e by t he French Revol uti on. I t i s r hi ,
speci fc mode or I ivi ng i n the sensi bl e wolld t hat mll St he devel oped by
'aestheti c educati on' [40] i n order to t ra i n men suscept i hl e to l i ve i n
a fl!e pol i ti ca l communi ty. The i dea of moderi t y ;lS a t i me devotcd
Í the materi ;l l rcal i z;1 ti on of a hUl11 an i t v sti l l brent i n m+ n | | nd
was constructed on th i s foundati on. It G� n he sai d, regardi n g t || ·
poi nt, t hat t he ' aestheti c revol uti on' produced a new i de;� of p(�l i t i ca l
revoluti on: the matcri al real i zati on of a common huma ni tv sti l l onl y
exi sti ng as an i dea. Thi s i s how Sch i l l er's ' aestheti c st·l�(´ ' heG1 \l1
'
c
the ' aestheti L programme' or Germa n Romant i ci sm, t he progr;l ll1 mc
s umma ri zed i n the rough d ra ft wri tten together by Hegel , Hol derl i n,
a nd Schel l i ng: the materi al real i zat i on of u ncond i ti onal freedom and
pur e thought i n common r()rms or l i fe a nd hel i ef l t i s t hi s p;H·J d i (� m of
acstheti c autonomy t hat beca me t |cncw pa |ad i ;m ' 1'C\'ol ut i on, J nd
i t suhseljuent l y a l l owLd f�)r t he hri ef hut dcc ·| \. Lncíu ntL hetween
the a rt i sans of the Ma rx i st revol ut i on and the a rt i s ans of forms for H
ncw way of l i fe. The fa i l ur e of th i s revol uti on determi ned the desti ny
- i n tw� phases - of l11oderati sm. At f rst, arti sti c moderat i sm, i �
i ts authenti c revohl ti onJ ry potenti al r)r [4 1 ] hope and defa nce. wa '
set agai nst t he degenerati on or pol i ti cl 1 revoillti on. Sureal i sm a nd
t he Frankfurt School were the pri nci p:d veh icl es for t h i s LoHlLr¯
moderity. The fa i l ure of pol i t i ca l revol uti on was l ater cOl 1 cei ved of ·1`
the fa i l ure or i ts oll tol ogi co-;1 Cstheti c model . M·de!i t v t hus heca me
somet hi ng l i |e Ü fa tal dcst i nv hased on a fu nd;l llental |··tt | n 1 ¸
¬
28 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
the essence of technology accordi ng to Hei degger, the revoluti onary
severing of the ki ng's head as a severi ng of tradi ti on i n the hi story of
humanity, and fnal ly the origi nal s i n of human bei ngs, forgetful of
their debt to the Other and of their submi ssi on to the heterogeneous
powers of the sensible.
What i s cal led postmodernism i s real ly the process of thi s reversal. At
frst, postmoderni sm brought t o l ight everythi ng i n the recent evoluti on
of the arts and possible ways of t hi nki ng the arts | n u| destroyed moder­
ism's theoretical edi fi ce: the crossi ng-over and m i xtu re between the
arts that destroyed Lessi ng's conventi onal set of pri nci pl es ccncc!i ng
the separati on of the arts; the col lapse of the parad i gm of fu ncti onal i st
archi tecture and the return of the curved line and embel l ish ment; the
breakdown of the pictorialltwo-di mensi onal labstract model through
the return of fgurative representati on and '42| si gni fcati on as wel l as
the slow i nvasi on of pai nti ng's exhi bi ti on-space by three-di mensi onal
and narrative forms, from Pop Art t o i nstal lati on art and 'rooms' for
video art; R the new combi nat ions of pai nt i ng and l anguage as well as
of monumental sculpture and the projecti on of shadows and l ights; the
break-up of the seri al tradi ti on through new mi xtures between musi cal
systems, genres, and epochs. The tel eol ogi cal model of modernity
became untenable at the same t i me as its divisi ons between the
' di sti nctive features' of the different arts, or the separation of a pure
domai n of art. Postmoderni sm, i n a sense, was si mply the name under
whose guise certai n arti sts and thi nkers real ized what moderi sm had
been: a desperate attempt to establi sh a ' di sti nctive feature of art' by
l i nki ng it to a si mpl e teleology of hi storical evol uti on and rupture.
There was not reall y a need, moreover. to make this l ate recogn i ti on
of a fundamental fact of the aestheti c regi me of the arts i nto an actual
temporal break, t he real end of a hi storical period.
However, it was precisely the next episode that showed that postmod­
erni sm was more than thi s. The j oyful , postmodern arti sti c I icense. i t·
+3] exaltati on of the carni val of si mulacra. al l sorts of i nterbreedi ng
and hybridizati on, transformed very qui ckl y and came to chal l enge
the freedom or autonomy that the modernati st pri nci pl e conferred - or
would have conferred - upon art t he mi ssi on of accompli shi ng. There
was thus a return from the carnival to the jri mal ·ccnc. ÌOwcvcr. the
pri mal scene can be taken i n two senses, c| tncr as t he ·tur t i n¡ jci nt cfa
THE DSTRIB UTTO"l OF Ti l E SENSI BLE
jrccc·· Or u· ( n cri gi Îu l ·cju rui On . `OOcr| ·t li |n n(O | (|cncO O| ì |O
| nc i Oc( of | nc `.i c·tnc| | c cOuc.| | On O| n.+ n t nut `cn | l l cr n(O cx| r. i ctcO
lrcm tnc Í( n| i ( n (n(| \t i c c| i| + lc(uti lu l . ·nc jc·ti )ì OOcr rc\cr·.i l
nu O u· | t· t nccrcti cul |·· t i nO(t| On Ì\Ot( rO· (nu| \·| · c| t nc lun| i �i n
subl i me. wh ich was rei nterpreted u·

t nc ·ccnc of �lo\ i ndi n¡ di s|u ncc
·epu r(ti ng the idea |rcm uny sensi bl e presentati on. From t n t· mcmcnt
onward, post moderi sm came i n|O nu rmOn\ vi t n tnc mOt i r| n: · nO
repenti ng of !11cOcru| i ·t tnOu¡ht· unO tnc ·ccnc O| · ull i mc Ui ·| ( ncc
cumc tO cji tcmi zc u l l ·Or· of ·ccnc· O| Ori ii nu | Oi ·| .ncc Or Or|| n(l
· i i ) . t nc Ìc| Oc¡¡cr| ( n | i ¡n| O| | nc ··¦
·
| nc i rrcOtci ll c .�� O|
|nc i i iì ·\ i ·) lO| | z.¡ l| c Olj cct .ì i ì o t nC · | :(|| Oli \´ ;l S .i |ì i | \·cC h\' [ITI I ( ! ,
t nc \Oi c. O| t nc /l·Ol u|c| \ 'i ncr Occl · r i n· · 1 l i |· O· reprl''C'll t ; l l ! n/ l ,
t nc ren) l lI t i ona ry mu rder O| | nc f : at hcr. |oi ··+·u·· · · |+) | l ¡ t i s |. .· |··
thc ¡ru nO l h rcnOO: O|tnc u n reprcsel l ta l| c Ii n| ruct( l| c 4|Ii ÍrcOcLm.||.
Oenounci ng | nc mOOcr m.i O nc·· O| tnc | Oc( O| ( ·cl |�cmu nci j(| i (· n c|
mun l i ncl · n um( n i |v (nO i |· i nc\| | ull c a nd i ntcrm| n(|l c cul mi n (t| On
t n | ne death camp· .
The noti on of t he (\u nt-¡urOc Oc|1 nc· | nc | yjc O| 'ubi ect ·u i |.ll
to the moderi st vi si on and ujjrcjri utc, .ccOrO i n. | O t ni · \| · i On,
lcr cOn ncct i n¡ | nc uc· | nct i c t O | nc jOl i | i cu l . Ì t· ºuccc·· i · Ou.· | c·· |O
tnc cOn\cn i cn| cOn nccti On | | jrcjO·c· lctvccn tnc u rt | ·ti c i Oc. (|
i n nO\ut| On u n O tnc i Oc( of jc| i t i c( | l \-¡u i OcO cn(n¡·, | n( n |O t nc nOrc
cc\crt c··n ncct| On | t c·|(l| i · nc· Ìctvccn |vO | Oc.· O| |nc (\u n|-·. rOc .
|n |nc Onc n u ncÌ , | ncrc i s tnc tOjc¡rujn | c(| (nO m| l | t (r\ nO| i cn
-
O| i n.
l·)icc | nut marches | n | nc | c(O, | n(| n (� u cl c(r u nOcr·tu nOi n¤ O| t nc
C
mcvcmcnt, cm|OO | c· i t· l·rcc· , Oc|cr mi nc· | nc O | rccti cn O| n i · |Ori c.|
c\O| ut i cn, ( nO cncc·c· ·u|j cct i \c p(l i ti cul cri cn|(| i cn· . Í n ·nOr | . | ncrc
| · | nc i Ocu | n (t l i n k jOl | t i cu l ·u|j cct | \i | \ tO . ccr| u i n |··| · ì. |nc pa m,,
·| l1 .O\unccO Oct¡cn |))cn t n(| Ocri \c· | t· ;l hi l i rv to k;lll |rOm | |· �l hi l i n'
|o rcìl . nO i l!rjrcÎ 'c · | · · - O| n i ·|:r |n | nc Otnc| n(nO. t 'c
I S . i i) Ot ncr i Oc. o| tnc ;I \a nt¬¡a |O: t n(| , i · ·1LI¹ l|I! `Ll ·| : | `.n | l l .| ·
nOOcl , i , r(OlcO | i) | nc uc·tnc¦ | c i | ni c| j.| | On O' | n |·t ·c. ' ' | nc
cOnccjt O| | nc a\' a nr-ga rdc nu· .ì i )\ 1l ll';l 11 l ng | n | n: · ·| ' · · t . .rC(, l me of
tn. ( rt·, | t | · On | n| · ·.Oc O| | n | n ·· nO. Oil r 1�e ·| (I O| | n. . i c�.i | ì c·O
Oct(cnmcn|· O| ( rt . ·t| c | n nO·.|i On lt| Oil | nc · i Cc O| tnc · · · o · O|
·cn·i l| c |·+rm· (nO n·i tcr | ( l · | rt i c | | i ·+· '· · | a ! i k |· cOnc. Ti l l S · · wi Ll f
| nc (.· | ntt| c (\(i ) |-:.ìOc lrOu·n| l í | nc jO¦ | | i c· | · 1 \!1`·r ' .. C
30 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
what it wanted to bri ng to it - and what it bel i eved to have brought to
it - by transformi ng pol i tics i nto a total l i fe progra mme. The h i story of
the rel ations between pol i ti cal parti es and aestheti c moveme|s is f rst
of al l the h istory of Ú confusi on, someti mes compl acentl y mai ntai ned,
at other t i mes vi ol ently denounced, between these two i deas of the
avant-garde, whi ch are i n fact two di fferent i deas of pol i ti cal suhj ec¯
t ivi ty: the archi -pol i ti cal i dea of a party, that is to say the i dea of a
for m of pol itical i ntel l igence that sums up the essenti al condi tions for
change, and the meta-poli ti cal idea of gl obal pol i ti c;1 subj ecti vi ty, t he
idea of t he potenti al ity i nherent i n t he i nnovative sensi bl e modes of
experience that anti cipate a communi ty to come. There i s, however,
not hi ng acci dental about thi s confusi on. It is not the case, as today's
doxa would have us bel ieve, that arti sts' ambi ti ous cl ai ms to a total
revoluti on of the sensi bl e paved the way for total itariani sm. I t is rather
that the very i dea of a pol i ti cal avant-garde i s d ivided between the
strategic concepti on and the aestheti c concept ion of the avant-garde.
+ol
Mechanical Arts and the ProJ1 otion of
the Anonymous
11 ÜÎI o[;·ou·text·. ··oo·sta//··/(l .o·o.ct·o· /ct/t·cc/ td·/¡mo·o/
;/oto··�,/¡ .od{/·n Õ 'mcr/wnim/ ' :///¯ ·dt/chi! 't/; of·:e·/·······
|.n(at· cx;/ain t/i· co·:·i··t:or· ` noes t/ (/|coodt^ Bc·i¡a ·· i(:(r'(1
tiJrlt t/(' n7(I.UCS (Í.\ st·c/ t
!
··i·d ···s·/·/·t;fit tl,c /c··n·. ··
·o··ll( : ('¡/ / / ` `
a·t/· :/c/c/; o]t/· 'mecj,{lI7icr' ·trt·.
Perhaps fi rst l shOll Id cl e;Jr lip a m i Sll ndnsta nd i ng COil cer i ng the noti on
of ' mecha ni cal arts'. The con necti on I establ i shed was between ·1 sci ell­
t i fc paradi gm and an acst/··tic paIadi gm. Benj ami ns thesi s presupposes
somer hi ng di fferent, whi ch seems quLsti onabl e \ me: the deducti on of
the aestheti c and pol iti cHl properti es of a form of art from irs techn i cal
properties. Mecha ni cal arts, quamc/ani.·/arts, woul d resul t i n a change
of a rti sti c paradi gm and a new rel ati onsh i p between art a nd 4¨¦ i ts
subject matter, Th is proposi ti on refers hack | one of moder i sm's m;l i n
theses: t he di fference between the a rt s i s l i nked to the di fference between
thei r technnl ogi Cl I condi ti ol 1S or t hei r speci fc medi ulll or mater i al .
Thi s assi mi l ati on can be understood ei ther i n t he si mpl e moderi st
mode, or i n accordance wi th moderati st hyperbol e. The persi stent
success of Benj a mi n's theses on J rt i n the age of mecha ni cal repro-­
ducti on i s, moreover, undoubtedl y due to the crossi ng-over they al l o'",
for between the categories of iarxi st materi al i st expbn;l ti on and those
of I--ei deggeri;lll ontol ogy, whi ch ascri be the age of moderi ty Î t he
unfurl i ng of the essence of tech nol o
g
v. Thi s l i nk hetween the aestheti c
and the onro-- t ech nol ogi cal h;ls, 1 1 1 fact, heen slhj ectcd to the general f:l te
of moderi st categori es. Tn Benj ami n, Duchamp, or Rodchenko's t i mL«
it coe`i stLd wi th t he El i th i n the clpabi l i ti es of el ectri ci ty a nd machi nes,
i ron, glass, and concrete. Wi th the so-cal l ed ' postmoder' reversal , i t has
kept pace wi th the retur to the i con, whi ch presents the Nei l of Veroni c;
as the essence of pai nti ng, fi l Î, \ photography.
32 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
I t i s thus necessary, in my opi ni on, to take t hi ngs the other way
around. I n order for the mechani cal arts to be abl e to confer vi si bi l i t y
on t he masses, or rather on anonymous i ndivi dual s, t hey '4S¦ f rst
need to be recogni zed as arts. That i s to say that they f rst need to he
put i nto practice and recogni zed as somethi ng other t ha n techni ques
of reproducti on or transmi ssi on. I t i s thus the same pri nci pl e that
confers visi bi l i ty on absolutely anyone a nd al l ows for photography a nd
fi l m to become arts. We can even reverse the for mul a: i t is because the
anonymous became the subject matter of art that the act of recordi ng
such a subject matter can be an art. The fact that what is anonymous
i s not only susceptible to becomi ng the subject matter of art but also
conveys a speci fc beauty i s an exclusive characteri sti c of the aesthet ic
regime of the arts. Not only d id the aesthetic regime begi n wel l before
the arts of mechanical reproducti on, but it is actually t his regime that
made them possible by its new way of t hi nki ng art and i ts subject
matter.
The aesthetic regime of the arts was i ni ti ally the breakdown of the
system of representati on, that is to say of a system where the di gni ty
of the subject matter d ictated the d igni ty of genres of representati on
(tragedy for the nobles, comedy for the people of meagre means;
historical pai nti ng versus genre pai nting; etc. ) . Along wi th genres,
the system of representation defned the situati ons and forms of
expression that were appropriate for the lowl i ness or l oft i ness of the
subject matter. The aestheti c regime ¸49] of the arts di s mantl ed t hi s
correlation between subject matter and mode of representati on. Thi s
revoluti on frst took place i n l iterature: an epoch and a society were
deciphered through the features, clothes, or gestures of an ordi nary
i ndividual (Bal zac) ; the sewer revealed a ci vi l i zati on ( Hugo) ; the
daughter of a farmer and the daughter of a banker were caught i n the
equal force of style as an 'absolute manner of seei ng thi ngs ( Fl aubert) .
Al l of these forms of cancellati on or reversal of the opposi ti on between
h igh and low not only antedate the powers of mechan i cal repro­
duction, they made it possible for t hi s reproducti on to be more than
mechanical reproducti on. I n order for a technological mode of acti on
and producti on, i . e. a way of doi ng and maki ng, to be qua l i fed as
fal ling wi thi n the domai n of art - be i t a certai n lISe of words or of
a camera -, i t i s frst necessary for its subject matter to be defned as
THE DISTRTIHJ Tl ON OF THE SENSlLE
such . Photography was not establ i shed as an art on the grounds of i u;
tech nol ogicl l nature. The discollsl l1` t he ori gi nal ity of photogr3plw
as an ' i ndexi ca l ' art is very recent. and i t is l ess a part of the h i story of
photography t han of the h i story of the post modern revers;l l touched
upon above. 1 1 Furthermore, photography d i d not become a n a rt hy
i mi t ating t he manner i sms of a rt. Benj a mi n accuratel y demonstrated
t hi s regarding ¯0¦ David Octavi us Hi l l : i t i s wi th the l i ttl e anonymous
fshwi fe from New Haven, not wit h his grand pi ctori a l compositions .
t hat he hrought photogLl phy into t he worl d of art. Likewi se. ir is not
the ethereal suhject matter ;d soft foclls of pi ctori al ism that secured
the status of photograph i c art, i t is rather the appropriation of the
commonpl ace: t he emigra nts i n S ti egl i tz's ´c '/tc. the frontal
portrai ts by Paul Stra nd \ Wa l ker Evans. 1 2 On the one hand, the
technol ogi cal revol ut i on comes a fter the aestheti c revol uti on. On the
other hand, however, the aestheti c revol ut iol i s frst of al l the honour
acqui red by the commonplace, wh ich i s pi ctori a l and l i terary before
bei ng photographi c or ci nemati c.
We shoul d add that the honour con ferred on the commonpbce
is part of t he sci ence of l i terature hefore bei ng part of the sci ence of
h i story. Fil m and photography di d not determine the suhj ect m;l t tcr
a nd modes of focal izati on of ' new h i story'. On the contr;lf\'. thL ÎL\
sci ence of h i story and the a rts of mecha ni �al reproducti on ar�i nscri bed
i n the same l ogi c of aestheti c revol uti on. Thi s programme is l i tera ry
before bei ng scienti fc: it s hi fts t he focus from great names and eveÎs
to the l i fe of the anonvmous; it f nds symptoms of a n epoch, a soc i ety¬
or u ci vi l i zati on i n t he mi nute deta i l s of ordinary l i fe ' ¯l ¦ . it expl ains
the surface lw subterra nean lavers; and i t reconstructs worl ds from
thei r \!sLi ges. Th i s does not sillpl y mean that the sci ence of h i story
has a l i terary prehistory. Li terature itsel f was consti tuted as a kind of
symptomatol ogy of soci ety, and it set th i s symptomatol ogr in cOlltrast
wi th the c1 amou r and i magi nat i on oj' the pub I i c stage. ln h i s preface Î
Cr·t)t /tc//. Hugo ca l l ed for a l i teratre hased on thl story of the cll stms
of everyday l ife t hat woul d be opposed to the story of events practi sLd
by hisLori a n'. I n War and P(ace, Tol stov contrasted the documents of
l iterature, taken from narrati ves and tes�i moni al accounts of the acti on
of i n nu merabl e a nonvmous actors, with the documents of historia ns.
taken from t he a rchi�es - a nd from the imagination - of t hose wl l (l

51 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
beli eve to have been i n charge of battles and to have made h istory.
Scholarl y h istory took over thi s opposi ti on when i t contrasted the
history of the l i festyles of the masses and the cycles of materi al l i fe
based on readi ng and i nterpret i ng 'mute wi tnesses' wi th the Former
hi story of pri nces, battles, and treati es based on cou rts' ch roni cl es and
diplomatic reports. The appearance of the masses [ 52] on the scene of
history or i n 'new' i mages i s not to be confused wi th the l i nk between
the age of the masses and the age of science and technol ogy. It is
fi rst and foremost rooted i n the aestheti c logi c of a mode of vi si bi l i ty
that, on the one hand, revokes the representative tradi ti on's scales
of grandeur and, on the other hand, revokes the oratori cal model of
speech i n favour of the i nterpretati on of signs on the body of peopl e,
t hi ngs, and ci vi l i zations . I '
Thi s i s what scholarly h i story i n heri ted. However, i ts i ntenti on was
to separate the condi ti on of i ts new obj ect (the l i fe of t he anonymous)
from its l i terary ori gi n and from the pol i ti cs of l iterature i n whi ch i t
i s i nscribed. What i t cast asi de - whi ch was reappropriated by fi l m
a nd photography - was t he logic revealed by the tradi tion of t he novel
(from Bal zac to Proust and Surreal i sm) and the reBecti on on the true
that Marx, Freud, Benj ami n, and the traditi on of 'cri t ical thought'
i nherited: the ordi nary becomes beauti ful as a trace of the true. And
the ordinary becomes a t race of the true i f i t i s torn from i ts obvi ousness
i n order to become a hi eroglyph, a mythological or phantasmagori c
fgure. Thi s phantasmagoric di mensi on of the true, whi ch belongs to
the aestheti c regi me of t he arts, pl ayed an essenti al role i n the formati on
of the cri ti cal paradi gm of the human and soci al sci ences. '53¦ The
Marxist theory of feti shi sm i s t he most stri ki ng testi mony t o t hi s fact:
commodi ti es must be torn out of thei r tri vi al appearances, made i nto
phantasmagoric obj ects i n order to be i nterpreted as the expressi on of
soci ety's contradi cti ons. Scholarly hi story tri ed to separate out vari ous
features withi n the aesthetico-poli ti cal con fi gurati on that gave i t i ts
obj ect. It Battened t his phantasmagori a of the true i nto the posi ti vi st
sociological concepts of mental ity/expressi on and bcl i eFli gnorance.
°1|
Is History Õ Form of Fiction?4
You refr to the idca of !ltion ( lssttia/ /;e/ongi71g to tie dorlin of
empiric{z/ rM!it). [Oi' ('xact0' is this to !J( um/('rstoor? Vat ar(' tl,(,
(()}JrIr'ctions /;(t1lJ((,11 the fIis/o)" )' UN' ar(' ' illlJo/lII'r/ ' in (/lid tI,(, s/orin told
(or d(con5trllcted) by the l1arrfitil!(' ats·.1 ·d/····ar(' / ( '( Í| If{(' I,(,IISC o/
the fit'! tb(1I poeti!" or Ii/am)' /omtions t.:/.·:/··t1· . ¹·a···o.]!t·. //
than bcing rej('ctior!s of' /he rco/.·c Íh( (()r!CI'ts 1f' !)!/tiCfl! bories ' or
(/ 'communa! !odi mor(' thll i! l1/etrlpj,on? {OI'S this ·c}~/i· inno!!,! (l
redfnition of'utopill ?
There a re two probl ems here t hat certai n peopl e con fuse i n order to
cons t ruct the phantom of a h i s tori cal rea l i t y t hat woul d sol el y he m;l de
up of ' fcti ons'. The f rst probl em concers the re||i olhi p hetween
h i story and hi s tori ci ty, that i s to say :hc r!l at i onsh i p of the h i s:ori ca l
agent to t he speaki ng bei ng. The second prohl em concers t he i dea
of fi cti on and the rel at i onshi p hetween °¯| fi ct i onal Ll t i on:l l i ty ; Ind
the modes of expl anati on used for h i stori cal and soci al rea l i t y, t he
rel ati ons hi p between t he l ogi c of fct i on and t he l ogi c of ltc:-.
I t i s preferabl e to begi n wi t h the second prohl em, t he \1 ctli al i ty' of
fcti on analvsed by the text `fl! refer ro. I S Thi s actua l i tv i tsel F ra i ses
a twofold �uest i o�: t he gen�ral questi on of fl ct i on's ra
'
ti onal i t \" i . e.
the d i st i nct i on henveen fct i on and bl si ty, ;l I1el t he questi on of t he
d i s t i nct i on - or t he i nd i sri nct i oT - hetwecn t he modes of i nr el l i gi hi l i t`
speci fc to t he const ruct i on of s tori es .ud t he l llodes of i mel l i gi hi l i t \'
med for unders tand i nfl h i stori cal phcnomcn;l . let's start froll t |.
begi nn i ng. The speci f�i ty of t he represent ative regi me of t he ;Hts i s
characterized by the separat i on he tween t he idea of fct i on and th at of
l ies. It is t hi s regi me that con fers autonomy on t he ans' var i ous t(l rmS i n
relati ons h ip to the economy o f communal occt t pa:i on·a nd t he coti nter­
economv of si mul acra speci fc to t he et hi cal regi me of i mages. Thi s i s
what i s
)
essent i a I l v ;I t s;ake i n .\ri stot l e'' Poctic, wh i ch sa f�gua rds t he
forms of poet i c �lim(sis from t he Pl aton i c smpi ci on conCCfn i ng what
3o THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
i mages consi st of and their end or purpose. The Poetics decl ares that
the arrangement of a poem's acti ons i s not equi val ent to the fabri cati on
of a si mulacrumY; I t i s a pl ay of [ 56] knowl edge that i s carri ed out i n
a determi ned space-ti me. To pretend i s not to put forth i l l us ions but
to el aborate i ntel l igi bl e structures. Poetry owes no expl anati on for the
' trut h' of what i t says because, i n its very pri nci pl e, i t is not made up of
i mages or statements, but fi cti ons, that i s to say arrangements between
actions. The other consequence that Ari stotle derives from th i s i s the
superiority of poetry, whi ch confers a causal l ogi c on the arrangement
:
of events, over history, condemned to presenti ng events accordi ng
t o thei r empi ri cal di sorder. I n other words - and t hi s i s obvi oml y
somethi ng that histori ans do not l i ke to exami ne too cl osel y - the cl ear
divi si on between real ity and fcti on makes a rat i oml l ogi c of h i story
i mpossi bl e as well as a sci ence of history.
The aestheti c revol ution rearranges the rules of the game by ma k i n g
two t hi ngs i nterdependent: the bl urri ng of the borders between the
logic of facts and the logic of fcti ons and the new mode of rati onal ity
that characterizes the science of history. By decl ari ng that the pri nci pl e
of poetry i s not to be fou nd i n fcti on but i n a certai n arrangement of
the si gns of l anguage, the Romanti c Age blurred the dividi ng l i ne that
isolated art from the j uri sdi ction of statements or i mages, as wel l as
the dividi ng l i ne that separated the [57J logi c of facts from the logic of
stories. It i s not t he case, as i s someti mes sai d, that i t consecrated the
'autotelism' of language, separated from real ity. It i s the exact opposi te.
The Romanti c Age actual ly pl unged l anguage i nto the materi al i ty of
the trai ts by whi ch the h istorical and soci al world becomes vi si ble to

itself, be i t i n the form of the si lent l anguage of thi ngs or t he coded
l anguage of i mages. Ci rculation wi thi n thi s l andscape of si gns defnes,
moreover, the new fcti onal ity, the new way of tell i ng stori es, whi ch

is frst of al l a way of assi gni ng meani ng to the ' empi rical' world of
lowly acti ons and commonplace obj ects. Fi cti onal arrangement i s
:
no l onger identi fed wi th the Ari stotel i an causal sequence of acti ons
'accordi ng to necessi ty and plausi bi l ity'. It i s an arrangement of s i gns.
However, thi s l i terary arrangement of si gns i s by no means the sol i tary
self-referenti al i ty of l anguage. It is the identi fcati on of modes of
fct ional constructi on wi th means of deci pheri ng the si gns i nscribed
i n the general aspect of a place, a group, a wal l , an articl e of cl ot hi ng,
Í lÌ´ lSJRl Pl1l ON OF 1H| SINSH¹ Il
a face. It i s the associ ati on between, on the one hand, accLl erat i ons 'l
decel erati ons of l anguage, i ts shu |li ng of i mages or sudden cha nges of
tone, al l i ts d i fferences of potent i al hetween the i nsi gn i llca nt and t he
overl y s i gn i fi ca nt or overly me.1 ni ngful [58] , .udon the other h;1 nd , r he
moda l i t i es of a t r i p t hrough the l a ndscape of si gn i fi ca nt t ra i ts deposi red
i n the topography of spaces, rhe physi ol ogy of soci al ci rcl es, the s i l ent
ex pressi on of bod i es. The ' Icti otul i ty' speci fc r o the aesthet i c age i s
consequent l v d i stri buted hetvveen two pol es: t he potent i a I of mea n i ng
i nherent i n everyth i ng si l ent and t he prol i ferati on of modes of speech
and level s of mean i ng.
The aestheti c s()verei gntv of I i teratl t rc docs not rherefore · | mou nt ro
the rei gn of Icri ol 1 . On
'
th�comra rv, i t i s a regi me i n wh i ch the l ogi c
of descri pt i ve a nd na rrati ve a rra ngement s i n fi cti on hecomes fu nda­
menta l l y i nd i s t i nct from the a rr:1 I 1gements lI sed i n the descri pt i on :1 nd
i nter pretat i on of the phenomena of the soci al a nd h i stori ca l worl d.
\Xhen Ra I zac pl aces h i s reader before t he el ltwi ned h i erogl yph i cs /l
the totter i ng a nd heterocl i te f<;ade of the hOl l se i n It tf,( Sin ojtf,( ´a·
and Í·/::c!, or has hi s reader enter a n anti que Oea l ers `hops wi th the
hero of The Magic Skin, l - \here j u mbl ed up together arc obj ects hoth
profane a n d sacred, unci vi l ized and cu l tured, anti que a nd modern,
that each sum up a worl d, when he ma kes euvier t he true poet recon­
structi ng a world from H foss i l
,
he establ i shes a regi me of equi va l encL
between the si gns of the new novel and t hose of the dLscri pti In or ['9J
i nterpretat i on of t he phenomena of a ci v i l i zat i on. He fc)'ges t hi s new
rati ona l i t y of the obvious and the obscure t hat goes aga i nst the gra nd
Ar i stotel i a n a rr:1 lgements and t hat wou l d become the new rat i ona l i ty
for the h i s tory of materi a l l i fe (wh i ch sta nds i n oppos i t i on to the
hi stori es of great n a mes and events) .
The Ari x' Î\Ïel i a n d i vi di ng l i ne between two ' stori es' or ' hi stori es'
- poets' stori es and the hi story of h i stor i ans - i s t hereby revoked
,
the di vi di ng l i ne t hat nor on l v sepa rated real itv and fi cti on |u al ·o
empi ri ca l successi on a nd const ructed necessi ty. Ar i stotl e establ i shcd
the superi ori ty of poet ry, recou nt i ng ' what coul d h appen' accord i ns
to t he necessi ty or plaus i bi l i tv of t he poeti c arr angement of acti ons,
over h i story, concei ved of as the empi r i cal successi on or events, of'
' what happened '. The aestheti c revol uti on d rastf ca I ly d i s rupts th i ngs.
testi mony and hcti on come under the >a me rtgi m\ of mCa ni ng= On
38 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
the one hand, the ' empi rical ' bears the marks of the true in the f()rm
of traces and i mpri nts. 'What happened' thus comes ci rectly under a
regime of truth, a regime that demonstrates the necessi ty hehi nd what
happened. On the other ha nd, 'what could happen' no l onger has the
autonomous and l i near form 'o0l of the arrangement of acti ons. The
poeti c 'story' or ' hi story' henceforth l i nks the real ism that shows us
the poeti c traces i nscri bed di rectl y i n real i ty wi th the arti fci ali sm that
assembles complex machi nes of understandi ng.
This connecti on was transferred from l i terature to the new art
of narrative, fl m, whi ch brought to i ts hi ghest potenti al the doubl e
resource of the si l ent i mpri nt that speaks and the montage that calcu­
l ates the val ues of truth and the potential for produci ng mea n i ng.
Documentary fl m, fl m devoted to the 'real ', i s i n t his sense capabl e
of greater fcti onal i nventi on than ' fcti on' f lm, readi l y devoted to a
certai n stereotype of acti ons and characters. Chri s Marker's Le Tombeau
d'lexandre ( The Last Bolshevik) , the object of the arti cle you refer to,
fcti onal izes the h istory of Russi a from the ti me of the czars to the post­
communi st period through the desti ny of a fl m-maker, Alexander
Medvedki n. Marker does not make hi m i nto a fcti onal character; he
does not tel l fabricated stories about the USSR. He plays off of the
combi nati on of di fferent types of traces (i nterviews, si gni fcant faces,
archi val documents, extracts from documentary and fctional f l ms,
etc.) i n order to suggest possi bi l i ties for thi nki ng [61] t his story or
h istory. The rea l must be fcti ona l ized i n order to be thought. Thi s
proposi ti on should be di sti ngui shed from any d iscourse - positive or
negative - accordi ng to whi ch everythi ng i s ' narrative', wi th al tera­
ti ons between 'grand' narrati ves and ' minor' narratives. The noti on
of ' narrative' locks us i nto opposi ti ons between the real and arti fce
where both the posi tivists and the deconstructi oni sts are lost. It is not
a matter of clai mi ng that everyt hi ng is fcti on. It is a matter of stati ng
that the fcti on of the aestheti c age defned model s for con necti ng
the presentati on of facts and forms of i ntel l i gi bi l i ty that bl urred tl te
border between the logic of facts and the l ogic of fcti on. Moreover,
these model s were taken up by histori ans and analysts of social real i ty.
Wri ti ng h istory and writi ng stories come under the sa me regime of
trut h. Thi s has nothi ng whatsoever to do wi th a thesi s on the reali ty
or unreal i ty of thi ngs. On the cont rary, it i s clear that a model for the
THE DI STRI BUTI ON OF THE SENSI BLE `'`
fabri cation of stories is l i nked ro a certai n i dea of h i story as common
dest i ny, wi th an i dea of those who ' make hi story' . a nd that th i s i |l ter­
penetrat i on of the l ogi c of facts and t he l ogi c of stori cs is speci fc Í! :I n
age when a nyone and everyone i s Lonsi dered to he pa rti ci pati ng i n the
task of ' maki ng' hi story. Thus. i t i s not a maner of cl a i m| ng t h;H 6'|
' Hi story' i s onl y made up of stories t hat we tel l ou rsel ves. but si mp! :
that the ' l ogic of stories' and the abi l i ty to act as h i stori cal agents go
together. Pol i ti cs a nd art. l i ke forms of knowl edge, construct fct i ons.
that is to say tno/crt·tlrearrangements of si gns and i mages. re' ati oi 1 sh i ¡·
between what is seen and what is sai d, hetween what i s done and what
can be done.
It i s here t h;H we encounter the other quest i on t h;H you asked . wh i ch
concer ns the re|\i onsh i p |ctvcc| l i tel1i tv ;l nd h i s [( l I" 1 ci t y. ln' | | i ct ì
-(: l tcllerS a nd l i tera ry l ocuti ons produce effects
I
n real i t y. The\'
defl ne model s of s peech or acti on but a | so regi mes of sensi bl e i ntemi tv.
They dra ft maps of the vi si bl e, traj ectori es betwee n the vi si bl e and t he
sayabl e, rel ationships between modes of bei ng, modes of sayi ng, and
modes of doi ng and maki ng. They denne va ri ations of sensi bl e i l l ten­
si ti es, percepti ons, and the abi I i ti es of bodies. Thev therdw ra kc hol d
of unspeci fed groups of peopl e. they wi den gaps. open up space f(l
devi ati ons, modi fy the speeds. the trajectories. and the ways i n whi ch
groups of people adhere to a condi ti on. react t s i tuati ons. recognize
thei r i mages. They reconfgure the map of the sensibl e by i nt erf(:ri ng
wi th the functi ona l i ty of gest ures : nd rhyth ms [ (31 adapted to the
nHtural cycl es of producti on, reproducti on, and sl l hmi ssi on . Man i s
a pol i ti cal an i mal because he is a l i terary ani mal who l ets h i msel f be
d iverted from h is ' natural ' pu rpose by the power of words. Til i s litrr­
rrity is at once the condi ti on and the effect of fhe ci rcul at i on of actl l a l
l i terary locutions. However. these l ocut i ons take hold of hod i es and
d i verr t hem from t hei r end or pu rpose i nsofa r as they a r e not ho¹l i ' s i n
the seme of orga ni sms. hut qll as i -hoel i es. hl ocl�s of speech ci rcu ht i n��
wi t hol l t a l egi ti mate bt her to ;l Ccompany them w\V: trd thei r al l thori 7ed
acid ressee. Theref( )rc. they do not produce col l ectl w hod i e". [ ns tC:Hl .
they i nt rodl l ce l i nes or fracture and d i s i ncorporati on i ll to i magi nary
col l ecti ve hod i es. Th i s has ·i l wavs |cc·. . ì ' is v.| ' k nowll . t he phobi ;l of
those i n power a nd the theoreti ci ans of good go\'trlll cnt. worr i cd t h:l t
the ci rc ulat i on of wri t i ng wou l d prodl lce d i sorder i n t he est.l || i s hcd
40 THE POLI TI CS OF AESTHETI CS
system of classi fcati on'. I t was also, i n the ni neteent h century, the
phobi a of 'actual ' writers who wrote i n order to denounce the l iterari ty
that overfows the i nsti tuti on of l i terature and leads its products astray.
It is true t hat the ci rcul ati on of t hese quasi -bodi es causes modi fca­
ti ons i n the sensory percepti on of what i s common to the commun i ty,
i n the relati onshi p [641 between what is common to l anguage and the
sensi bl e distri buti on of spaces and occupati ons. They form, i n thi s way,
uncertai n communi ti es that contribute to the fonnati on of enu nci ative
collectives that call i nto questi on the distri buti on of roles, terri tori es,
and l anguages. In short, they contri bute to the for mati on of pol i ti cal
subj ects t hat chal lenge the given di stri bution of the sensi ble. A pol i t i ca I
collective is not, i n actual fact, a n organ ism or a communal hody.
The channels for pol i ti cal subj ectivi zati on are not those of i magi nary
i denti fcati on but t hose of ' l iterary' di si ncorporati on.
I
'>
I a m not sure that the noti on of utopi a takes t hi s i nto account. I r i s
a word whose defn iti onal capabi l i ties have been completely devoured
by its connotative properti es. Somet i mes i t refers to the mad dellisi ons
t hat lead to total i tari an catastrophe; someti mes i t refers, conversely, to
the i nfnite expansi on of t he field of possi bi l i ty that resi sts all forms of
totali zi ng closure. From t he poi nt of view t hat concerns us here, i . e. the
poi nt of vi ew of the reconfgurati ons of the shared sensi ble order, the
word utopi a harbours two contradictory mean i ngs. Utopia i s, i n one
respect, the unacceptable, a no-place, the ext reme poi nt of a pol emi cal
reconfgurati on of the sensi ble, whi ch breaks down the categories
that defne what is consi dered to be obvi ous. However, i t i s also the
con fgurati on of a proper place, a o°| non-pol e mi cal di stri but ion of
the sensi ble u niverse where what one sees, what one says, a nd what one
makes or does are ri gorously adapted to one anot her. Utopi as and forms
of utopi an soci al i sm functioned based on t hi s ambi gui ty. On the one
hand, they di smi ssed the obviolls sensi ble facts i n wh i ch the normal i ty
of domi nati on i s rooted. On the other hand, t hey proposed a state
of affairs where the idea of the community woul d have i ts adequate
forms of i ncorporati on, a state of affai rs that woul d therefore abol i sh
the di spute concerni ng the relati ons of words to t hi ngs t hat makes
up the heart of pol i ti cs. I n The Nights of!o/zar, I analysed from thi s
perspective the complex encounter between workers a nd t he engi neers
of utopia. What the Sai nt-Si moni an engi neers proposed was a new, real
THE D1 STRJ RUTION OF THE SENSI BLE 4l
body f()r the communi ty where the water and rai l routes ma rked out
on the ground woul d take the place of paper drea1l1� and the i l i l l si ol l�
of �peech . The workers, for thei r pa rr, di d not set practi ce i n contrast
wi th utopi a; they conferred upon the latter the chr:l Cteri sti c of hei ng
' uneal ', of bei ng a montage of words and i mages appropri ate for recon­
fguri ng the territory of the visible, the t hi nkable, and the possihle.
The ' fcti ons' of art and pol i t ics a re therefore heterotopi as rather t han
utopi as. oo]
On Art and Worko
The link between frtistic prfctice mzd itJ rlpparent outJide, i. (. work, is
essentif1 to the hypothesis of a 'fctory of the sensible '. How do you yourelf
conceive of such a link (exclusion, distinction, indif erence . . . )? ls t/possible
to spefk of'humrln activity' in general f1nd include artistic prrlctices with; l
it, or are these exceptions when compared to other practices?
The fi rst possi bl e meani ng of the noti on of a ' factory of the sensi bl e'
is the formati on of a s hared sensi bl e worl d, a common habi tat, by the
weavi ng together of a pl ur al i ty of human acti vi ti es. However, the i dea
of a ' di stri buti on of the sensi bl e' i mpl i es someth i ng more. A 'comoon'
worl d is never s i mpl y a n ethos, a s hared abode, that resul ts 'o- :|e
sedi mentati on of a certai n number of i ntertwi ned acts. It i s al ways a
pol emi cal d istri buti on of modes of bei ng and 'occupati ons' i n 67| a
space of possi bi l i ti es. It is from t his perspective that it is poss i bl e Î
rai se the questi on of the rel ati onshi p between the ' ord i nari ness' of work
and arti sti c 'excepti onal ity'. Here agai n referenci ng Pl ato can hel p l ay
down the terms of the probl em. I n the th i rd book of the Republic,
the mi meti ci an i s no l onger condemned s i mpl y for the fal si ty and the
per nici ous nature of the i mages he presents, but he s condemned i n
accordance wi th a pri nci pl e o f di vi si on o f l abour that was a l ready used
to excl ude arti sans from a ny shared pol i ti cal space: the mi metici an i s,
by defi ni ti on, a double bei ng. He does two t hi ngs at once, whereas t he
pr inciple of a wel l-organi zed commu n ity i s t hat each person only docs
the one t hi ng that they were desti ned to do by thei r ' nature'. In one
sense, thi s statement says everyt hi ng: the i dea of work i s not i ni t i al ly
the i dea of a determi ned acti vity, a process of materi al transformati on,
I t i s the i dea of a d istri buti on of the sensi bl e: an i mpossi bi l i ty of doi ng
'someth i ng el se' based on an 'absence of ti me'. Thi s ' i mpossi bi l i ty' i s
part of t he i ncorporated concepti on of the commu n i ty. I t establ i shes
work as the necessary relegati on of the worker to the pri vate s oace-:. oe
of hi s occupati on, hi s excl usi on from parti ci pati on i n what i s common
THE I l TSTR l Bl l TI OC OF THE S F NS I BI . E
to t he commun i tv. " The mi met i ci an br i ngs conflli on to .· �' t hi s
di stri buti on: he i s ;1 ma n of dupl i cat i on, ;1 worker who docs two thi n hs
at once. Perhaps the correl ate to t h i s pri nci ol e is the most i mport;l 'l l
t hi ng: the mi met i ci a .orovi des a ouhl i c stage for the pri vate o .. o' e
of work. He sets .. o a s:ag. | what i s common t o the commu n i t \'
wi t h what shoul d determi �e t he con fi nement of each person to h i s (;r
her ol ace. Tt i s t h i s redi str i buti on of the se.s |' e that con8t i tutes h i s
noxi oll s nessº even more · '.· '.da.geof s i mula cra wea ken i ng sou l s .
Hence, ;l r t i st i c practi ce i s not t he outsi de of work |u ts di spl aced
for m of vi s i hi l i t y. The democrat i c di st ri but i on of the sensi bl e makes
the woker i nto a doubl e bei ng. It e-ov\s the a r t i san || h i s o' a.
t hedomesti c space of work, a .d g ·es h i m ' t i me' to occupy the so.· ·.
of publ i c di scussi ons a nd ta ke on the i denti t\' of a del i berat ive ci ti zen.
The mi meti c act of spl i tti ng i n two, wh i cl� i s at work i n theatri cal
space, consecrates thi s doa' :v and -akes i t vi si bl e. The excl us i on of
the mi met i ci ;l I1 , from the PL· ton i c poi nt of vi ew, goes ha nd i ll Innd
wi th t he flI"Tll at i on of a commun i tv where \ork i s i ll i \s pi au.
The pri .ci ol e of fcti on that govers the represl' l lt;l t i " e iCll· of · !\
i s · 1 wav of stahi l i zi ng the a rt i st i c cXCl' pt i on, of assi gl 1 l T1 g i t to a /c/·/:�.
wh i ch mea ns r wo t h i ngs : t he a rt of i mi t ar i ons is ;; recl� ll i qu(' and I lot
a l i e, It ceases to be 69} a si mul acr um, but at the same t i me i t cea'e`
Î be the di spl aced vi si bi l i ty of work. as a d i st ri but i o. of' the sens i hl e.
The i mi tator . s no l onger the doubl e bei ng agai nst whom i t i s necessary
to posi t the ci ty where each person onl y does a s i ngl e t hi ng. The a rt of
i mitati ons i s abl e to i nscri be i ts speci fc h i erarch i es and excl li ons I n
the maj or di stri buti on of the l i beral arts a n d the m.cha ni cal a Îs.
The ;l estheti c regi me of the art s di sruots th is apporti on oe ·. of
soac.s. I t docs .o:si mpl y ca l l i nto questi on mi met i c d i vi si on - i . e. t he
mi leti c act of spl i tt i ng i n two - i n favou r of a . i ml;! nenceor t hOUGht
i n sensi bl e matter. I t ,�l so cal l s i nto questi on the Îeut ra l /ed statll �"() f
tec/me, the i dea of techn i que as the i mposi ti o. of a form of thought
on i nert matter. That i s to sav t hat i t bri ngs :o | .': once ,wai ll �he
d i stri bur i on of o.cucttonstba�uphol ds t he aooo.·o · �· eo .ofl()n�ai ns
of acti vi ty. Thi s t heoreti cal and oo' . · ca| operati on is a· · '. '.a .:
of Sc hi l l er's On the Ant/wtic EuCliol/ o] !vian. Beh i nd . '.
Kant i an defl n i t i on of aLsthet i c | udge-..: as a j udgement wi t hout
concepts - wi t hOUT t he submi ssi on of t he i ll t ui r- i vt' gi ven to conceptual
44 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
determi nati on , Schi l l er i ndicates the pol i ti cal distri buti on that i s
the matter at stake: the divi si on between those who act and those
who are acted upon, between the cul t ivated cl asses [70] that have
access to a total izati on of l ived experience and the unci vi l ized cl asses
i mmersed i n the parcel l i ng out of work and of sensory experi ence.
Schi ll er's 'aestheti c' state, by suspendi ng t he opposi ti on between active
understandi ng and passive sensibi l i ty, a i ms at breaki ng down - wi th
a n i dea of art - an i dea of society based on the opposi ti on between
those who t hi nk and decide and those who are doomed to materi al
tasks.
I n the n ineteenth century, t his suspension of work's negative val ue
became the asserti on of its posi ti ve val ue as the very form of the shared
effecti vi ty of thought and communi ty. Thi s mutati on occurred via
the transformat ion of the suspensi on i nherent i n the 'aestheti c state'
i nto the posi tive asserti on of the aestheti c wil. Romanti ci sm decl ared
that the becomi ng-sensi bl e of al l thought and the becomi ng-thought
of al l sensible materi al i ty was the very goal of t he acti vi ty of thought
i n general . In t his way, art once agai n became a symbol of work. It
anti cipates the end - the el i mi nati on of opposi ti ons - that work i s not
yet i n a posi ti on to attai n by and for i tsel f. However, i t does thi s i nsofar
as i t i s a production, the i denti fi cati on of a process of materi al executi on
wi th a community's sel f-presentati on of its mean i ng. Producti on
asserts itsel f [71] as the pri nci pl e behi nd a new di stri buti on of the
sensi ble i nsofar as i t unites, i n one and the same concept, terms that
are tradi ti onal ly opposed: the acti vi ty of manufacturi ng and vi si bi l i ty.
Manufacturi ng meant i n habi t i ng the pri vate and l owl y space-t i me
of l abour for sustenance. Produci ng unites t he act of manufacturi ng
wi th the act of bringi ng to l ight, the act of defi ni ng a new rel ati onshi p
between making and seeing Art anti ci pates work because i t carri es out
i ts pri nci pl e: the transformati on of sensibl e matter i nto the commu­
ni ty's self-presentati on. The texts wri tten by the young Marx that
confer upon work the status of the generi c essence of manki nd were
onl y possi bl e on the basi s of German Ideal ism's aestheti c progra mme,
i . e. art as the t ransformati on of thought i nto the sensory experi ence of
the communi ty. It i s t his i niti al programme, moreover, that l ai d the
foundati on for the thought and practice of the 'avant-gardes' i n the
1920s: abol ish art as a separate acti vi ty, put i t back U work. that is to
1I| DSTRI BUTI ON OF TiE SENS I BLE
say, gi ve i t back to l i fe and i ts acti vi ty of work i ng Ollt i ts own proper
mea nr ng.
I do not mea n by th i s that t he moder val or i zati on of work i s onl v
t he res ul t of the new way for t h i n ki ng ahout ar t . On the one h;l nd,
t he t{sthftir mode of thought i s much more t ha n a wav of th i n ki ng
about a rt . I t i s a n i dea of th·ught, l i n ked to a n i dea of th
'
c d i st ri but i o�
[72J of t he sensi ble. On the other hand, it i s a l so necessa ry to th i n k
about t he way i n wh i ch a rt i sts' a rt fou nd i tsel f def ned o n the b:1 si , of
a twofol d pr�moti ol 1 of work: the econom i c promoti on of work as the
name for the fu ndameÍa l huma n acti vi ty, hut al so the struggl es of t he
prol etari at to bri ng l abour out of t he n i ght surround i ng i t, out () f i ts
L7cl \i on from shared vi s i bi l i ty a nd speech. I t i s necessan' Î aha ndon
t he l azv and absurd schema t hat contrasts t he aestheti c cul t of .Il f� ) r
a rt 's sa" wi t h the ri si ng power of i ndustri a l l ahou r. A rt L! "how ': i gm
of hci ng an excl usi ve act i vi ty i nsobr . 1 ' i t i s work. Better i n f()rmnl r 11 ;1 T1
t he dcmysti fers of t he t wenti eth cent ury, the cri ti cs i n Fl auhe rt \ l | !C
i nd i cated what l i n kt he cul t of t he sentencc t o t he va l ori zati oT1 of work,
s ai d l be wordl ess: t he Fl aubert i an ;l esthctc i s a pebhl e brea ker. At t he
t i me of t he Russ i an Revol uti on, ar t and producti ol 1 woul d be i cent i f-ed
bLcause they ca me u nder one a nd t he s ame pri nci pl e conceri n g t he
redi stri bui on of the sensi hl e, they came u nder one and the sarc
vi rtue of acti on t hat opens up a fo�m of vi si hi l i ty at the same t i me as
i t lanu E1ctures obj ects. The cul t of ar t presupposes a reval ori zati on of
t he abi l i t i es attached Î t he very i dea of work. However, th i s i dea i s l ess
t he di scm'Cry of t he essence of huma n act i vi ty t han a rccomposi t i on
of t he l a ndscape of t he vi si hle, a recomposi ti on of t he [ 751 rel at i onshi p
between doi ng, maki ng, bei ngseei ng, and sayi ng. \Xhatever mi ght |c
the speci f i c type of economi c ci rcu i ts they l i e wi th i n, a rt i st i c practi ces
are not 'exccpti ons' to other practi ces. They represent and recoÎfg\ Ie
the distri buti on of these acti vi ti es.
The Janus-Face of Politicized Art:22
Jacques Ranciere in Interview lDith Gbriel
Rockhill
Il'J|Ì!|^!^`l IlÌ`ÍlllJl´
`¡Jl!Í!l!!\
- 1 71'(11I!' /il:1' t( h(Xin u'itl, ( f/I/f'st/(/ tntrt// tU J)/(,thoro!o,l'. '· /
s(,7Jrrfr/ Û(ai() o·· ¸·ot ·//into
q
llestioN tilt .1)'JjJt01ll/n/o,r(l' //··tt ··/··i··
t( lImll'i! thc trllth hirtn h('hind tl,(' o/···· ····;· o( ·t/¡·|.t·:··:,
w/,/t/rr it is Althuss(r:, sci.(l /r·t(· cfio/(KJI, or tiJ(' socia! sr/I'r((s
in g('ncral. fn ),our ()wn rc·c:t r./ Ol tile distri/ml ions or /·· '(,II.,ih/c //·µ
und('r/i( hist() ri((!/ ('(nf�llIrations offll't {/nd politirs, how do 10/· (woid tim
logic ofthc hidd(rI rl11d th(' app(zrcnt? loti ti··t/h:ot· ·/·:.t/···¬· /¹//'I
hist()rirr;! and hrrmen(tir l1('t/J(do!(Kl' if 'th('rl' is ÎÍf \llIl /. . /·/ o!
the J,ir/dm .`
- ' There i s no sci ence . l
but of t he h i dden' i s U ph rase hv 8;l Chcl a d
t hat had heen t aken up hy t he Al t husscri ans . Thus , · | W;l \ a n i ron i c
CuotH ti on agtimt the vi si on t hat presupposes the necessi ty of f ndi n g
or construct i ng t h e h i dden. l | was ·! Í` i roni c quotati on d i rect cd ·1
Al thusser's phi l osophv as wel l as at BOlll ' di eu's soci ol ogy or the hi .\tory
o|t he A··as Sc|oo' I by no means th i n k, ror my parr , t hat thcc i s I \ í
sci ence but of the h idde n. l al w:vs trv t o t h i n k i n terllls o|hoi 7nt;l l
d i st ri but i ons, combi nati ons hetween systems of possi bi l i t i es, nor · ¬
terms of s urface a nd sl I bsrra tl i m. Where one searches for t he h · dd|·
heneath the apparent, .1 posi t i on o|mastery i s ··tab' i shed I have | || .d
Î concei v· of a topography that does not presuppose t hi s posi ti on of
mastery. I t i s possi bl e, from a ny gi ven po nt, Í t ry Í reconstruct the
conceptua l network that makes it possi b' c to co|+cc| vc of ´ statel i l Cll1 .
that causes a pa i nt i ng or a pi ece of musi c to make Ü l` i mpreSS i on, t h; i t
causes rea ' i ty t o appea r tra ns formabl e or i n ; l i ter;l bl c. fhi , i s . il · ! \` ·1 `
50 TiE POLITICS lÌ A ESTHETI CS
t he mai n theme of my research. I do not mean by that t hat i r i s .1
pri nci pl e or a starti ng poi nt. I bega n, mysel f as wel l , from the stereo­
typed vi si on of science as a search for the h i dden. Then I constructed,
l ittl e by l ittle, an egal i tari an or ana rch ist theoreti cal posi ti on that does
not presuppose t hi s vertical rel ati ons h ip of top to bottom.
- Does that mean that the regimes ofart are not trrlnsc(nd(ntal ((Indi­
tions ofpossibility for history in the sense ofFOUCfult, but rather conditiols
ofprobability that ar( immanent in history?
- I try not to t hi n k about t hi s i n terms of t he phi l osophy of
h istory. As for the term transcendental, i t is necessary to see what t hi s
word can mean. The transcendent al i s somet hi ng l i ke a reducti on
of the transcendent that can either br i ng the transcendent back i nt o
t he i mmanent or, on the contrary, make t he i mmanent take fight
once agai n i nto the transcendent. I would say that my approach i s
a bi t si mi l ar to Foucault's. I t retai ns the pri nci pl e from the Kant i an
transcendental that replaces the dogmati sm of truth wi th the search
for condi tions of possi bi l ity. At the same ti me, these condi ti ons are
not condi ti ons for t hought i n general , bur rather condi t ions i m-a nenr
i n a parti cul ar system of thought, a parti cul ar system of expressi on. [
di ffer from Foucaul t i nsofar as hi s archaeology seems to me to j'()l l ow
a schema of h istori cal necessity accordi ng to whi ch, beyond a certai n
chasm, somet hi ng i s no l onger t hi nkabl e, can no l onger be formul ated.
The vi si bi l i ty of a for m of expressi on as an arti sti c form depends on
a hi stori cally consti tuted regi me of percepti on and i ntel l igi bi l ity. Thi s
does not mean t hat i t becomes i nvi si bl e wi t h t he emergence of a new
regi me. I thus try at one and the same to h i stori cize the transcen­
dental and to de-histori ci ze these systems of condi tions of possi bi l ity.
Statements or forms of expression undoubtedly depend on h istorica l l y
consti tuted systems of possibi l i ti es t hat determi ne forms of vi si bi l i ty or
cri teri a of eval uati on, but thi s does not mean that we j ump from one
system to another i n such a way that the possi bi l i ty of the new system
coi ncides wi th the i mpossi bi l ity of the former system. I n t his way, the
aestheti c regi me of art, for exampl e, i s a system of possi bi l i ti es that i s
historical ly consti tuted but that does not abol i sh the representative
regi me, whi ch was previ ousl y domi nant. At a gi ven poi nt in t i me,
several regimes coexist and i nter mi ngl e i n the works themselves.
T NTFHVI EW FOH 1! | | lNGISI I |Dl 1l t ) � 51
UNI VERS,A LTY, H I STCRI CTTY, EQLA LTY
÷ ì·· /·· ·ttr .··:·.·tt÷ //·c t/t·/ :···t/ slrltils of/lillull ·¡/··t// / : 'I´/´l7/.'
to ((I1l/mrlia Ihe f,(!('mlizeri histoJ'i(isJlI that ./··t ·.:·t.·t.· your ·!/··//
on rl('sthetics. fJowlver, the 'on{v IIni1J(,J�ial ' is not /rl.l'r · ·t/· .� pri ori
j07lndation, and it is pmper{y spering rl polemiml ullil!ersal that is onl
actualized in spaces o/dispute. Is u)Jlversrilitv therejY"e (dways ·/·¡~d··
on H historical implementation! Í· it, so to speak historicized in t/l r ´·
is there / trrlnsccndentlll point t/rlt C\wpcs his/o}')'?
- There a re two quest i ons i n vour questi on . Fi rst of a l l , is i t a com!";1'
di cti on to e-o'as. z·. on r he one | a ncl a po| i t i Ca l I l n i n'rsa l ;1 nd, on r1 w
other ha ne! , rhe h i stori ci ty of regi -es for t he i denr i fcati oT of an? I ·o
not t hi n k so. Bot h of t|ese approaches refer hack t o : he '·1 Î`J ' r;l t i ot ] ;1 !
core, wh i ch is the cri ti que of those forms of di scourse that i n bet o' a·
a doubl e game by usi ng general ah i stori cal concepts of a rt a nd pol i ti cs,
wh i l e at the sallle ti me | i nki ng hot h of" t hem to h i stori cal desti ni es Iw
dec| ari ng our epoch Í be t he age of : hc 'end' of art \
|
o| | :| c· `´ h.t |
l i nt end to show i n both cases i s t hat t/Í and /Jo/itin a re cont i nget
not i ons . T' he f1 ct t hat there a re .i | \a·· ffll' -s of power do.s nO mea ! 1
that t here i s ;t 1 w;lYS such ;1 t hi n i� ;l S pol i t i cs, and t |·· |· .t t ' t |.· . .
musi c or scul pture i n . I so!i ety docs nor ÍJJ L·1 !1 t ha t ;nt is const i t ut('d .1 >
an i ndependent clfegory. From | | i s pc·spcc: i vc, l chose ̹I d i fferel l t
forms of argu mentati on . For t he foroer, I showed tha: pol i t i c· was not
t i ed to a determi ned hi stori cal proj ect . as i t is decl ared Í be by those
who i denti fy its end wi th the end of the project of e-nci pati on
'
begun
by the French Revol uti on. Pol i ti cs exi sts when the fgme of a spcci hc
subj ect is consti tuted, a supernumerary subj ect i n rc| a : | on |· t he
cal cul ated number of groups, pl aces, and funct i ons i n U soci e:y Th i ,s
i s summed up i n t he concept of the r171S. Of Cot 1 rSe, t hi .s does not
o·c·· ·| there from bei ng h i stor i ca l forms of po' i t i cs, a nd i t does T lot
excl ude the fact that the forms of pol i t i cal suhj ect i vi zti on : hat Í ||c
up moder democracy are of a n enti rel y di fferent cooo| c· · ·v t ha n | |.
people i n Greek democrati c ci ti es.
Conceri ng art, i t seemed necess; ny to me to emphasi ze rhe
exi stence of h istori cal regimes of i dent i flcati on i n order Î d i smi ,s , .1Ï
one and the same ti me, the fal se obvi ousness of a rt's Cferal ex i s tence
and the confused i mages of art i sti c ' -oderi ty' i n t erms of a ' cr i t i que
°2 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
of representati on'. I evoked the fact that art in the si ngul ar has only
existed for two centuri es and that thi s existence i n the si ngul ar meant
the upheaval of the coordi nates t hrough whi ch the ' fne arts' had been
l ocated up to then as wel l as the di srupti on of the norms of fabrication
and assessment that these coordi nates presupposed. I showed that
i f the properti es of each one of these regi mes of identi fcati on was
studied, it was possi ble to di ssipate qui te a lot of the haze surroundi ng
the idea of a ' modern project' of art and i ts compl eti on or fai l ure.
Thi s was done, for exampl e, by showi ng t hat phenomena consi dered
to be part of a postmodern rupt ure (such as the mixt ure of the arts
or the combi nati on of medi ums) actual ly fal l wi thi n the possi bi l i ti es
i nherent i n the aesthetic regi me of art. I n both cases, i t i s a matter of
setti ng a s ingul ar ized universal agai nst an undetermi ned universal and
contrasti ng one for m of histori ci zi ng ( i n terms of conti ngent regi mes
organi zi ng a fel d of possibi l iti es) wi th another form of h i stori ci zi ng ( i n
terms of teleology).
The second questi on concerns t he universal and its hi storici ty. My
thesis is i ndeed that the pol i ti cal uni versal only takes effect in a s i ngu­
l ari zed for m. It i s di sti ngui shed, in thi s way, from the State un iversal
conceived of as what makes a communi ty out of a mul t ipl i ci ty of
i ndivi duals. Equal i ty i s what I have cal l ed a presupposi ti on. I t i s not, let
it be understood, a foundi ng ontol ogi cal pri nci pl e but a condi ti on that
onl y functi ons when i t i s put i nto acti on. Consequentl y, pol i ti cs i s not
based on equal ity i n the sense that others try to base it on some general
human predisposi ti on such as l anguage or fear. Equal i ty i s actual ly
the condi tion requi red for bei ng able to t hi nk pol i ti cs. However,
equali ty is not, to begi n wi th, pol iti cal i n itself I takes effect in l ots
of ci rcumstances that have not hi ng pol i tical about them ( i n the si mpl e
fact, for exampl e, that two i nterlocutors can understand one another) .
Secondly, equali ty only generates pol i t ics when it is i mpl emented i n the
speci fc for m of a parti cul ar case of dissensus.
- Is this actualization of equali�y also to be found in aesthetics, find
more specicall in what you cal democratic writing? i· it the samc
universal presupposition that is at work?
- I do not set down equal i ty as a ki nd of transcendental goveri ng
every sphere of acti vity, and thus art i n parti cul ar. That s;l i d, art as
we k now i t in the aestheti c regi me i s the i mpl emLntat ion of a cert ai n
| N1||¹V| |V l l! 1l l l lNC| l ' l I ÌÌ1Î !¯
equal i ty. I t i s hased on t he des r rucr i oJl of t he h i elrLh i ca l ^ \ ·ÎLI1` ·'
t he fne a ns. Th i � docs not mean, however, t hat equal i t y i n
'
gcnLra ' .
pol i t i cal e,] ua l i t)" a n d aest het i c LquU l i ty a re a l l eql l i va l ent . Li rcrat ll re s
general condi t i on as a modern form of the ar t of wri t i ng i s what I
have cal l ed, by rerouti ng the Pl aton ic Li t i que. the democracy of thc
wri tten word. However, the democr;l cv of t he wri t ten word is nor vet
democraLy as a pol it i ca l form, And l i t�ra ry equal i t) l ^ nor s i mph' ;he
equal i ty of the wri tten word; i t i s a certa i n \VJ\ i n wh i ch equa l i t y L|
funct i on t hat Cl n tend to di st ance it frolll ;l nv form of pol i t i cal eqlLd i t v,
To s t ate i t verv crudely, l i tcraru re was formed i n t he n i neteenth Lcnt ury
hy est abl i s h i l �g i ts o\;' n proper equ a l i t v. Fl auberts equal i t v or ^t \'l L ¦ ·
t hus at once an i mpl ementat i on of t he democracy of t he wr i r ren word
and its refutati on. Moreovcr, thi s equal i ty of stl e a i ms ar reveÜl i ng
an i mmaTwnt equal i ty, a passive equal i ty of a l l t hi ngs t hat s ra nds i n

bvious contrast wi t h the pol i ti Ll s l lhj ect i vi zat i on of equa l i ty i n i | ' : |·
forms.
,
- \'/ ft thclI (ÍÌ|´ thc hlli r/sti( ./·//.tu!.t¡r oj' tie t/n/totì /J:·/t ··/t / i
;/Ì t.7/·//i//u; tÍc lIItljoJ t/cu{t: /c·cc·: //t::t// ct·/ tun ·t····
·/tt \' do ´0lt ,ro,o:c the /otiol o1cqtt:t/t!: (or thi7ll:ing ff, mll
g
/} //·
-'jll'lI/7eit11 oj' thl' .tc·//·c//c rt(ti·ì: [ //·. ·/· tt):!··tn o/{!((,I',, f iilg
·// ·
'
/
t/c ,rct0utct/c/ o,tt¡tot· /Ì / thc (/cstllll' II/ /i7or/eru fir!: the /··/·/t//····
/0/·· t/e |c,rc:ct)/.Utt· to t!c lI(1 fl - r(yJ/,'.I I'I· til tii', t/·c i1'f//tz.f!tio/l oj' llli'
autonotrlV o/t/e nc:!/clt: ·,/crc, nr/ .· // t!i·tt):t!ttc /1t|/, c!: ´

- Once aga i n, T a m not propos i l1 g (,
<
LT �\ l i t v as �l cOl 1 ceptll a l \Í
|or art , but l th i n k that thc noti on
'
of aes rl �Lti c ell ual i t v al l ows l � t�
ret hi l1 k certa i n i ncoherent cHcgori cs i ntegra l to wi L! i s cal l ed a rt i stI C
' moder i t) . lets ta ke i nt ra n·i t i \ i t v fo� exampl e, I mf;l l l\i t i l' i r y i ,
suppoed t o mean t hat wri ters wi l l hel1cd() rth deal wi t h l anguage
i ns tead of tel l i ng a story, l t har pai nters wi l l d i s t r i hute |ì c'l of �ol ( l r
i nstead of pa i nti ng w·1hIses l n aked women ( Mau r i ce Dcn i s ) .
However, th i s supposed d i s mi ssa l of · : : || cc mat ter f rst presuppos es
the est ahl i s h mcnt of a regi me of equal i ty regard i n g subj ect matter.
Thi s is what ' represent at i on' was i n the f rs t pl ace, not resemhl ance
as some appear Í hel i eve, bur t he exi stence of necessan' con TWC­
t i ons hccween a tnJe of s ubj ect mar rer and a form of exprcs
·
si on. 1l · ·
i s how r he h i era rchy of
gen res fu nct i oned i n poe t rv or p:l i nt i ng, "
' I ntra ns i r i vc' I i tcr:1 t l l rc or p1 i nÍ i ng
!À'. ¡ I' ' fi r , t c' | ' .· 1 ( ) 1' 111 of l i t c: l tl l rC
°+ THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
or pai nti ng freed from the systems of expressi on that make a parti cul a r
sort of l anguage, a parti cul ar ki nd of composi ti on, or possi bl y a
parti cul ar type of colour appropri ate for the nobi l i ty or banal i ty of a
speci fi c subj ect matter. The concept of i ntransi ti vi ty does not al low
us to understand thi s. It i s cl ear that thi s concept does not work i n
l i terature. I n a way, l i terature always says somethi ng. I t s i mpl y says i t i n
modes that are set off from a certai n standard i dea of a message. Some
have attempted to contrast l iterary i ntransi ti vi ty wi th communi cati on,
but the l anguage of l i terature can be as transparent as the l anguage
of communicati on. What functi ons di fferentl y i s the rel ati onshi p
between sayi ng and mean i ng. Thi s i s where a di vi di ng l i ne becomes
vi si bl e, whi ch coi nci des with the i mpl ementation of another form of
equal i ty, not the equal i ty of communi cators but the equal i ty of the
communi cated. Li kewise, for abstract pai nt i ng to appear, i t i s h rst
necessary that the subject matter of pai nt i ng be consi dered a mat ter of
i ndi fference. Thi s began wi th the i dea that pai nti ng a cook wi th her
ki tchen utensi l s was as noble as pai nt i ng a general on a battl ehel d. In
l i terature, it began wi th the i dea that it was not necessary to adopt a
parti cul ar style to wri te about nobl es, bou rgeoi s, peasants, pri nces, or
valets. The equal i ty of subject matter and the i nd i fference regard | ng
modes of expressi on i s pri or to the possi bil i ty of abandon i ng a I I subj ect
matter for abstracti on. The former i s the condi ti on of the latter.
I am not l ooki ng to establ ish a way of thi nki ng modern ar t on the
basi s of equal ity. I t ry to show that there are ·everal ki nds of cqual i ty at
play, that l i terary equal i ty i s not the same t hi ng as democrat i c equa l i t y
or t he universal exchangeabi l i ty of commoditi es.
- Regarding the d�frent forms ofequality, how do you distinguish
writing, criticized by Plato as an orphan letter that freel cirCiliates without
knowing who it should {lddress, and the indfnt fow ofCtlpit{z/? More
specic{dl, how do you distinguish, in the nineteenth centur
y
, hetUeen
the litertlry equality that you pinpoint in an allthor like Fhcrt c~the
equality ofexchange?
- The equal i ty of the wri tten word is not the same t h i ng as the
equal i ty of exchange. The democracy of thc wri tten word does not
come down to the arbi trary nature of si gns. \'hen Plato cri ti ci zes
the avai l abi l i ty of the wri tten word, he cal l s i nto questi on a for m of
unsupervi sed appropri ati on of language that l eads to the corr upti on or
I NTF. RVI FW rOR TT T F. E:( ; US I I EDI TI ON
l egi t i maLy+ The ci rcul at i on of the wri t ten word destroys t he pri nci pl e
of l egi ti macy t hat wou l e havc t he ci rcu ! at i on of ! a nguage he <; uch t hat
i t l eaves t he proper t ra ns mi t ter a nd goe· Î t'e proper recei ver by t he
proper cha n nel . ' Proper' l a nguage i s gua ra meed by a proper d i s t ri hut i on
of bodi es. The wri tten word opens up a space of ra ndom a ppropri at i on,
establ i shL· a pri nci pl e of u nt a med d i fference t h,H i s a l together u n l i ke
t he u n i versa l exchangeabi l i ty of cOTll ll1od i t i es. To put it VCV crudel \',
you ca nnot l ay your h ands on capi Ll i l i ke you un l av your hands nn
t he wri tten word . The pl av of hnguage wi t hout h i era rchy t har vi ohrcs
an order hased on the h i era rchy of l anguage i s somet h i ng corpi cteh'
d i fferent t han the s i mpl e fact that a euro i s worth a eum and t hat two
commodi t ies that arc worth a eur arc c
u
u| val ent to one another. I t is
a matter of knowi ng i f absol utel y anyone can ta ke over a nd red i rect
the power i nvestcd in l anguage. Thi s presupposes a rod i fi ut i on i ll
t he rel at i ons h i p between t he ci rcu l at i on of l a nguage and t he s(l ei ;l l
d i s t ri hut i on o f hod i es, whi ch i s not a t ;1 1 1 a t p lay i n s i mpl e moneLHV
excha nge.
An i dea of democrac;' h;l S |c·· const ructed accord i ng l vvh i ch
del l10cracv wou l d be t he s i mpl e s \' stelll of' i n di fference v|.|c ol le
vote · · equa l Î a not her j ust as a cent i s wort h a cent, a nd where rhe
' equal i t y of con di t i om' wOl l l d he equa l Î moneta ry equi va l ence. rror
t hi s perspect i ve, i t i s possi bl e Í posi t l i tera ry i nd i fference, Fhl l hert's
i nel i fference of styl e for exampl e, as a n;l l ogol l s to democr at i c · nd
commerci ;l l i nd i fference. However, l t h i n k t hat i t i s preci sel y .| t hi s
poi nt th; ! t i t i s necess ary Í hri ng t he d i fferences hack i mo pi a\'. There
i s not an a na l ogy hut a c·o|¹ .t hcween f�)rll1s of equ;l l i ty, wh i ch i t sel f
hl Tl ct i ons ;l t severa l l cw' l s i n l i tcLl tl l lT. Let'. r; l ke .ìJtc/·//··· /·/·/rj·H` ;I n
exa mpl e. |· t he ol l e h;1 nd, t he ; l bsol ut i z;l t l oll of st;, i c correspond, to ·l
pr i nci pl e of del1l Ocrar i c equa l i ty. The adul terv cOll1 mi t t ed h;' ;l hrlcr\
daughter i s ·1 ' i nt eres t i ng as t he heroi c acti ons of great men. ivl oreover,
at a t i me when nearl y everyone k nows how Í re;l(L a l most ;l Iwonc ha.s
access, as a res ul t of the ega l i tari a n ci rcui :J t i on of wri t i ng, Í : hc h.·
ti oLl s l i fe of Emma Bov;l ry and can ma ke i t t hei r own . Consequent l y,
t here i s a veri tabl e harmony hetween the ra ndoll1 ci rcul at i on of t he
wri t ten word ;l l l d a certa i n l i terarv ahsol ute. On t he other ha nc! .
however, Fhuhert const ructs hi s l i tcLHY eql l a l i t v i n oppos i t i oll t o t he
ra ndom ci rcul at i on of t he wri tten word and to the type of a.· |c: · c
°o THE POLITICS OF AESTHETI CS
equal i ty i t produces, At t he hea rt of Madame B01ary there i s a struggl e
between two forms of equal i ty. l i: one sense, Em ma Bovary i s the
heroi ne of a certai n aestheti c democracy, She wa nts to br i ng ar t i nr o
her l i fe, both i nto her love l i fe a nd i nto the decor of her home. The
novel i s constructed as a constant pol emi c agai nst a farm gi rl \ de� i re
to bri ng ar t i nto l i fe. It contrasts ' art i n l i fe' (th i s wi l l l ater be cal l ed
the aesthetici zati on of dai l y l i fe) wi th a form of art that i s i n hooks a nd
onl y i n books.
Nonethel ess, nei ther art i n books nor art i n l i fe i s synonymous wi th
democracy as a for m for construct i ng di ssensus over ' the given' of
publ i c l i fe, Nei ther the former nor the l atter, moreover, i s equi val ent
to t he i ndi fference i nherent i n t he rei gn of commod i ti es a nd t he rei gn
of money. Fl aubert constructs a l iterary i ndi fference t hat ma i nt a i ns
a d istance from any poli t ical subject i vi zati oll. He asserts a mol ecul ar
equal i ty of affects that stands i n opposi ti on to the mol ar equal i ty of
subj ects constructi ng a democrati c pol i t ical scene, Thi s is s ummed up
i n t he phrase where he says he i s less i nterested i n someone dressed i n
rags t han i n t he l i ce t hat are feedi ng on h i m, l ess i nterested i n soci al
i nequal it y t han i n mol ecul ar equality. He constructs h i s book as an
i mplementati on of the microscopi c equa l i ty t hat make� each sentence
equal to another - not i n length but i n i ntensi t y - a nd that ma ke�
each sentence, i n the end, equal | the eni re hoole He const ructs t hi s
equal i t y i n opposi ti on to several other ki nds of equal i ty. commerci al
equal ity, democrati c pol i t i cal equal ity, or equal i ty as a l i festyl e such as
t he equal i t y hi s heroi ne tri es t o put i nto practi ce,
POSITI VE CONTRADICTION
- What is the historical status ofthe contradiction between incorporation
and disincorporation - the struggle between body find spirit - thflt you find
at work in Haubert as well as in Balzac, Malarme, and Proust? l'hy hilS
this contradiction been í¿ crucial determining factor fr modern literr
;
turc,
as weLL as fr egaLitiriiln democriC?
- I ncorporati on and di si ncorporati on do not mean body a nd spi r i t .
I n t he Chri sti an tradi ti on, body and spi ri t go together and sta nd i n
opposi ti on to the ' dead l etter', Language i s i ncorporated when i t i s
I NTERVI EW FOR THE LNCUS H U)ITI ( ) ] ¯
guara nteed by a body or H ma|eri a l state: it i s d i s i ncorporaTed when
the onl y materi Ü d i ty t int supports i t i s if own. The con fl i ct hcrwecn
these two sCl tes of l a nguage i s .1 the heart or l i t cr ;l t ure .,uch as i t
V. IS dew' l oped i ll ||c n i neteent h ccn t t l f\' ·IS a l l .i·r |c: c regi me of
wri t i ng. I n one respect. '. |c|.i | . · re |t .I | \ S d i si nC(lrpor;l t i oJ l. The r r;1 < 1 i ­
t i on:l l expressi ve rel ati onsh i ps hetween words, I tTl i ngs . a nd posi t i ons
col l apsed a t t he S·l me t i me as t he ' soci .1 ! |i er;J rch i e.' they corresponded
roo There were no l onger nobl e words and i gnobl e words, J ust a, there
was no l onger nobl e subj ect matter a nd i gnobl c subj ect mat ter. The
arrangement of words was no l onger guara nteed by an ordered system
of appropri ateness between words a nd hod i es. There was, on the one
hUnd , a vast egal i tari an surEce of free words that coul d ul t i matel y
a moul l t to t he l i mi t l ess i ndi fferent chatter of the worl d. On the ot |er
hand, ho\vever, there was t he des i re t o repL1ce the ol d express i ve LI!\' `
t i ons wi th a d i rect rel at i onsh i p between the potcoti .ì i of words a nd t ht
potent i al of bod i es, where l anguage woul d he the d i rect expressi oll o(
a potent i al for bei ng t hat was i mma nent i n hei ngs. Thi s i s wbt i s ;It
work i n Ba l zac, as l have attempted to show i n l.t Paro/c mlIc!!c �l nd
The Flesh ofliord,. I n hi s work, i t i s the th i ngs themsel ves t hat speak.
The course of dest i ny i s a l ready wri tten on t|e EH ;;HI c of a house or Oi l
t he cl oth i ng worn by a n i ndi vi dua l . An ' everyth i ng ·peaks' ( Nova l i s)
i s i mma nent i n t hi ngs, a nd l i teratll re concei ves or i |scl f .ì · a revi va l .
·1 Í! u n fu rl i ng, a deLi pher. ng of t h i s ' even· th i ng spea ks'. I t dre:J lls nf
con; ;t rl l ct i ng a new hod:' for vvri ti ng on th i s foundat i ol l . Thi s wi l l l ater
hecome Ri mhaud's proj ect i n devel opi ng an 'Al chemy of :he \Vod' o
MÜ l l a rrI` \ d rea Tll of Û poem choreograph i ng the movements of the
I dea, before hecomi ng t he Fut u ri st l a ngua ge of new energi es or the
Surrea l i st d re:J m of a l a nguHge of des i re that can |c read i n graffti .
shop si gm, or catHl ogues of om-or-date merkha ndi se.
The ni neteenth centu ry was haunted - negati vel y - by t he Pl atoni c
parad i gm of t he democrat ic di ssol uti on of the soci al hody, by t he
|nci ful cor rel ati on between democracv/i nd i vi du;l l i sm/ Protestanti sm!
revol uti on /the d i s i ntegrati on of the socia 1 bond. Th i s L| n be expressed
in more or l ess poet i c or sci ent i fi c terms (soci ol ogy as a sci ence V· IS
horn from th i s ohsessi on wi th the l ost soci a l hond) , more or l ess
reacti onary or progressi ve terms, hut the ent i re cent u ry was hau nted
by the i mmi nenr da nger that a n i n di fferent equal i t y woul d come to
58 THE POLITICS Of AESTHETICS
rei gn and by the i dea that i t was necess ary to oppose i t vi th a new
meani ng of the commLlnal body. Li terature was a pri vi l egedsi te where
t hi s became vi si bl e. It was at one and the same ti me a way of exh i h· t i nt
the rei gn of i ndi fferent l anguage and, conversely, a way of rema k i ng
bodi es wi th words and even a way of l eadi ng words toward thei r
cancell ati on i n materi al states. I stud i ed t hi s tensi on i n Balzac's The
Village Rector. The novel is the story of H cri me caused by a book that
i ntervenes i n the worki ng-cl ass l i fe of a young gi rl not desti ned to read
i t. I n contrast wi th the fatal words written on paper, t here is a good
form of wri ti ng, one that does not ci rcul ate but i s i nscri bed i n t hi ngs
themselves. However, thi s form of wri ti ng can onl y mean, i n the end,
the self-cancell ati on of l iterature: the daughter of the peopl e, l ost by
a book, 'writes her repentance' i n the form of canal s that wi l l enri ch
a vi l l age. Thi s i s the precise equivalent of the Sai nt-Si mon i an theory
that opposes the paths ofcommuni cati on opened up i n the eart h to the
chatter of democratic newspapers.
Thi s tensi on i s expressed i n a completely di fferent manner in the
work of Mallarme or Ri mbaud. Mal l arme attempted to i denti fy the
poetic functi on with a symbol ic economy that would suppl ement
the s i mpl e equal ity of coi ns , words i n the newspaper, and votes i n a
bal lot box. He opposes the verti cal celebrati on of the COlll mu n i ty to
the hori zontali ty of the ' democrati c terrepl ei n' (Pl ato's a ri t h met i cal
equality) . Ri mbaud attempts, for h is part, to el aborate a new song for
the community, expressed i n a new word that woul d be accessi bl e to
al l the senses. 2) Thi s i s, however, where the contrad i cti on appears. The
'alchemy of the word' that i s supposed to construct a new oodyoll l y
has at i ts disposi ti on a bri c-a-brac of vari ous forms of orphaned wri ti ng:
books i n school-taught Lat i n, si l l y refrai ns , · mal l erot i c books wi t h
spel l i ng errors . . .
- Are there authors who escape this logic that dominates the nineteenth
century? How would you react to the criticism that co mists in accusingyou
ofprivileging a certain negative dialectic ofhistory, a dialectic with01lt a
defnitive resolution between incorporation and disincorporruion, at thc
expense ofthe social dynamic ofhistory or the plurality ofliterruy and
artistic practices?
- It al l depends on what one cal l s a ' negative di al ecti c'. What I
have attempted to t hi nk through is not H negat i ve di a l ecti c but rat her
I NTERVI EW FOR ³1 Ì ÍÍÏl1 `|¯Í lO| '| t ) `
a oos· · · ·.co.· ad · c·· o. |· ·..a·. . e 11 : 1 S |ee. con· t it Cted ·1^ .I t ensi on
hetween two oooos · .g ·a· · · .· ' · · · es · ¡ ogi L of d · s · .co·¡o·u o. · d
d· ··o' o· · o.. v|·-c I´s i l t · s t h:l I vo|ds | ] f ' · ·. .I i 1 \ !|.D.I i ) l.C.
a .d : 1 I) .` ·me.eut · L o.· c · 'a· a · ··s a· t a|l h . :1 .ev'd· ·
w· · · · .g ¹| · s tensi on i s, for me, a ga ·a . · · · .g ·e.s. o.. a pri nci pl e o|
work a .dnot by any mea ns a pri nci pl e of ' i nert i a' or ' non-work
`
.
.(
Are there authors who escape t h i s temi on? Undoubtedl y. I have !\
sought to pri vi ' ege ·1 pa ·· co|r type of aut hor. l h a\.obvi ousl y cho<;('n
aut hors t hat bel ong to a homogenoll s · . ·· · ·.se- France i n t he Le.ti i ry
'after the |e·o' ·+:· o. -. v' · c'very forcefu l l y l ays down t he ¡o' · · · '
stakes of wri t i ng. An i denti cal te nsi on i s sti l l h owever · ohe fou nd · ·
.o· ·- f'rench aut hors from t he twent i et h ccmuv. l¡ l:c '· rgi .· a\oo' '
for i .· ·U nLe. +.l \ou wi l l sec t hat s hC s · ·· ·.s ··· thcS:I 111C·V:1\; |·v.i.l
Ü l anguage t hat �I i mi nates i ts conti ngency, .· · the ri sk of |1 ush · n¦´
shoul ders wi th t he l a nguage of t he mad. Ta'ke Joyce, :l nd ÀIl¡ wi l l o .+
a vast expa nse of s tereotypes wi t hout end at t he same t i me as · 'easc..:
toward l anguage's necessi ty, whi ch wou l d al s o |e· |e.ecess· t\of myth .
Take, |c· i ns ·ance, a n I ta l i a n commu n i s I aut hor l i ke la·ese. I n · ·
work, there i s a parat acti c st\' i e and a rea l i s t l a nguage t hat is hi t hful
Î t he W:lyS of medi ocre ancI Lommo.ol ace c'.· ·�a.·�s. work i .g- c s·
or mi dd l e- cl ass characters wi thout dept h. There is a 11JldLÎl ' | · + ·
|ordLis on mi n i m:l l i s m. At t he sa -e t i me, t her e i s H Í ..· · . ··
l ogi c:t 1 di mens i on t hat. l i ke i n Jovee's work, refers|aLk Î '· c· · +|· · ·
to red i scover, wi t hi n ' moder' t ri vi ;l l i ty, t he powers of myt h e.vel oed
in l anguage. I a m t h i n k i ng, · . parti cu l ar. of · he Dialogllfl with I·tt.o
t hat he wrote as t hough i n t he mÜ rii . o|h i s ·La l i ·· narr at i ves, :I S ;1
way of o· . · .g |e.e+·' · 'e· o· zo�··a ' l a nguate. The same ' .d of
tens i ons a re Ï be |tJund i n a l l of moder l i ·Lrati ì re.
Í· not this l´Î`IH the (sc ut// the Scriptures? `oti j·(therr' !/ /.t·
rlt least ( pt;Xtutt¸ between Srriptllr( and thc con/ t²ttt·· ¬morrrn
literat1l re.
- I a m .o· :It a l l a speci al i s t i n Scri pt ure. You a rc u ndou|·ed l \
a l l udi ncn /Jc Flesh ofWrds a.d·othe rema rks I ·adein Auerbach 's
margi ns . I t is Auerbach who sets : 'e vert i cal i t v of the evan(�el i cal
. C
na rrative aga i ns t t he hori zonta l i ·\ of Homeri c descri pt i on. I n · 'e
epi sode of Pet\rs deni al , he st resses · .' · · · ' e p· ct ur.sOue i ndi cati oJl
that convey the d rama of a com1l1on a .·· '.. hol d or |v · eg·a .d
60 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETI CS
mystery. He sees i n t hi s the ori gi nal model of novel i sti c real i sm. l
oppose t hi s i dea by maintai n i ng t hat t hese l it tle pi cturesque i ndi ca­
t ions i n fact amount to a wri ti ng machi ne. It is less a matter of
conveying the i nt i mate drama of the common man t han l i nki ng the
epi sodes of the New Testament to t he episodes of the Ol d Testament i n
order t o show t hat Peter's deni al , l ike t he other epi sodes i n t he GospeL
h ad al ready been foretold in the Old Testament. Thi s means that
it i s possi bl e to derive two antagoni sti c model s of i ncarnati on itsel f.
Accordi ng to one model , wri ti ng conceal s itsel f i n the flesh. Accordi ng
to the other, wri ti ng openly reveals i tsel f as the disembodied condi ti on
of any gl ori ous fesh. I have attempted to show how i t was possi bl e to
derive from t hese model s two opposed i deas of novel i sti c real ity and
how the two paradi gms coul d become i ntermi ngl ed.
POLITICIZED ART
- Barring a jw exceptions, you azoid the concept ofcommitment. Do you
reject this notion because ofthe flse dichotorzy it presupposes betwcen art
fr art' sake and social reality? Are its inadequacies as a concept due to the
fct that it is based on simplistic distinctions between the zoluntary and the
inz;oluntary, between the individual and society?
- It i s an i n-between noti on that i s vacuous as an aestheti c noti on
and also as a pol i ti cal noti on. It can be sai d t hat an arti st i s commi tted
as a person, and possi bl y t hat he i s committed hy h i s w¡it i ngs, h i s
pai nti ngs, h is fl ms, whi ch contri bute to a certai n type o f pol i ti cal
struggl e. An arti st can be commi tted, bur what docs i t mea n ro say
that hi s art i s committed? Commi t ment is not a category of art. Thi s
does not mean that art i s apol iti cal . I t means that aest heti cs has i t s
own pol i ti cs, or i ts own meta-pol i ti cs. That i s what I was sayi ng earl i er
regardi ng Fl aubert and microscopic equal ity. There arc pol i ti Ls of
aesthet ics, forms of community l ai d out by the very regi me of i dent i ­
fi cation i n whi ch we perceive art ( hence pure art as wel l as commi tted
art) . Moreover, a ' commi tted' work of art i s al ways made as a ki nd
of combi nati on between these obj ecti ve pol i t ics that are i mcri bed i n
the feld of possibi l ity for wri ti ng, obj ecti ve pol it i cs that are i nscribed
as plasti c or narrative possi bi l i ti es. 27 The hct that someone wri tcs
I NTERV1 EW FOR THE FNGUSH FDlI ON ´l
Î scrve a cause or t hat someone di scl l sses workers or the com mOi l
peopl e I ll stCld of ;ni s tocrats , what exactl y i s thi s goi ng to ch. |·:c
rega rd i ng thc preci se cond i r i ons f<1 r the el ahorati on a nd recepti on of
a �\ork or a rt ? Cert a i n mea ns a rc goi ng t o |· chosen i ns tead of others
accord I ng to a pr i nci pl e of adaptat i on. The probl em, however, i s t hat
the adapt at i on of express i on t o subj ect mat ter i s a pr i nci pl c of t he
represent·)i ve t ra di t i on t hat t he aestheti c regi me of an has cal l ed i nto
quest i on . That means t hat t here i s no cri teri on f<)r establ i s h i ng a corre­
spondcnce hetwec n aest het i c v i rtue .1nel pol i t i ul vi rruc. There ·1L on I v
choi ces. A progressi ve or revol ut i on;ny pa i nrer or 11 <1\'el i s t i n t he !`¹ `')s
and 1 9.)Os wi l l gcner a l l v choosc a chaot i c f<lrlll i n order Î show t h;l f
t he rei gn i Îg order i s j ust as much a d i sorder. Li ke Dos Passos, he wi l l
represent a s hattered rea l i t v: fragmented stori es of errat i c i ncl i vi du:d
dest i ni es that transl ate. by
'
t hei r · l l ogi ca l i tv· the l ogi L of t he capi t al i st
order. Pai ntcrs l i ke Di x or erosz i n Ger ma ny, on t he ot her hand, wi l l
represent a huma n/ i nhuma n u n i verse, .I u n i verse where huma n |Li n:s
dr i ft hetween mari onettes, masks, and skel etons. They thereby pl av
hetvveen two types of i n hl l fl an i r v: the i n hl l m:l n i t y of the mas ks ; Il d
; lll WlTatOll S of t h e soci al paLl de a nd r he i n huma n i t \ of t he dcacl k
mach i ne t h;l t uphol ds t h i s p a rael e. These pl as t i c or n;nrat i ve devi ces
ca n be i dent i fed wi t h an exempl ary pol i t i cal awa reness of the conrr; l ­
d i ct i ons i nherent i n a soci al and economi c order. They can, however,
j us t as wel l be dcnounced as react i onary n i h i l i s m or even cons i dered
to be pure for mal machi nes wi t hout pol i t i ca l content . NovLl i st i c
fragmentat i on or pi ctori al cari va l i z;Hi on l end t hemsel ves j l l S t as
wel l t o descri hi ng t he ch;l os of t he capi tal i s t world from t he poi nt of
vi ew of Clss stTUggl e as t o descr i hi ng, ('rom ·1 n i h i l i s t i c poi nt of VI CW,
t he Ch:l 05 of a \I�Í

l d where cl ass st r. l ggl c i s i rsl· l f hur on|` cl ement I II
the Di OIl\'si ;1 1l chaos. ";l k(', f() r I nSC1 I lCc, :1 ci ner:l t i c equ i val ent: t he
Amer i ul l fi l ms from t he ] 'rlOs . · · +·l l ') SOs Oil \' i Cr l1 ;l l11 . l i ke Ci mi nC's
ÍÍc/`·r/|t·t·/c. where Í I l l' war'L\! 1I` · ! !\ esscl l t i ;l l l " scenes ·'R1 1 5Si :1 1 l
rou l ertL. I t call he sa i d r h:n t he mess;l g" i s t he dni sory nawre of t|c
war. I t can j us t a s wel l he sa i d t ha t the mcssage i s t he der i sory Í latÍk
of the s t ruggl e aga i ns t the war.
There are no cri teri a . There a rc f() rlll ubs t hat a rc equ:dl y ;l\'a i l abl c
whose mea n i n g i s oftcn i n Let deci ded upon hv a �ra(e or con A i cr
t h;H i s ex teri or to them. ror eX: l mpl c, t her e i s r he soLi .l l |.· r|t· \. ! I`
o2 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
the for m of a modern epi c that confers a mythol ogi cal di mensi on on
its characters. Les Miserables i s the prototype of t hi s ki nd of narrati ve.
Dependi ng on the ti mes, i t has been seen as a catechi sm wi th soci al i � t
l eanings, ignorant bourgeois senti mental i sm over cl ass struggl e, or a
fi rst-rate poem whose democrati c meani ng is not to be found i n t he
di n of the revol uti onary barricades hut i ll the i ndi vi dual and quasi ­
subterranean obsti nacy of Jean Val j ean. The core of the problem i s
that there is no cri teri on for establ ishi ng an appropri ate correl ati on
between the pol i ti cs of aesthet ics and the aestheti cs of pol i ti cs. Th i s
has nothi ng to do wi th the cla i m made by some peopl e t hat art and
politics shoul d not be mi xed. They i ntermi x i n any case; pol i ti cs has i ts
aesthetics, and aestheti cs has its pol i ti cs. But there is no formul a for an
appropriate correl ati on. It i s the state of pol i tics t hat deci des that Di x's
pai ntings i n the 1920s, ' popul ist' f l ms by Renoi r, Duvi vier, or Care
i n the 19305, or fi l ms by Ci mi no or Scorsese i n the 1 9805 appear to
harbour a pol i ti cal critique or appear, on the contrary, to be suited to
a n apol i ti cal outl ook on the i rreducibl e chaos of human aFfai rs or the
picturesque poetry of soci al di fferences.
- Does this mean that the act o/judging the political import o/wor/,s 0/
art is always anchored in a precise socio-historical situation? In that case,
just as there is no point of view outside history, as you Sg sted earlier,
there is no general formula that est(lblishes /Î constant Ii fk between fn
artistic frm and a political meaning?
- There are pol i ti cs of art t hat are perfectl y i dent i fi abl e. It i s
thoroughly possi ble, therefore, t o si ngl e out the form of pol i t i ci ­
zation at work i n a novel , a fi l m, a pai nt i ng, l an i nstal l ati on. I F
thi s politics coincides with an act o f constructi ng pol i ti cal di ssensus,
thi s i s somethi ng that the art i n question does not control . Brecht's
theatre, the archetypal form of , pol i tici zed' art, is bui l t on an ext remel y
compl ex and cunni ng equi l i brium between forms of pol i t ical pedagogy
and forms of a rt i stic moderi sm. He constantl y pl ays between meam
of comi ng to pol i tical awareness and means of ll ndermi ni ng the
l egi t i macy of great art, whi ch found expressi on i n the theatre by
admi xtures wi th the ' mi nor' performi ng arts : mari onette shows,
pantomi me performances, the ci rcus, the musi c hal l or cabaret, not
to menti on boxing. His 'epi c theatre' i s a combi nati on between a
pedagogical l ogic l egitimated by the Marxi st corpus and, on the other
T NTFRVT FW FOR TT-T F, FN(; USH E lI TI ON
hand, tech n i ques of f`agmentar i on a nd the mi xtl l re ·|Ijpos i te> t h:, {
a rc s peci fl c to til' hi story of ' thC:1 t re a nd product i on i n t he 1 9 Ì 0s and
1 920s. The pol i ti ca l fo rmul a i s i dent i fl :l hk. Nev({ hebs - hcrwCt' ll
Brechts ex i l e i n Den m:uk or t he Uni ted St ares, r il l' o|íi .l l posi r i on i n
t he Ccr ma n Democrat i c Repll hi i c . a nd hi ` adopt i o|l h;' t he E1 1 rOpe:l l1
i ntel l ectua l cl i tes i n t he 1 9,Os t he cnCOl 1 nrcr hcr\\,(,Cl l r h i s ja rt i lll i : 1 r
form of pol i t i cs ;l nd i ts suppos ed :l 1 1 d i cl l CC (worker s · · ¤· · · | of t|.
capi ul i s t sysrem) never took pi : J ce, wh i ch I 1l C: l I l S r hat i ts ' l 1 i Îl hi l | | \´ Î/
i ts mi l i ulH rercrcnr was never rl'a l l v tested.
- \Val Is //·c·/ plal'l' 17)1 /l lh(/t j mil ' /Jl'ltrology' I/ì polltiriz('(/ .t·
/ amthin/:ing in prlrtlcu!r 0f0nt oj)lollr ··a/;s.o/Rosscllilli ' ÍH rop" °l
where you estrblish (Í connectioll hetwccli the main (hrlrr/cte) :,' cn(0!t/·'|
with
t
he tn:.ttt t�, ¬ the m071ent wl'I'1l lrcte lerl1fts ,/t fi'(II1('1/107i' 0/
her immediate surroundings in order to go and lool clsewhere, therd�y
con/blinding the cstah!,hed aesthetico-political Ctloril's - rlld t/cfl(lllfl!­
izatior ofequa/lty?2S
- Thi s means that an aestheti c po| i ti cs al wavs defi nes i tsel f Iw a
certa i n recas t i ng of rhe di sr r i htHi on of t he sens i hl c, a rccon fgl l r:1 ti pn · · '
the gi ven perce,wa I forms. The noti on of' heterol ogy' refers to the wa;'
i n wh i ch the lTleanl Ilgful fabri c of the sen¬i h| i s di sr urhed : · 1 speu;l ci c
docs not fi t withi n the sens i bl e framework def ned hI' ·| n\twork or
meani ngs, an expressi on docs not f i nd i ts pl ace i n the system of vi si hl e
coordi nates where i t appears. The d rea m of a su i tahl e pol i t i cal work
of art i s in fact the dreÜm of d i s r upt i n g t he rehti ons hi p hctwcen the
vi si hl e, the sayahl e, ;l nd the th i nkahl e \i t htut h a\ i ng to usc rhe ter m,
of a message as a veh i cl e. I t i , t he drLa m of an a n t h:n woul d rL1 J 1 S111 i r
11 lt':1 l1 i ngs i n t he f()rm of H IpÍurC wi t h t he verv l ogi c or mea ni ngful
s i t uat i ons . As a mat ter of (l ct, pol i t i ca l :1 1"t ca n noÍ work I I I t he s i mpl e
form of a !²JLa n i Îgrul spectacl e that vvoul d I c:ld Í an ' awa reness' or
the state of the worl d. Sui tabl e pol i t i Cl a rt wOul d el l su re, at one a nd
t he sallle ti me, t he production of a doubl e effer: t he rCl dahi l i t v of
a pol i ti cal si gni fcati on and a sensi bl e or percepHa l shock callsed,
conversely, by the \ncan ny, by that wh i ch resists si gn i fcation. 1 n |ct.
th i s idea I effect i s al ways the ohj eLt of a necot i at i on between opposi tes,
between the readabi l i ty of the message that th reatens to destrov rhe
sensi bl e r()rm of art and the r;l di cl i u nc1 11 n i ncss t har t h reatens !
dcst rov a l l pol i r i cal mea n i ng.
o1 THE POLITI CS OF AESTHETI CS
Europa ´¯1 i s, i n poi nt of fact, bui lt on a serie� of ruptures, of
di splacements out of frame (i n the strongest �ense of the word and
not the technical sense) . The frst semi bl e or perceptua l worl d of
t he bourgeois housewi fe, for whom t he workers are those unknown
people who go on st ri ke and di sturb urban traffc and transportati on,
i s chal lenged by a second world: t he vi si t organi zed by her commun i st
cous i n to t he cheap apartment bui ldings where the workers l ive.
However, t hi s structured worki ng-class world where the sett i ng a nd
i t s mea ni ng coi nci de i s i n t ur chal lenged i n favour of an open
world wi thout coordi nates, a world of vague stretches of l and, s hant y
towns, and sub-proletari an wanderi ng, where noth i ng coi ncides any
longer. The outcome i s t hat t he heroi ne f nds hersel f more and more
di verted from any system of correspondences between meani ngs and
the vi si bl e. Her own speci fc questi on (what words her son, who threw
hi msel f down the stai rwel l, sai d or woul d have sai d) coi ncides wi t h
t he di scovery of a world progressively loosi ng i ts structure where the
onl y a nswer is chari ty, accordi ng to her, and i nsani ty, accordi ng to the
representati ves of soci ety.
A system of heterol ogies is i ndeed put i nto pl ay here. Furthermore, I
had emphasized the way i n whi ch t hi s system throws off the pre-consti ­
tuted poli t ical modes of frami ng. That sai d, i t i s cl ear that refusi ng
to frame the si tuati on i n accordance wi th the commun i st schema
also authori zes frami ng i t accordi ng to the Chri sti an schema, whi ch
actually has the advantage of frami ng wi thou wal l s: the heroi ne's
wanderi ng that I had previously i denti fed wi th Socrat i c atopi a i s, a frer
al l , a wanderi ng ori ented toward the grace of Spi ri t, which l i ke t he
wi nd ' blows where i t wi l ls' (even i f i t i s Rossel l i ni who i s playi ng a bi t
the role of God t he Father) . ¯
Thi s means that the play of heterologies always has an undecidahl e
aspect to i t. I t undoes the sensi bl e fabri c - a gi ven order of relti ons
between mean i ngs and the vi si ble - and establ i shes other networks of
the sensi ble, wh i ch can possi bly corroborate the acti on u nel ertaken by
poli ti cal subjects to reconfgure what are gi ven to be facts. There are
aestheti c formulas a nd transformati ons of these formulas that a lways
def ne a cert ai n 'pol i ti cs'. There is not, however, a rule establ i shi ng

a
concordance, nor are there cri teri a for di st i ngui shi ng good pol i ti cal
fl ms from bad pol i ti cal f l ms. In fact, we shoul d avoid aski ng the
INTERVI EW FOR THE ENCLl SH EDl TT ( ) �,
q\Lsti on i n terms of cr i teri a fl)r t he pol i t i cal eva l uat i on of works of an.
The pol i ti cs of works of art pl ays i u;el f out t o a l arger extent - i n a gl oha I
a nd d i ffuse ma nner - i n t he rcconfgurati on of worl ds of L`peri ence
based on wh ich pol i cc consens us or pol i ti ca I d i ssel lSus a re dcf ned. I t
pl ays i tscl f cl I l t i n tlw way i ll wh i ch modes ( ) f na rrati nn or ÎJ |\ forms ·|
vi si bi l i t y establ i shed hy a rt i s t i c practi ce; enter i nto pol i t i cs' own h·| d
of ;l cstheri c possi hi l i ti es. I t i s necessar y Î reverse t hl' ·.iv i n ··| : .| t|c
prohl em i s geneLl l y formuhted. I t i s up Í t he v;l ri ous h)rms of pol i r i o
t o appropri ate, for t hei r own proper us e. t he Iodes of presell tat i ol1 or
the means of establ i sh i ng expl a natory sequences produced hy ar t i s ti c
practi ces rather Îha n the other vvay a round.
It i s i n t hi s sense that I sa i d, at the end of Thl `.t rc·of History. t hat
for t h i n ki n< and wri t i ng democrati c h i storv, i t i s necessarv t o I nok
C · >
.
toward Vi rgi ni a Wool f more so t han toward E mi l e 1ol a . Th i s dol' S
nor me a n t hat Vi rgi n i a Wool fwrote good soci a l novek I t mC1 Jl S dut
her way of wor ki ng on the contract i on or di stensi on of tempor;t 1 i t i es ,
on thei r colltempora neousness or thei r d i sta nce, or her way of s i tu ati ng
events at a much more mi nute l evel , al l of t hi s establ i shes U gr i d t hHÍ
makes i t possi bl e to t hi nk th rough t he forms of pol i t i ca l d i ssens ual i ty
more effecti vel y t han the soci a l epi c's' vari ous forms. There i s a l i mi t ;H
wh i ch t he forms of novel i sti c mi crol ogy establ i s h a mode of i ndi vi du­
at i on t hat comes t o chal l enge pol i ticd suhj ecr i vi zat i on. There i s a l so,
however, an ent i re hel d of pl ay where t hei r modes of i nd i vi duati on
a nd thei r means of l i nki ng sequences contr i bute t l i heati ng pol i t I LUl
possi bi l i t i es hy undoi ng the format t i ng of rea l i t y produced hy statl'­
control l ed medi a, by undoi ng the rel ati ons hetween the vi si hl e, t he
savahl e, a nd the t hi n kabl e .
.
- Is this whrlt you try to rio )'OIII"SI'//ill )'our II')"itll!
,
Oi the IJisto)"), ora!'!
and poiitics?
÷ ! do i ndeed attempt to pri vi l ege \avs of wr i t i ng h i s tonl, prl".,cnr i ng
si t uat i on.s a nd a rra ngi ng statements. ways ol co!sÍ ruct i ng rcl ati ol l S
between cau�e and effect or hetwcen antecedent a nd (onscqucll f | |. u
con fou nd the trad i t i onal Ia nel ma rks, the means or prcsenr i ng nbj ecrs.
i nduci ng mean i ngs a nd causal schemat,1 , that construct the 'Í·n|:J
i ntel l i gi bi l i ty of h i story. [ th i nk t hat a theoret i ca l d | sco|c |s ;dwavs
s i mu l ta neousl v a n aestheti c form, a sensi bl e recon fgu rati on of t he
facts i t i s a rgt. i ng about. Cl a i mi ng t h;l t any theoret i cal statement has
oo THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
a poeti c nature i s equi val ent to breaki ng down the horders and hi erar­
chi es between levels of d iscourse. Here we have come back to our
starti ng poi nt.
Aferword by Slavoj Zzek
The Lesson of Ranciere
F.W.}. Schel l i ng's statemtnt, ' The begi n n i ng is the negat i on o( t hat
wh i ch begi ns wi t h i t', perfectl y ft s the i t i neLl'Y OrJ �1 Cqllcs Ra ll ci lTC' wl l()
|: r·tappeared 01 1 the ph i l osoph i cal q'l' l 1c i ll rht carl y 1 9() ( ) s as �1 Y"l l ll g
Al t hmseri a n, OI lC of thc conrri i J l l t ors ( ro
g
er l wr wi r l , lÎ i Ll1 l1 L Bl l i h'lr.
Roger l··||. a nd Pi CTe itl chcrc\' ) Í í Î he p;1 t h- hrc;1 k i ng cnl l cct l \ ·
vol u mc rirr· /r |�/´t!·t/ f'rol11 Ì ¹|. ¹h i !h . wi th /\ I r hm, cr \ /'·ttt 'Î.t ··(
dcfl l1 ed r he fi el d of ·t| | ct| i r.· ' | - 'LHxi s r , '!f¹L'!· \ÎL d i d Ì 1Í
have Î wa i t I Ol1 g for Ra l 1 C1 ere's un i que voi cc Î expl ode i n .\ r hl l nder
whi ch rocked t he Al t hl l sser i an scene: i n 1 974. he publ i s hed !.t Lru
d'lthllSser ( Thr Lrsson ofAitll1lsscr) , a teroci ous cri ti cal cxami nati on of
Al t husseri a n structura l i st Mar xi sm wi th i ts ri gi d d i s t i ncti on between
scient i fc t heory a nd i deol ogy and i ts di strust towa rds a ny form of
spontaneous popul ar movement wll i ch was i mmed i atel y decri ed as . 1
form of bourgeoi s humani s m. Aga i nst t hi s theoreti ci st el i t i s m. t hi s
i ns i stence on t ht gap wh i ch forever sepa rates t he u n i verse o| sci en­
ti fc cogn i ti on from that of i dt'ol ogi cal (Ill i s) recogn i ti on i n wh i ch
tht common masses a re i mmersed, aga i nst thi s stance, whi ch al l ows
t heoret i ci ans to ' speak tor' the masses, to knO\\' t he truth about t hem,
Ranci ere e ndeavours aga i n a nd aga i n t o ei abor;1te the contours of
t hose magi c, vi ol ently poet i c moments of pol i t i cal sllhj ecti vi zati on i n
whi ch t he excl uded Cl ower cl asses' ) pm forwa rd thei r cl a i m to spcl k
for themsel ves, t o effectuate a change i n the gl oba l percepti on of soci al
space, so r hat r hei r cl a i ms woul d h aw a I egi t i matc pl ace i n i t.
J -fow, for Ra nci cre, di d pol i ti cs proper Iwgi n ? \Xi t h t he emergcnce
of the d{"mos as an acri ve agent wi t h i n the Creek ,o/t:. wi t h r he
emergenct of ;l group wh i ch. al though wi thout a ny fxed pl ace i n the
soci al ed i hce ( or, at best, occupyi ng a subordi nate pl ace) , demanded
to be i ncl uded i n the publ i c sphere, to he heard on equa l toot i ng
wi t h t he r ul i ng ol i ga rchy or a ri stocracy, i . t. recogni zed as a part ner i n
pol i t i cal di alogue and the exerci se of' power. As Ranci erT empiJ ;l si zes
;l gai ns t Habermas, pol i t i cal st nt ggl c proper i s therefore not a rati onal
70 THE POLTICS OF AESTHETICS
debate between mul tipl e i nterests, but, si mul taneousl y, the struggle
for one's voice to be heard and recogni zed as the voi ce of a l egi ti mate
partner: when the 'excluded', from the Greek dmos to Pol i sh workers,
protested against the rul i ng el i te (the ari stocracy or the nomrnk!atltr l) ,
the true stakes were not on l y t hei r expl i ci t demands (for h i gher \u¡c·,
work condi ti ons, etc. ) , but t hei r very ri ght to Uc heard a nd recog­
n ized as a n equal partner in t he debate ( i n Pol and, the nomrnidatura
lost the moment it had to accept Sol i dar ity as an equal partner) .
Furthermore, i n protesting the wrong (lr tort) they suffered, they al so
presented themselves as the i mmedi ate embodi men of soci ety as such,
as the stand-in for the Whole of Soci ety i n irs u niversa l i rv, af!;l i nst
the parti cul ar power- i nterests of t he ar i stocracy or ol i garchy 'we�- the
"not hing", not counted i n the order - are the peopl e, we ·1L Al l aga i nst
others who sta nd only for thei r parti cul ar pri vi l eged i nterests' ) .
Pol i ti cs proper thus always i Ilvolves a ki nd of ·hOrt·ci rcu i t between
the Universal and the Parti cul ar: the paradox Ol a s i ngu l a r whi ch
appears as a stand-i n for the Uni versal, destabi l i zi ng the ' natur a l '
functi onal order of relations i n t he social body. The pol i | i cul cOn |l i c|
resides i n the tension between the structured soci al body where each
part has i ts place - what Ranci ere cal l s pol i tics as pol i ce i n the most
elementary sense of mai ntai n i ng soci al order - and ' the part wi th no
part' which unsettl es thi s order on account of the e mpty pri nci pl e of
u niversality, of what Etienne Bal i bar cal l s ega!ibcrte, the pri nci pl ed
equality-i n-freedom of all men qua speaki ng bei ngs. Thi s i dent i f­
cation of t he non-part with t he Whol e, of t he part of soci ety wi th no
properly defned place wi thi n it (or resi st i ng the al l ocated subordi nate
place wit hi n it) with the Universal , is the el ementary gestu re of pol i ri ­
ci zati on, discerni bl e i n al l great democratic events, from the french
Revolution ( i n whi ch !e troisieme hat procl ai med i tsel f i denti cal to the
Nation as such against the ari stocracy a nd the cl ergy) to the demi se of
ex-European Soci al i sm ( i n wh i ch the di ssident Forum procl ai med i tsel f
representati ve of the entire society aga i nst the Party J10mcnl.ftum) . I n
thi s preci se sense, pol i t ics and democracy are synonymous: t he basi c
a i m of anti democratic pol i ti cs always - and by defn i t ion - i s a nd was
depoliticizati on, i . e. the uncondi ti onal demand that ' t hi ngs shoul d
retur t o normal ', with each i ndividual doi ng h i s or her part i cul ar job.
Ranciere, of course, emphasi zes how the li nc of separati on between the
AfTERWORD lY SLAVO] Z I Z. lK !
pol i ce a nd pOl i t i cs jrOjcr i · ;l lw: IYs hl u rred a nd cO|cs tcO� :\. i n the
Marxi st tradi ti on, ' prol etari at' cun |c rcud as t|c ·uÌ]cc| i \i /u¦i On O| ||c
' part of no part' elevat i ng i ts i nj u·t i cC Í the ul t i mate tc·| Ol u n i \cr-
sal i ty, and, s i mul taneously, u· thL operator whi ch \i l l |r· ng ahout
the establ i shment of a post-pol i ti cal ra| i On+ l sOci Lt\ |t| Iu rOpc:l |1
tradi ti on contai ns a seri es of di savowa l s of t hi s pol i ti cal mOncnt. Ol
the proper l ogi c of pol i t i cul cOnh i ct Ìu nci crc dLVLl opcd t hem i n /.t
MfJ1tcnt(' ( 1 99') , t |c musterji LLc O| h i s jOl i t i cul t |ou¡ht .
Urch i -pol i |i c· . | hc cOn mu n i ta ri .l n :l t t empts Î cl cl) nc ·1 | rO i ri Ol l :l 1
.l O·c. Or¡u n i cu l | v st ructu red homogeneous ·Oci u I ·j.icc \| i c| . t Í l O\·
|Or no voi d in whi ch the pol i ti cal moment-event can emerge ;
para-pol i t i cs: t |c uttcnjt tO Oc|Ol i t i ci zc pol i | i Ls 'tO tr:l 11 sl atc it · | ··
| hc ¦Ol i cc-l O¡i c) . Onc ucccjt· thc pol i t i cal cOn lI i ct |ut rcf<' rmu i :J t( ' s
i | i Í J |O a compet i t i on, wi th i n t he reprL¬Lnt+ t · on UI spJLe |c| `ILI 1
u'|nowl eO¡Cd pa ri c·/ugcn|s, f the ' tem|Or¹ r\) Oc(tl j.ii t·n ·|
|c jl ace Ol execlItive power. Habcrmasi :l n or R.wl s l ;} n Lh i ¹s ·| Í
perhaps the l ast ph i | O'oph i L· | \t·| i ¡c· Ol t| i s :l tti tl l de: t he + . c|·· ¦· .
to de-;l ntagoni ze pol i ti cs |\ v.)\ O| |··||··|t | o·t hc cl cu | r\ l l c� Ï |.
ObLycd · O t ha t t hc i goni c jrOccOu rc O| l ì ti ¡+ti on dOc· nOt cxpl ode
i nto pol i ti cs proper�
Marxi st (or Utopi an Soci al i st) meta-pol i |i c·. | hc pol i ti cal cOn h i ct
i s ful ly asserted, as a shadow-theatre i n wh i ch processes - whose
proper pl ace i s on Another Scene (the scene ol ccOnOni c i n lru-
structure) - are played out; the ul ti mate goal or | ruc jOl i | i c· i ·
t hu· i ts sci f-cancel l ati on, t |c t ru nsr()J' mati ol1 of t he ' ad mi n i ·t rut i On
O| people' i nto t he 'admi n i strati on of th i ngs' wi th i n u fu l l y scl f�
tra nspa rent rat i On·ì l Ordcr Of col l ecti ve Wi l l ;
u n d. oll e i s tenjteO Î · ujjl cncnt Ìu nc i crc, t h e most Cì i |) n i n :
u nd rud i cul Vcr· i On O l t h i s d i savowal i s u l t rU- jol it i c·. t h e .) t | .: |11 j|
t o depol i t i ci ze cOn h i ct b\ way of |ri ngi n¡ i | t o an ext reme \ l u | | .
d i rcc| mi l i t a ri zat i on O| jOl i t i c· . r he ' fecl osed ' pol i t i í| re t l l rs
i n t h e rea l , i n t h e gui se of t h e :l t t empt to resol ve t h c tl c. i ·i l O:l:
of pol i t i cal con A ict , of mescntmtc, |\ i t s fa l s e radi ca l i zat i on, i . e .
by way of rclOrmu l Ut i n¡ i t U ¬ + \u r |ctvcc· |· u n d ´lcn .
(| i r Ìncm\ \hcrc | hcrc i · nO C011ll 0n :r( u n O |Or ·i)) lOl i .
cOn lI i ct .
72 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
What we have i n al l four cases - archi-, para-, meta- and ul tra-pol i ti cs
- is thus an attempt to gentri fy the properly traumati c di mensi on of
the pol i tical: somethi ng emerged i n anci ent Greece under the name
of polis demand ing i ts r i ghts, and, from the very beginni ng (i . e, from
Plato's Republic) to the recent revival of liberal pol i ti cal thought,
'political phi losophy' has been an attempt to suspend the destabi l izi ng
potential of the pol i ti cal , to d isavow and/or regul ate it i n one way or
another: bri ngi ng about a return to a pre-pol i ti cal social body, fxi ng
t he rules of pol itical competiti on, etc. ' Pol i tical ph i losophy' i s thm, i ll
al l i ts di fferent shapes, a ki nd of ' defence-formati on', and, perhaps, its
typology could be establ i shed vi a reference to the di ferent modal i ties
of defence agai nst some t raumati c experience in psychoÜn al ysi s. In
contrast to these four versi ons, today's `postmodern' post-pol i t i cs
opens up a new fi eld whi ch i nvolves a stronger negati on of pol i t i cs . i t
no longer merely ' represses' i t , tryi ng to contai n i t and t o paci f the
'returns of t he repressed', but much more effectively forecl oses i t , so
that the postmodern forms of ethni c vi ol ence, wi th thei r ' i rrati onal '
excessive character, are no longer si mpl e 'returns of t he repressed', but
rather present the case of the forecl osed (from the Symbol i L) wh i ch, as
we know from Lacan, returs in the Real .
In post-pol itics, t he confi ct of gl obal ideol ogi cal vi si ons embodi ed i n
di fferent parties who compete for power i s replaced by a collaborati on
of enl ightened technocrats (economi sts, publ ic opi ni on speci al i sts . . . )
and l i beral mul ticulturali sts ; via the process of negoti ati on of i nerests,
a compromi se is reached in the guise of a more or less uni versal
consensus. The political (the space of l i tigation i n whi ch the excluded
can protest the wrong/inj ustice done to them) , foreclosed from the
symbol i c then ret urns i n the real, i n the for m of racism. I t i s cruci al to
perceive how ' postmodern racism' emerges as the ul ti mate consequence
of the post-pol i tical s uspensi on of the pol i t i cal i n the reducti on o| the
state to a mere pol i ce agent servi ci ng the (coosensual l y establ i shed)
needs of the market forces and multi cul tural i st tol eran human i tar­
i ani sm: the ' foreigner', whose status is never properl y regulated, i s t he
i ndivi sibl e remai nder of t he transformati on of democrati c pol i t i La l
struggle into the post-pol i ti cal procedure of negotiati on and flul ti ­
culturali st pol icing. I nstead of the pol i ti cal subj ect `worki og cl ass'
demanding i ts universal rights, we get, on the one hand, t he fl· ul | i -
AFTERWORD ÌX SIAVC| z. i z.rk
pl i ci ty of parti cul ar soci al strata l groups , each wi t h i ts probl ems
( the dwi ndl i ng need |·| manual wo·kers . etc. ) , a nd , on the other
hand, the i l11

i granr, more and Illore p|eveo:ed ||oo pol i ti c. z. n
g
h i s
pred . c+ oeo+ of excl usioo.
Ranci ere i s ri ght to emphasi ze how . | . s +
g
a i ns t t hi s b+c|grou od
t hat one shoul d i nterpret the f�lsci nati on of ¡u|| c o¡. n . on w. t | | the
un i que event of t |e ljol ocausr. the reference | o | |c |o| oci | s | +s | |c
ul t i mate, u nt h i n kbl e, apol i t i cal cri me, +s t he ìv | so ·· o c|| | |�· · . |
ca n not be pol i t i ci zed (accou nted |·r |v + po| i t c+ | d;' na mi c) . sc|vc· i·
the operator whi ch a l lows us to oepo| i ti ci ze the soci al sphere. to w+ ·
agai nst the presulll pt i on of pol i ti ci zati on . The lo| oc+u· t .s t he o·oe
for the unth i n kahl e apol i tic+ l cxccs· of pol . ti cs i tsel f: it coo¡c| s H l
sobordi nate pol . t i cs Í sOl11 e oo|c fu nda oental eth ic<;. The '| 'c·css
excl | loed from the conscnu.i 1 ooo+ . o o| to| c|+ o: / ·+t . oi· + | ¡os|-¡o| · | · .||
neioti +ti on + oo +o .u| o . ·t|.: t oo ·cto |· o t he i| i | ·· of . ncx¡| ci hl e
pl l fe |v | . \|i t defl nes ¡ost ·ii odcr ¡os|¡o| . | . cs . s thH t| ··· ·..·c|
sol . da ri tv lc|vec o i ts two opposed |aoos '�· ccs. IÍJ the onc |.· ··o . the
rcpl acemel· t o| ¡o| . | . cs proper hy cepol t . c zco ' huma n . .· · + o o¡.+-
t. oo. oo the other ha nd , the v. o| co | outbu rsts of dc¡ol i ti ci zed ' pllre
Evi l ' i n the gui se o| 'excessi ve' ct | o c or |c| . g. ous fund:l l11enta l i s r
vi olence. I n short, what Ra nci ere proposes here . s ·1 new versi on of the
ol d Hege| i an motto ' Evi l resides i n t|e gaze i tscl f wh i ch percei ves the
obj ect as Evi l ': the contempor a ry fi gure of Evi | | oo st|oog to he acces­
si bl e to pol i ti cal anH| y� i s ´ | |c lo| oc+ost. e|c. ) , appears as SI Kh o · | v Î
t he g:lZe whi ch consti tl l tes it as slich (as dcpol i t i c. zed) .
I n Ra ll ci ere's di +gnos. s, today's hcgemoni c tendency towa rds post­
pol i t i cs thus coope| s us Ï rcassert tile
p
ol i t i u| . |· i ts |cv d i mensl < l f1 ;
i n t h i s, he bel ongs to the feld one i s tempted Í oeh n e + s ¡ost-
Al t husscri an' : authors l i ke ß+l | o+ |, `|i o ß+o. ou, .·¡ n Eresto
Lacl au, whose starti ng pos i t i on was c1 mc to Al t husser. The f rst
t hi ng to note here i s how | he
y
+ |c Hl | opposed to the mos t e| +|o· ·c·
` |o| o+ | t|co|v o| oemocrac
y
i n contemporary French t hought, t hat
of Cl aude Lefort . T n a n cx¡l i ci t reference t o LIC1 ni a n t heory, |c|¬
coocc¡t o+ | . zco the democrati c s¡+cc | · · . . | +. o·| |· l |.· �t , |ctwc.o
the RC11 and the 'vo|o' . c | o + dc·i+ ·. t :·. / /·(' plflO ·/l'·· · /. `Í ¹lí
://· ··//;. oo|oov |.: · | |c o +| . | �i | · ·· || |o ·c.| ì |¯ | | ||·s \' | 1
L`LÍ ¡ower L| 'o ·o o· · | v |c. · · ¡o| i · ' � | ·J · |· · . |d not \ ` \ l ´ ' .o�· ' .
74 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
wi th i ts pl ace. The elegance of thi s theory i s that, i n the same way
that Kant rejected the opposi ti on between the t radi ti onal eth i cs of a
transcendent substant i al Good and the uti l i tari an groundi ng of ethics
i n the i ndi vidual 's conti ngent empi r ical i nterests by way of propos i ng a
purel y formal noti on of ethi cal duty, Lefort overcomes the opposi ti on
between the Rousseaui an 'subst anti a l ist' noti on of democracy as
expressi ng la volonte generale a nd the l i beral noti on of democracy as
the space of negotiated settl ement between the pl ural i ty of i ndivi dual
i nterests, by way of proposi ng H purel y ' formal ' noti on of democracy.
So whi l e Lefort proposes a Kanti an transLendental not i on of" pol i t i cal
democracy, t he ' post-A I thusseri ans' i nsi st that, with i n the mul t i rude
of real pol i ti cal agents, there i s H pri vi l eged One, the 'superu merary'
whi ch occupi es the pl ace of the ' symptomal torsi on' of t he whol e and
t hus al lows us access to i ts t ruth - the pure uni versal form i s l i n ked |
a ki nd of umbil ical cord to a ' pathol ogi cal ' el ement whi ch doLs nor fi t
i nto the soci al Whol e.
However, even wi thi n t hi s ' post-Al thusseri an' fi el d, t here a rc
considerable di fferences. Whi l e Ranci cre remai ns t�l i thft1 1 to the
popul ist-democrati c i mpul se, Alai n Badi ou (whose not i on of the
' superumerary' as the si te of the pol i ti cal i s very cl ose to Ranci cre's
noti on of the ' part with no part' ) opts for a more ' Pl atonic' form
of pol i t i cs grounded i n the uni versal form-of-thought. Whi l e al l
democratic Left ists venerate Rosa Luxembourg's fHmous ' Freedom i s
freedom for t hose who t hi nk di fferentl y', Badi ou provokes L t o shi ft
the accent from ' di fferently' to 'thi nk': ' Freedom is freedom for those
who thi n k di fferentl y' - ONLY for those who REALLY THI NK, even
if di fferently, not for those who j ust bl i ndl y ( unthi nki ngly) act out
thei r opi n ions . . . In hi s famous short poem ' The Sol uti on' from 1 953
(publ i shed i n 1 956) , Brecht mocks the arrogance of the Communi st
nomenklaturrl when faced wi th the workers' revol t: ' Woul d i t not he
easier for the government to dissol ve the peopl e and el ect anot her? '
However, t hi s poem is not onl y pol i tical l y opport unisti c, t he ohverse
of h is l etter of sol idari ty with the East German Communi st regi me
publ i shed i n Neues Deutschland ¬ t o put i t brut al ly, Brecht wanted to
cover both hi s fanks, to profess hi s s upport for the regi me as wel l as to
hi nt at hi s sol i dari ty wi t h the workers, so that whoever won, he wou l d
be on the wi nni ng s i de -, bur al so si mpl y uron« i n t he t henret i co-
AFTERWORD fY · |\vC| zik `¯
pol i ti cal sense: one shoul d bravel y admi t that i t effeel i vel y ì ' a dmv
- THE dutY even - of a rL\ol li onar\ part y to ' di ssol ve the peopl e
and ele't aÍ· other', i . e. to br i ng about the rra nsuh<; ( ;) lti ari ol l of t he
'ol d' opportu n i st i c peopl e ( t he i nel ' crowd ' ) i nto ;l revol ut i () na r:' hody
awa re of i ts h i stori cal task. Far from hei ng Jl (¡ ·V tas k, to ' d i ssol vc the
peopl e and Ll ect a nother' i s t he rmt d i ffcu l t of a l l . . .
I n spi te of t hese d i fferences, t here i s a fe;ltll re t har u n i tes a l l t he
post-A I thuseri an pa r t i sa ns o| ' pure pol i t i cs ' : what t hey oppose to
rocay's post-pol i t i cs is more .heohi n t hall Marx i st, i . e. i t s hares w| t ' i ts
great opponent , ;\ngl o-:axol l Cul t u r;l l :tt l d i cs a ll d t heI r |·cu· I! 1 dl l"
·t··| c· for l"Cco"ni ti ol l t hL dc<rrad;l r i on (| t he '
l
l here nf '`!I! 1¹ I 1 1 '..
I · � .
Th;l t is to \;1\', wh;l t ;1 1 1 t he !'¹ h'c nch ´· " rcnch oi .· · o! t '.· c·
of I hL' Pnl i t i c
'
;] 1 , from Bl l i har t h rou
g
h | · · · . .�·: ; l l l d 1 �; 1 ( l i ( ) 1 1 I í ¹ | . . i . | . ì : ·
·l nd i'vf ou flc. a i m at i s - t o pl l t i r
'
i ll t r;l di t i ol1 ; J i ph i l o.soph i Cl I l \!'
¬ t he rLducÎ i on of t he sphere or eCOI l OI1l \' (of m;l (ni ; d pro<i l l Ct | (! ' | ·
an ' onti c' sphere depri ved of ' ontol ogi ca l ' d i gni t y. \i t h l l l Í h i ' Iwr i zoll .
t here i s si mpl y no pl ace |or thL Mar xi an ' cri t i que of pol i ticU l ecol lom
y
' :
the st ruct u re of the u n i verse of cotll modi r i es and capi Ll i i n I1 :1 r,, ·.,
CÍpitr i s NOT j ust t hat of a l i mi ted empi ri LÜ I sphere, hut ·1 ki nd ·|
soci o-tr anscendent al ( Í priori, t he mar r i x wh i ch generates t he (()ul i tv
of soci al a n d pol i t i cal rel at i ons.
The rel ati onsh ip between economy a nd pol i ti cs i s \ t 1 t i m;l tel ¹´ Îh:l t nf
t he wel l -k nown vi sua l paladoA of t he ' two faces ! H vas\ . |Í! ei ther
sees t he two faces or a vase, never hot h of them one has Í make a
choice. I II thc sUme way, one ei t her focuses on t he pIl i t i La l , a nd i|.
domai Î of economy i s reduced to the empi ri cal ' servi ci ng of goods, or
one focllses on economy, and pol i t i cs i s reduced to a t heat re of appCH­
ances, to a pass i ng phenolenon whi c' wi l l di sappear wi t h t he a rri v;l l
of the devel oped Communi s t (or technocrat i c) society, i n whi ch, .1 `
Engel s a l ready put i t, t he ' ad mi n i s t rat i on of peopl e wi l l va n i sh i n t hI´
'ad mi n i s t rati on of th tngs'. The ' pol i t i cal ' cr i t i que of ihr xi s!l1 ( t he
cl ai m that. when one reduces pol i t i cs Î a ' for ma l ' express i on tl snnw
l1ndLrlvi ng ' obj ective
·
soci o-eeonol11 ic process, one l oses t he opell ness
and comi ngency cOl l 5t i ru t i vc of t he pol . ti cal fiel d proper) shoul d t hl l S
be s\ppl emeled by i ts ohverse: t he fel d of ecollol1lY i .s I N I T' VERY
FORM i rreduci hl e to pol i t i cs t h i s l evel of the rORJl of t"conot1l\
(of economy as t he deter mi n i ng FOR M of t he s(l ei ;l l ) is what French
76 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETI CS
' poli ti cal post-Marxi sts' miss when they reduce economy t o one of t he
positive social spheres.
I n spi te of t his cri ti cal poi nt, Ranci ere's theory provides the cl earest
articul ati on of the motto whi ch appeared at the demonstrati ons of the
French j obless movement in the mid-90s: we're not a surplus, 1/!e 're a
plus. Those who, i n the eyes of t he admi ni strative power, arc perceived
as 'a surplus' (lai d off, redundant, reduced to si lence i n a society that
subtracted the j obl ess from the publ ic accounts, that made them i nto
a k i nd of resi due - i nvi si bl e, i nconceivabl e except as a stati sti c under
a negative si gn) , shoul d i mpose themsel ves as the embodi ment of
soci ety as such - how? It i s here that we encoll nter the second great
breakthrough of Ranciere arti culated in Le Partage du sensible: the
aestheticization ofpolitics, the asserti on of the aestheti c di mensi on
as I NHERENT i n any radical emanci patory pol i tics. This choi ce,
al though grounded i n the long French tradi t ion of radi cal pol i ti ca l
spectacle, goes agai nst the grai n of the predomi nant noti on wh i ch sees
the mai n root of Fasci sm i n the el evati on of the soci al body i nto a n
aesthetic-organ ic Whol e.
I t i s not only that, apart from bei ng a pol i ti cal theori st, Ranci cre
wrote a seri es of outstandi ng texts on art, especi ally on ci nema - the
shi ft from the pol i ti cal to the aestheti c i s i nherent i n the pol i ti cal itself.
The aestheti c metaphor i n whi ch a parti cul ar element stands for the
Universal, i s enacted i n the properly pol i ti cal short-ci rcui t i n whi ch a
parti cular demand stands for the universal gesture of rej ect i ng the power
that be. Say, when people stri ke agai nst a parti cul ar measure (new tax
regulati on, etc. ) , the true ai m of the stri ke is never j ust thi s parti cular
measure - whi ch i s why, i f those i n power give way too fast and repeal
t his measure, peopl e feel frustrated, s i nce, al though thei r demand was
met, they were deprived of what they were real l y ai mi ng at. Jnd what
about the ideological struggle i n whi ch a universal conceptual posi ti on
i s always 'schematized' i n the Kanti an sense of the term, transl ated i nto
a speci fc i mpressive set of i mages? Recall how, a decade ago, i n the
UK, the fi gure of the unemployed si ngle mother was elevated by the
conservative medi a i nto the cause of al l soci al evi l s : there i s a budget
defcit because too much money i s spent on supporti ng si ngle mothers;
there i s j uveni le del i nquency because si ngl e mothers do not properl y
educate thei r offspri ng . . . Or recal how the anti -aborti on ca mpai gns
A1' TERWORD PY S l ,AVOJ z: zik
as ; 1 r t I l c pur f)rwa rd the i m;l ge of :1 ri ch CHeer woma n neglect i ng
h e r mat era I li ssi on - i n ||t.· · . contr:1 st Î t h e r:l lT t h:H m:l l lV '1lL
a|ori ons a rc pcrfc)rlllcd on worki ng-cl ass women who a l rC1 d; , | .· ·.
many c hi l dre n. These poct i c di sp'�cemcnts and conde ns.nioÎ arc
not j usr seconda ry i 1 l mt rat i ons of a n u nderl yi ng i dcol ogi ca l struggl e,
hur t he verv terra i n of t hi s struggl e I f what Ranci i:rc refers to as t he
pol ice-aspe�r of t he pol i t i ca l , t| e�lt i ona l admi n i strat i on and cont rol of
soci al processes, focuses on the cl ear categori zat i on of every i nd i vi dual ,
of every vi si bl e soci al u n i r, r hen d i stur hi n g s uch order, of r he vi s i hl e
and proposi ng d i fferent l atera I l i n | of t he vi si hl e, Ì ! nexpecred ,hnrt ­
ci rcu i ts, etc. , i s t he el emcnt arv form of rcs i st;1 I 1 ce.
On : 1 mor e genera l l evel , the I csson of lbl l ci ere | · t hat \Í 1 L ,dl Oi dd
he ca reful not t o ·u.c.| m|t o t he l i bera l tcmpt: l t i oll of condemn i ng a l l
col l ecti ve a rt i s t i c pnforma nces a s i n herent l y ' tota l i ta ri a n'. lo' t | .
Th i ngspi el i n r h e earl y Nazi yea rs a nd Berrol t Brecht's l ea ri ng p' a\·· ´
/·/··:ttc·/c/ ` i nvol ved ;1 mass i deol ogi co-aesr het ic expcri cll L\ (of' 'I!;·
spee.hes a nd acts) i n wh i ch ,peer :lors ri wmsekn ,ervcd as ·I ·|··|�
¯ docs r hi s mea n t h;l t the I , eft . · r| e :)os p:l rt i ci p:Hed · rhe \; l nK
' proro- F:l �ci �t' total i ta ri a n experi ence of rhe 'rq; rc,s\ vc' i ! mnsj O]l
i n to pre-i nd i vi dua l cOll l lll uni ry as `i(�: ì ( t he t hesi s or : l I l l Oll t�
ot her s, Siegfri ed I< r:1 cl uer ) ? I f not , docs t he d i fference l"Cs l dc i n . | .
fct r h�l t t he Nazi Th i ngspiel staged a pat heti c¯emot i ona l i mmersi ol l ,
whi l e Brecht ai med a t a d i sta nced, sel f.obsel"\· i ng, ref1ccred proce�s of
l eari ng? However, i � t hi s s tandard Brecht i a n opposi t i on of emoti onal
i mmersi on and refexi ve di stance suffi ci ent? Let us reca l l rhe staged
performance of ' Stormi ng the \Xi nter Pal ace' i n Petrograd, on �hc
t hi rd anni versary of rhe October Revol ut i on, on t he /th of November,
1 920. Tens of t housands of workers, sol d i ers, students, a nd a rt i sts
worked round the cl ock, l i vi ng on hsha (the t; l�tel ess wheat porri dge) ,
rca, a nd frozen appl es, a nd prepa ri ng t he perform:l ncc at the ver y p|ce
where t he ('vem ' |eal l y took pl ace' t h ree yea rs ea rl i er; t hei r work was
coordi n �l ted hy t he Army offi cers , as wel l as by the aV3 nt-garde �l r t i �ts,
musi ci am, ;l nd di rectors« from Ma l evi ch to Meyerhol d+ Jl t hough
thi s was act i ng a nd not 'real ity', the sol di ers a nd s ai l ors were pl ayi l-l g
themselves - many of t hem not onl v aerll a l l \ par t i Ci pa ted I n t he events
of 1 9 1 7, but were al so si ml l i taneousi :' i nvol ved i n t he rea l bat tl es of
the Ci vi l Wa r t hat were ra
|
i ns i n the near vi ci n i r\' of lct|o
|
|ad. .` Ci t\'
78 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS
under siege and sufferi ng from severe food shortages. A contemporary
commented on the performance: ' The future histori an wi l l rccOrd
how, throughout one of the bl oodi est and most brutal revol uti ons, al l
of Russi a was acti ng'; a nd the for ma l i st t heoretician Vi ktor Shkl ovski
noted that 'some ki nd of elemental process is taki ng pl ace where the
l ivi ng fabri c of l ife i s bei ng transformed i nto the theatrical '.
Another popul ar topic of t his ki nd of anal ysi s is the al l egedl y ' proto­
Fascist' character of the mass choreography di spl ayi ng di sci pl i ned
movements of thousands of bodi es (parades, mass performances i n
stadiums, etc. ) ; i f one al so fnds thi s i n Social ism, one i mmediately
draws the conclusion about a ' deeper sol i dar ity' between the two
' totali tari ani sms'. Such a procedure, the very prototype of ideol ogi ca l
l ibera l i sm, misses the poi nt: not onl y are such mass performances
not i nherently Fascist; t hey are not even ' neutral ', wa i t i ng to be
appropriated by Left or Ri ght - it was Nazi sm that stoi c them and
appropriated them from the workers' movement, thei r ori gi nal ·i tc of
bi rth. None of the 'proto-Fascist' elements i s per ¹lFasci st, what makes
them ' Fascist' is onl y their speci fc arti cul ati on ¯ Or. tO jut i| i n `tephcn
Jay Goul d's terms, al l t hese elements arc 'ex-apted' by lasLi sm. I n
other words, there is n o ' Fasci sm avant la lettre', because it ·s the letter
itsel (the nomination) which malees out o{ the bundle o;c/cmcn·s r��lSmm
proper.
Along the same l i nes, one shoul d radi cal ly reject t nc noti on t n\t
di scipl i ne (from sel f- control t o bodi ly tra i ni ng) i s a ' proto-Fa sci st'
feature - the very predicate 'proto-Fasci st' shoul d |c abandoned: i t
i s t he exemplary case of a pseudo-concept whose functi on i s t o bl ock
conceptual anal ysi s. When we say t hat the organi zed spectacl e of
thousands of bodies (or, say, the admi ration of sports whi ch demand
h igh effort and sel f-control l i ke mountai n cl i mbi ng) i s 'proto-Fascist',
we say strictly not hi ng, we j ust express a vague associ ati on wh i ch
masks our ignorance. So when, t hree decades ago, Kung Fu f l ms were
popul ar ( Bruce Lee, etc. ) , was it not obvious that we were deal i ng wi th
a genui ne worki ng class i deology of youngsters whose onl y meam of
Sllccess was the di sci pl i nary trai ni ng O| thei r onl y possessi on, t nci r
bodies ? Spontanei ty and t he ' let i t go' atti tude of i ndul gi ng i n excessive
freedoms bel ong to those who have the means to (H·rd it - t nO·c vnO
have nothi ng have onl y thei r di sci pl i ne. The ' had' bodi l y di sci pl i ne, i f
.\1lR\CRD PY SIA\Cl ZI Z|K
tncrc | · Onc. is not col l ecti ve trai ni ng, bur, r(tncr. i OLii ni UnO hod\'­
bu i l di ng as part of tnc New Age my�h of tnc rc( l i z. i �i�+n ·| t nc
i nner poten ti al s - no wonder that t he obsessi on vi t n Onc· hod" is a n
a l most obI i gatory part O| the passage of ex- Lefti st r(d i c( I s i ·�o tnc
' maturi ty' of pragmati c pol i ti cs: lOm |(nc lOnd( Î JO·cn ka li ··h:r.
the ' peri od of l atency' between t nc tvO pnases was m:uked bv tnc lOcls
on one's own hody.
I t i s O|tcn cl a i mcd that, i n n i · passi onate HO\ocacv of t h\ i c·rhcti c
Oi mcn·i On (· i n ncrcnr i n r nc j·| i | i c·l . l.¡ nci . r· i )··ti l :i c· | | \ l ·n··
for tnc n i neteent h-centur y pOjul i st rehel l i om whose era i· Oti n i i c| ·
:Onc - nOvc\cr, i s i t rcal | y? Is not jrcc| ·c| \ tnc jO· t |+ ¡ Odcr j(l | t i c· ·|
rc·i ·t.¡ ncc jcrmc(tcd vi |n (c·tncti c jhLn\mLna, from bodv-pi crci ng .i n·l
c!ss¯dressi ng tO publ i c ·jcct(.| c· ´ lOc· nOt tnc curi Ou· jhci ) omLnOl1
of ' Rash mOh· ·t(nd for | nc ac�h\ti cO¯pOl i | i L( l protest at | t· jurc·|.
reduced to i ts mi ni mal fra me? lcOjl c · nOv up at an assi gnLd pl acc at
a ccrta i l t i me, pcrfOrm ·Omc lr| c| (and n· u(l | \ | ri \| .i Or r | Oi cn l ·i i ·l
act s, and t hen di sperse aga i n - no wonder fl ash n·l· ( rc Oc·.r i lcO .¡·
lci n: ur l(n j·ctr\ v| t n i¡: rc.i | jn rj··.. `·| Í 11ent i on, ·| CIl l'c,
.\lcr· j.+cc vn i .n (l·n nO· v| rn j··· i li | | r | c· ·| |lì\ | n· vi r n (+· i i | t i jl c
'Oi ·) | Oci ) ¦ i l¡ c· r i ·n· (nO | (tcr( l cOi+ ncc| | ·n· ·nl\cr| i n· | l. c·t .i ll i ·l.´
·Oc| ( l nctvOrk· . . . So, li | |rOm -tì nd ·i ¡: for ( nO·t ( | ·i c .i|.i cn |·+ ci ) t Î
.1 jOjn | i ·t j(·t l ct by ou r ent ry i n rO r nc :| O|( l pOst¯i nOlÎi Ul soci ety,
Í(nCi crc· tnOu:nt |· Íday more (ctt i .i | t ha n c\cr. | i) Our t | mc of !nc
di sori entat i on of the lc|t, hi s wri ti nc· ofler Onc of t he few cO| ) ·i ·ti)
concepru;1 i i zati ons of /01(1 ll't´ c//t to t /il illll{' to rl'sist.
Appendix I
O/cssa·|c;Ic.hni.a/I·ms
Nota bene
The fol lowi ng defn i ti ons ai m less at establ i s hi ng a systemati c l exi con
for Ranciere's work t han at provi di ng pragmati c i ndi cati ons to hel p
ori ent the reader i n a un ique conceptual and termi nol ogi

al framework.
For t hi s reason, each defn i t i on i s accompani cd bv references to key
passages i n Ranci ere's corpus
.
i n order

o encour�
:
ge the reader to
resi tuate these techni cal terms | lJ t he precise t heoreti cal nctworks rhat
endow them wi th speci fc mean i ngs.
. . . ,
Si nce the maj ori ty of the terms defned are speCI fc to RanCl ere s
most recent publ i cati ons, most of t he references are to the body ·|
work he h as produced s i nee approxi matel y 1 990. H()wevc

-, some r

' k

­
ences are made to i mportant conceptual devel opments l ¡1 Ra nLl e¡e s
work that do not use the exact same techni cal vocabul ary. A marked
pri vi lege was gi ven to texts avai l abl e i n Eng� i sh
:
al though references
to cer t ai n key publ i cati ons i n French were 1 l1dl spensabl e. Compl ete
bibl i ographi cal i nformati on wi l l be found i n Append i x 2. - Trans.
Abbreviations
AT ' Thc archaeomoder turn'
ßl Aux Bards du po/itique ( 1 99R edi t i on)
eM La Chair des mots
CO ' The cause of the other'
D Disagreement: Politics (/id Phi!osop/�)'
DA ' I s there a Del euzi an aestheti cs? '
Dr Le Destin des images
DME ' Democracy means equal i t y'
OW ' Di ssent i ng words'
FC La Fable cinematographique
HA5
| Í
I S
LA
LPA
M
ML
NH
PA
P;l A
PhP
PI S
PM
5
51'
1 ' 1' 1'
\;\
| - lI``.\ lx` !Ì ²!\! \ `1 I\ ! . ·Í!\I S
' H i story a nd the a Í system'
/ ltttons·tcntesthhiquc
The 19nt Sc/oo!mrlst(1"
La Lev'on d'lthll.ucr
' Li terature, pol i t i cs, aestheti cs'
11a!!arm/: La Po!itirfllc dc fa sirh1C
' Le mal entendu l i rtcrai re'
Thc IVarncs olHisto]J'
The Politics o(acstficlin
' Pol i t i cs and
'
aestheti cs'
1c Philosopher on·/ His /o··
' Pol i ti cs, i dent i fcati on, a nd s llbj ecri \' i zat i on'
!·t Paro!e 11(ctll'
' 1, e 1 1 septemhre et apri`s
´n Ihl' S/····//'·/··:·
' Ten theses on pol i ti cs'
' \/ hat aestheti cs ca n mLa n
Aestheti c Regi me of Art | I.eHévime estbct0ucne I`nrt)
` Ì
Al though traces of t hi s regi me arc al ready \ h e |·`! I nd i n ·| | c| aurhor:
as Vi co and Cervantes, i t has onl v come to pl ay a dOTl nanr rol e
i n the l ast two centuri es. The aest
j
l ctic regi me abol i shes the hi eLl l­
ch i cal distri buti on of the sensi bk charactcri sti c of the representative
regi me of art, i ncl \di ng the pri vi l ege of speech over vi s i hi l i ty as wel l
a s thc h i erarchv of the ;1 I"ts, thei r s\bj eLt matter, and th\l r genres. Bv
promot i ng t he
'
equality of re¡resLn ted suhj ects, the i n

i i th:
.
r(' nce of
styl e wi th regard to content, and the i m11l :1 nence of mean i ng I n t hl tl gs
themselves, the aestheti c regi me destroys the system of genres and
i sol ates carr' i n the si ngul ar, whi ch i t i denti tes wi th the parado

i cal
uni ty of opposi tes: logos and pat|os. However, the si ng\l ari ty of :1 rt
enters i nto an i ntermi nabl e contradi cti on due to Ihe hct tht¹t t he
aestheti c regi mc al so cal l s i nto !l ue`ti !n t he very d i sti ncti on between
art and oth
;
r activi ti es. Stri ctl y speaki ng, the egal i tari an regi me of the
sensi bl e can onl y i sol ate art's speci fi ci ty at t he expense of l os i ng i l
.
ll 2 1 , RR, 1 20-1, 1 2'-,3 : FC 1 4-1 R: H AS; I F 25-32; ll·\: PA ``-'¹.
4.)-4; PM 1 7-30, 43-52, RC-') ; `..
82 GLOSSARY OF TECHNI CAL TERMS
Aesthetic Revolution (La Revolution esthhique)
By calli ng i nto questi on the representative regime of art i n the
n ame of the aesthetic regime around the begi n ni ng of the n i neteenth
century, thi s ' si l ent revoluti on' transformed an organi zed set of rel ati on­
shi ps between the vi si bl e and the i nvisi ble, the percepti bl e and the
i mpercepti bl e, k nowledge and acti on, acti vi ty and passi vi ty. The
aestheti c revol uti on i n the sensi bl e order did not, however, l ead to the
death of the representative regime. On the contrary, i t i nt roduced
a n i rresolvable contradi cti on between di verse el ements of the repre­
sentative and aesthetic regimes of art.
DI 84-5, 1 1 8-22, 1 35; HAS; IE 25-33 ; LPA; PA 26-8, 30-7; PaA
205-6; PM 5-30.
'
Aesthetic Unconscious (L'Inconscient esthhique)
' Coextensive wi th the aesthetic regime of art, the aestheti c u ncon­
scious i s paradoxi cally pol ari zed between the two extremes that
characterize silent speech. On the one hand, meani ng i s i ns cri bed
l i ke hieroglyphics on the body of t hi ngs and wai ts to be deci phered.
On the other h and, an unfathomabl e si l ence that no voi ce ca n
adequately render acts as an i nsurmountabl e obstacle to si gni fcation
and mea ni ng. Thi s contradi ctory conj uncti on between speech a nd
si lence, logos and pathos, i s not equi val ent to the Freudi an unconscious
or other l ater i nterpretati ons. It i s, in tact, the hi stori cal terra i n upon
whi ch competi ng conceptions of the unconscious have emerged.
I E 41-2, 70-1 , 76-7; LPA 20.
'
Aesthetics (L'Esthetique)
I n i ts restricted sense, aestheti cs refers neither to art theory in general
nor to the di sci pl i ne that takes art as i ts object of study. Aestheti cs i s
properly speaki ng a speci fc regi me for i denti fyi ng and t hi n ki ng the
arts that Ranciere n ames the aesthetic regime of art. I n i ts broad
sense, however, aestheti cs refers to the distribution of the sensible
that determines a mode of arti cul ati on between forms of acti on,
producti on, percepti on, and thought. This general def nit i on cnemis
aestheti cs beyond the stri ct realm of art to i nclude the conceptual
coordi nates and modes of vi si bi l ity operative i n the pol i ti cal domai n.
D 57-9; DA; I E 1 2-1 4; LPA 9-1 2; M 53; PA 1 0, 1 3 ; WA.
CLOSSARY OF TFCl I NI CAL TERMS
Archi -Politics (L'rchi-politique)
The prototype of archi -pol i ti cs , one of t he t hree maj or rypes ( ,f
political phi l osophy. i s Í be t(l l i l l cl i l l Pl ato's mempt to es rall i s h a
commun i ty hased on the i ntegr;d ma ll i CcsLl r i ol l of i rs !ogo" i l l ·i+tc| | · |
fm. The act i vi t i es of i nd i vi d! tal ci t i zcns a rc regu l a red i n rcbr i oll rn
rhei r rol e i n r he org;l n i zar i oll of the cOlll mun a l bod:' i ll such ;1 wa\" t lul
cveryone has a desi gna ted pl ace a nd a n ass i gned [ok, The dcmocr,l t i l
confgur at i on of politics i s t hereby replced by t he police order of a
l ivi ng ÎÜÎÜ. that saturates the enti re communi ty and precludes any
breaks i n the soci al edi fce.
0 61 -93; OW; PhP; TTP.
Community of Equals (La C0l111111111/11Ife des egaux)
A commu n i ty of equal s i s not a go: ! 1 to lc ;l t t;l i ncd lu rat her a presup-'
pos i ri on t hat is i n comta nt need nf ver i fcat i on. a prcsupposi ti on r h;H
can ncver i n flct l ead to t he estall i sh ment of a ll q.a l i tri ;\ n s(lci ;\ i
formati on s i nce the l ogi c of i neC]ua l i ty i s i n her el l t i n th� soci a l |o¬d. A
commu n i ty of equal s is therefore a preca ri ous commu ni ry t hat i mpl e­
ments equal i ty i n i ntermi ttent acts of' ema ncipation.
HAS; IS 71 -.1 ; SP 63-92.
Consensus ( Le Consensus)
Pri or to bei ng ·1 phtform |· |+ . . on+| d.la. c. cOl l sensm is ;\ spec i fc
regi me of t he sensi hl e, a pa r t i cul a r W;\y or pos i t i ng r t ght� · ! ' ·1
commun i ty's o··/t·. `nrc spcci f+ ca l ly, consensus is the presuppos i t i on
accord i ng to whi ch every par t of a popubt i on , al oll g wi t h a l l of i ts
speci fc probl ems , can he i ncorporated i n to a pol i t i cal order a nd raken
i nto account. By abol ish i ng dissensus a nd pl aci ng a han on pol i ti ca l
subjectivization, consenSll S reduces politics to t he police.
BP 1 37-8 ; I 95-1 40; OW 1 1 7-26; S; TTP.
Democracy ( La Democratie)
Nei ther a form of goverment nor a s tvl e of soci al l i fe, democracv i s
properl y spcaki ng a
L
n act or pol i t i ca l subjecti vi zation t hat d i stu rbs
'
t he
police order by pol emi ca l lv ca l l i ng i n to questi on t he aesthcti c coord i ­
nares or percepti on. t hought, a nd act i on, Democracy i s t hus |t | �.| v
i denti fi ed when i t i s associ ated wi th t he consensua l sel t�regula t i on or
84 GLOSSARY OF TECHNI CAL TERMS
the mul titude or wi th the rei gn of a soverei gn col l ecti vi ty based on
subordi nati ng the parti cul ar to t he universal. I t i s, i n tCt, less a state
of bei ng t han an act of contenti on that i mplements vari olls forms of
dissensus, It can be sai d to exist only when those who have no ti tl e
to power, the dim os, i ntervene as t he divi di ng force that di s rupts the
ochios, I f a communi ty can be referred to as democrati c, i t i s only
i nsofar as i t i s a 'communi ty of shari ng' (communaute du partagr) i n
whi ch membershi p i n a common world - not to be confused wi th a
communi tari an soci al formati on - is expressed i n adversari al terms and
coal it ion only occurs i n conA i ct.
BP 7-1 5 ; CM 1 26-7; D 61-5, 95-1 21 ; DME; DW 1 23-6; LPA; ML;
NH 88-103; PA 14-1 5, 53-8 ; PM 81 -9; SP 20-3, 3 1 -6, 39-1 07; TTP.
Demos (Le Dimos)
Ranciere uses t his Greek term - mea ni ng ' the commons', ' pl ebei ans', or
' ci ti zens' - i nterchangeably wi th 'the people' t o refer t o those who have
no share i n t he communal distribution of the sensible. Jhe demos is
thus si mul taneousl y the name of a commun it y and the ti tl e si gni Fyi ng
t he divi si on of a communi ty due t o a wrong. I t i s the uni que power
of assembli ng and dividi ng that exceeds al l of t he arrangements made
by l egi sl ators; i t i s the force of communal divi si on that cont ravenes the
ochlos' obsessi on wi th uni fcati on.
CM 1 26-7; D 61-2; DME 31-2; DW 1 23-6; PIS; SP 3 1 -6; JTP.
Disagreement (La Mesentente)
Pri or to l i ngui sti c or cul tural misunderstandi ng, Ranci ere i sol ates a
fundamental discord t hat resul ts from con Ai cts over the distribution
of the sensible. Whereas la meconnaissance ( lack of comprehensi on)
and Ie mafentendu (mi sunderstandi ng) produce obstacles Î l i ti gati on
that are - at l east i n theory - surmountabl e, fa mesentcnte i s a conA ict
over what i s meant by 'to speak' and ' to understand' as wel l as over rhe
horizons of percept ion that di sti ngui sh the audi bl e from t he i naudi bl e,
the comprehensible from the i ncomprehensi bl e, the vi si bl e from the
i nvi si bl e. A case of disagreement ari ses when the perennial persi stence
of a wrong enters i nto conBi ct wi th the establ i shed police order and
resi sts the forms of j ur idi cal l it igat i on t hat are i mposed on i t.
D vi i-xi i i , 43-60; DME 35; DW 1 1 3-1 6; ML.
(; LOSSARY Of' TECII NICAL TFR�I S R'
Di spute (Le Litige)
/\ poiitical di spute concers the very exi ,rell cc of pnl i ti cs ; \ s di s r i ll Cf
from rhe poli ce. Unl i ke juridicai d i spurcs, whi c| t a ke pl ace wi t h i n t he
police order, ie litigc poiitiqlll' br i ngs politics proper i nto ex i srcncc by
i nt roduci ng a veri t;1bl e d issensns t hat spl i ts i n t wo t he shared wOI"ld
of t he commu ni t v.
BP l 2·-47. TTP.
Di ssensus ( Le Dissensus)
A di ssensus i s !Ol Ü qU;Hrel o`er personal i nrerests or 0p1 11 1 0ns. ft i s
a pol i t i cal process r har res i srs j \1 ri di cI I l i r i gari on :1 I 1 d creares : 1 hssll re
i n r he sensi bl e order hv con frmi ng | |c c·ta|' | · |cí |ra ncvo·' o|
percept i on, t |o\1 ght· :I nd :I ct i on wi t h . |c' i n ad mi ssi hl e' , i . e. a pol i ti cal
subject.
BP 1 28-47; DW 1 23-6; JJl.
Di stribution of the Sensi ble ( Le Partage ru sensible)
Occa s i ona l l y t ransl a ÍLd H' t|L ' pa ri r i on of t he scns i |l c' . /c· jf/r/flg('
dl! scmibie rclcrs to r he i mpl i c i | law ¡o·cn | n z t he s ens i hl e orci n
| | | p:ncel s Ol ! l pl accs a nd for ms of par r i ci p:l t i on i n ·1 LlÎ`J l`1! l 1
worl d | ¬ fi rst cS Ll hl i s h i ng r he modes ·|l'lccpr i nn wi r h i n wh i ch
. |c .:1 I"e i ns cr i lwc. The cl i , r r i hui ot ( I f . |cscmi hl c r hm procI I Cl"S :1
s v.<; t cm o|s el f- n' i denr f:1 Cr s of pncq) r i on |. : ·cu on r he `I hor i zol 1 s
:l ncl mocbl i t i es of wh : l r i s vi si |l e :I n<l : 1\ 1 d i hk : · ··| | :1 5 wh,n C1 n
|c s:l i d, | |ot |
¬
| . . Î11 :\l e, o done. Sr r i ct l v spea k i ng, ' d i s t r l b\ 1 t l on'
t herefore refers hor h t o for ms of i nc l \1 s i on and t o for me; of excl us i on.
The ' sensi hl C' , of ((11 1 rse· does nor re Fer \ what s how, good s ense or
j udgc mcn| but t o whar i , rlistlii'tor or c· pahl c of be i ng ;l pprehc ndcd
hy t he s cns es.
I n r he real m of aestheti cs, Ra nci crc h:1 s anal\'sed ,h rec di ffercnt
prlrtrlgcs d1 5cmiblc: t he ethi cal regi me of i mages, | |·representative
regi me of art, :1 1 1<1 the aesthetic regi me of art. I n t he lwl i t i c:d
doma i n , he h :1 s studi eO rhe rCl ati onshi p between rhe pol i ce, : rocI I ·
· z| n
¬
account of r he popula r i on, :I nd poli ti cs, the di st urbance of t he
police d i st ri lur i on or the semi bl e hy r he subjectivization of r host"
who h ave no part i n i t.
D 57-()(), 1 24-5 ; |\', l^ l `|. 42-' ; TTP; `/.
86 GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS
Emancipation (L'Emancipation)
Neither the teleological end of a pol i ti cal project nor a state of soci al
l iberati on, the process of emanci pati on consi sts i n the pOl eni cal ·cri h-
cation of equality. Si nce thi s veri fcation i s necessari l y i ntermi r tent
and precari ous, the l ogic of emancipation is i n fact a heterol ogy, i . e. t he
i ntroduction of a ' proper-i mproper' that chal l enges the pol ice order.
AT; 0 82-3; IS 1 01 -39; PI S; SP 45-52.
Equality (L'Egaltel
Al though it is the only uni versal axi om of pol i ti cs, equal i t y
nonetheless remai ns undeter mi ned i n i ts content and l acks an Ópriori
foundati on. It i s , stri ct l y speaki ng, the presupposit i on di scerni bl e
i n the pol emi cal recon fi gurat i ons of the pol i ce di stributi on of the
sensible. In ot her words, Ranciere's concepti on of equal i t y must
not be confused wi th t he ar i t hmet i cal di st r i but i on of r i rlts anc
representati on. The essence of equal i ty is not U be lOun O i n u n
equi tabl e uni fcation o f i nterests but i n t he acts O l subjecti vi zati on
that undo the supposedl y nat ural order of the sensi bl e. By t rcJt i n: J
wrong, political subj ects t ransfor m the aest het i c coord i n;1 tes oft he
communi t y i n order t o i mpl ement t he onl y un iversal i n pol i ti cs : vc
are a l l equal .
BP 1 41 -2; eM 1 94-5 ; 0 3 1 -5 ; OME; Ì`. I S 45-73; LPA; PA 51 -8 ;
PI S; SP 31 -6, 80-91 ; TTP.
Ethical Regime of Images (Le Regime hhique des images)
Al though t he eth i cal regi me predates t he representative and
aesthetic regimes of art, i t h as by no means di sappeared i n moder
t i mes. I ts paradi gmati c formul ati on was provi ded by Pl ato. who
establ i shed a ri gorous di st ri buti on of i mages - not to be confused
wi t h 'art' - in rel ati onshi p to the ethos of t he communi ty. By
arrangi ng i mages accordi ng to t hei r ori gi n ( t he model copi ed) and
thei r end or purpose ( t he uses t hey are put to and the effects t hey
produce) , the et hi cal regi me separates arti sti c s i mul acra from the
true ar ts, i . e. i mi tati ons model led on t he ' t rut h ' whose fi nal ai m i s to
educate the ci ti zenry i n accordance wi t h the di st ri but i on of occupa­
t i ons in t he communi ty.
ÍI 1 27-8 ; PA 20-1. 42-3; PhP; PM 8 1 -5.
CLOSSARY OF Íl\l`Í |¹Ì | Ì! ^^
Literarity (Ln Utthnritei

/
lí |·iii l |S n·l .i lcr n u·cO lO nt.ì i | l |c .l :| |+ .i ¦ : · · .| · .. ·| Ì i tct at·t rc
Or :1 purel v ·ulÍ cct i \c ci tc�Or\ | l .t t | · . ili l ri | | | . i|| | i O Í \.I| ( · I l ··
vOrk· O| u r| lu·cc On | nO i ·i cl u.i l ·cn· | li l | t i c·. l l i · J uri quc | O:| c Ol
t nc sen· i ll e- wn i ch ni ilt hc rc|crrcH Í ·1' t l i L ccnOcrJt i c r ri n O|
the ' orphan l etter', wl �ere writìn
g
freel y ci rcubtes wi t hout � | Cii t | -
mUt i ng system and t hercby u ndcrm i ncs t he sensi hl e cOOrdi nJtc·· O| lÌc
representative re
g
i me of art. li tc|ari ty i · t lu· Jt Onc unO tlc · un1
t i ne l i terature's cOnOi t i On O| pO·· i li l i t
'
u nU t lc rJ r.i UOx i cul | i ni l i
wh i ch l i tcrut urc J· such |· nO l Onicr Ui ·Cc|i ll . lrtn u n \ Otlt| l·)))
Olci ·cCu r·t.
· ·
eM 1 1 5-')(; D\ 1 1 " ; ll/. NH 52; I)A YJ-40; PM ·¦ ^ . i l -9, `.
Literature ( Ln Litthtlture)
/· u · peL| '· c |·)i:¡ O| u r | i · | i c |r(Ou.t | Oi · O i · l i ncl |r·n /· /· /-l·//· ·.
l i tcrJturc ener:cU arOunO tnc l.ii n n | n· Ol ||c n | nC|tcn| n . Cl1 l| ! \
�¡ nO \H' Loex tcn· | \e v| t l t lt aestll eti c ;voi uti on r ! ur lrOt | i| \ i | | ( ·
cX | · lcncc l nc aest heti c re
g
i me of : rt . l l(·\\(\.·r. | | | c. ¡t t ì r. · · ·· : . |
| ¡)Ort Íl 1¡ ÍJ ·| · i njl c nOOc Ol .ii | · t i t jr·O| i tt i (n. | | | · · l ··tcn · · l ,· · ·-·
li l i t i L' \l i .i l ul. i nUcn· | nc lr.ti)+c\·Or| (l rctO~n | t i On .i ncÌ ·1 ''\´ '' I 11. ' !
J· vtl l u· lnc .OO. · u | ) O n | cr .i rc| i c · O| t lc representati ve re
g
i me of
art. Bv Os t i n i tÌ )( i nc | l1crcncc O| |Orn vi t n rc'`.i ÍO Í cOntCn+ a n d
. L ·
repl aci ng | lC nì nct i c pri nci |l c C| hct i Cn vi | | | nC C· prC·· i \c jOvcr
OlI ;) ngllage, l i t r u t urc rc| cct· t lL pOcl | L' of ittt·:··t¯ . t t t hc cxrcn·( Ol
c¬|cri ng i nto | t· OVn i nt crn| i| Jll( COn| ru( i ct i On lcl·' tc|) t vO l·) rn·O|
wri t i n
g
: the 'Orpha n l et t er' O|OcmOcrJt i c |iter:l rity J nc t lt :l Oii lt i .·
| ncJ rnat | On O| trut l i n t he vOrO nuUc |! c· l .
ll l `b-¬`. eM 14, ì l-´, 1 79-2()3; LPA; ` l '.' ' . `|
4 2-() O. ''-l 0´ . l/ 52-4. ,1(J -40. 5(J -() ; PM 5- l /f , i9, 1 41 -5/+ ,
1 .6¯6
Meta-Pol i tics (La Mha-politiqlle)
Meta-pol i ti cs, one of the t il ree pri nci pa| |Or m· Olpol i ti cal phi losophy,
emcrres out of 1arx's cri t i que of the di stance ·cpJ rut i n: t hc ct i li ()ì ì s
pretences of ri ghts JnO reprc·ent ution from the n J rc t r| t h Ol ·O·i ul
real i t v. l t t lcrclv (ci l l utc· lctvcci+ I··O cxt rCmc·. t lc cCnOc| ¡¡ |+ .¡ t | t|)
Ol t lc i ccOl O:| cul i l l |·| On· ·| para-politic� .t nU t|c u¡peJl \! .¡
88 GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS
communal i ncarnati on of soci al t ruth that i s stri ctly homol ogous wi t h
archi-politics.
BP 90-1 ; 0 61 -93 ; OW 1 17-20; LA; PhP.
Ochlos (L'Okhlos)
Ranci ere uses t hi s Greek term mea ni ng 'a t hrong of peopl e' or the
mult itude' to refer to a community ohsessed wi th i ts own u n i fi cati on,
at the expense of excludi ng the demos.
SP 31 -6.
Para-Politics (La Para-politique)
One of the t hree ki nds of political philosophy, para-pol i tics i s
the resul t of Ari stotl e's attempt to square the ci rcl e by i ntegrati ng
t he egali tari an anarchy of t he demos i nto t he cOl1 st i tuti onal order
of the police. Thi s mi meti c transformati on of the demos i nto one
of the parties of political l itigati on, as natural as i t may seem to
modern theori es of soverei gnty and the para-pol i ti cal t radi ti on of
social contract theory, masks the fact that the equal ity of the demos
can never be adequatel y accounted for wi t hi n t he pol ice order.
Í 61 -93; OW; PhP.
Partition of the Sensible (Le Plrtage du sensible)
JLt Distribution of the Sensible
People (Le Peuple)
Thi s term i s not used as a soci al , economi c, pol i t i cal . o ontol ogi ca l
category referri ng to a n i dent i fabl e group or a pre-consti tuted col l ec­
t ivi ty. The 'people' are the political subjects of democracy that
supplement the police account of the popul ati on and di spl ace the
establ i shed categories of i denti fcati on. They are the unaccou nted for
wi thi n t he police order, t he pol itical subjects t hat di scl ose a wrong
and demand a redi stri buti on of the sensi bl e order.
eM 1 26-7; Í 22-3, 61 -2; PIS ; SP 31 -6; TTP.
Poetics of Knowledge (La Poetique du savoir)
The study of the l iterary procedures by whi ch a par t i cul ar form o|
knowl edge establ i s hes i tsel f as a scient i fi c d i scourse (as was t he case,
GLOSSARY Òl TECHNI CAL 1IRM' 89
i n the n i neteent h centur y, wi th soci ol ogy, h i s tory, and pol i t i cal
sci ence) .
OW 1 1 '-1 6; `l 8-9, 23, 98-9.
Police or Police Order ( LI Police I L'Ordre policier)
As the general l aw that determi nes the d i stri huti on or parts and || .·
i n a commu ni ty as wel l as i rs forms of excl usi on, the police .· |t |·. ;· ·1 .l
forcmost a n orga n ization of ' hodies' |·1 sed II` a communal distrihution
of the sensible, i.e. a system or cooni i mtes dcf ni ng modes of bei ng,
doi ng, maki ng, and communicat i ng that establ i shes the borders between
the vi si bl e and the i nvi si bl e, the audi bl e and the i naudi bl e, the sayable
and the unsayable. This term should not be confused with La bassf po/irf
or the low-l evel police force that the word commonl y refers to i n both
French and Engli sh. La bassc police is onl y one particul ar i nstanti ati on
of an overal l distribution of the sensible that purports to provi de a
total i zi ng account of the popul ati on by assigni ng everyonc a ti tl e and ·1
role wi thi n t he social edi fi ce. The essence of the pol i ce, thereic) re, is not
repressi on hut rather a certai n distribution of the sensible that p|ecl ude'.
the emergence of politics. Thi s bei ng the case. there a re nonetheless
better and worse forms of pol ice, dependi ng on the extent to which the
establ i shed order remai ns open to breaches in its 'natural ' logic.
BP 7-1 5 ; CO; l 21 -42, 61 -5 ; OW; ML 40-1 ; PIS; S 40-1 ; TTP.
The Political ( Le Politique)
Al though Ranci i'IT does not m:l i ntai n ·1 stri ct tr mi nol ogi cadi st i nct i on
betwee�l politics /··,· :l I ld the pol i ti cal /· he of lt| 1
di s t i ngui shcs the I :Htcr as the mecl i ng (und hctweell politics ;1 n<l the
police. Tn th i s ,ell Se, the pol i t i cal i s t he terr:l i n upon whi ch the wri fi ­
cat i on o|equality confronts t he esubl i shcd odc|of i dent i f- cat i on ;l I 1 d
cl assi fi cHi on.
BP 7-1 5 ; PI S.
Political Dispute (Le Litige politique)
3tt Dispute
Political Philosophy (LI Philosophie politique)
Ranci cre has outl i ned t h ree forms of pol i t i Laphi l osophy t hat estahl i sh
a proper mode of pol i r i cal acti .i . . i nd I l cLl d i s·ol ·e· | ·· v;ui o\l s
90 GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS
ways, the confl i ct between pol itics and the police: arch i-politics,
para-politics, and meta-pol itics.
Ì vi i -xi i i , 61 -93; OW 1 1 7-20; TTP.
Political Subject (Le Sujet politique)
A pol i ti cal subject is nei ther a pol iti cal lobby nor an i ndi vi dual who
seeks adequate representation for hi s or her i nterests and ideas. It i s an
empty operator that produces cases of pol i tical dispute by chal l engi ng
the establ ished framework of i denti fcati on and classi fcati on. Through
the process of subjectivization, pol i tical subj ects bri ng politics proper
i nto exi stence and confront the police order wi th the heterol ogy of
emancipation. However, the mani festati on of pol i ti cs onl y occurs via
speci fc acts of i mplementati on, and pol i ti cal subj ects forever remai n
precarious fgures that hesitate at the borders of si lence mai ntai ned by
the police.
Ì 35-42, 58-9, 1 26-7; DME 3 1-3; OW 1 1 5-1 6; NH 88-95
(democratic subj ect); PIS ; TTP.
Politics (La Politique)
I f pol i ti cs has no proper place or predefned subjects for Ranciere, t hi s
does not mean that everyth i ng i s pol i ti cal . I n its st r i ct sense, pol i t ics
onl y exi sts i n i ntermi ttent acts of i mpl ementati on t hat l ack a ny overal l
pri nci ple or l aw, and whose only common characteri sti c is an empty
operator: dissensus. The essence of pol it ics t hus resi dcs i n acts of
subjectivization that separate soci ety from itsel f by ch al l engi ng the
' natural order of bodies' i n the name of equality and pol emi cal l y
reconfguri ng the distribution of the sensible. Pol i t ics i s an a narch i cal
process of emancipation that opposes the l ogi c of disagreement to t he
logic of t he police.
BP 7-1 5 ; 0 vi i-xi i i , 21 -42, 61 -5, 1 23 ; DME; OW; Pa A; PI S; 5 4 0-1 ;
TTP.
Post-Democracy (La Post-democratie)
The paradoxi cal i dent i fcati on of democracy wi th a consensual pract i ce
t hat suppresses pol i ti cal subjectivization.
0 95-1 40; SP 31 -6.
GI CSSARY C| 1ICI l Nl C·\ I 1IR\'
Regimes of Art ( Les Regimes de tart)
I n broad terms, a re¡i me of ar t is a mode of art i cu bt on hetween
t h ree t h i ngs : ways of doi ng and maki ng, t hei r correspondi ng for ms of
vi s i hi l i t y, and ways of conceptua l i zi ng both the former and t he Lurer.
l.i |. . c.c has prov ded deta i l ed accou nrs of t hc ethi cal regi me of
i mages, the representative regi me of art, a nd the aesthetic regi me
of art. I n h i s most recent work, he has i mroduced t he t erm r<rzirlle
d' iraght({ ( , i mage regi me' or ' i magi ng regi me' ) to refer Î the speci fc
mode of arti cu l ati oll hetween rhe vi si hl e and the sayabl e v t || o .i ¡ ·c¬
regi me of art.
DI '`) . `^ 1 6-1 7.
Representative Regi me of Art (ÏeRegime reprisentat�f de lin·t)
I\l so referred to as the ' poeti c regi me of a rt, t he reprcsen tat J " c rq�l Jl1t'
emerged Ol l t of Ari stotl e's cri t que of Phr a nd establ i shed U `eri ''
of a x i oms : |a: ·vc.c evcntuH d l \ codi fed i n t he Cl assi cal t\gc. The
representati ve regi me l i bcr;l tecl
'
t he ;l rts from t he mora l , rel i gi r; us, and
soci a l cri teri a of t he ethical regi me of i mages a nd sep;l Lned t he l-i ne
arts, qua i mi tati ons, from ot her tec hn i ques and mocks of product i on .
By defi n i ng the essence of POi/iSis as the fI cti onal i mi t at ion of act i ons
a nel i sol ati ng a speci fc dom;] i n f or f¡ ct i on× t he representat ive regi me
dìd not, however, es t·l bl i sh .1 ,i mpl e regi me of rcsembh nec. Rather
t ha n rll roduci n rea l i tv, works wi t h i n rhe re
f
llTSenLl t i ve regi mc nhc\'
· - � •
a ser i es of a xi oms th·l t de fll e t he a rt s ' proper f'or ms: t he h i er;nchv of
l�en re, :l nd suhj ect mat tn, t he pri nci pl e of appn) pri a tcil ess r h;l t ;Hbprs
forms of exprcss i on a nd ; l cti ol l t o t hc s uhj ect , represcnted ;l l ld Î the
propn gen re. the i deal of speech ;1 5 :lCt t ha t pri vi l cges I a ngl L1 ge over t he
vi si hl e i magery t hat suppl emel l ts i t .
CM 1 10-1 ; DI 20-1 , ¯6. o`¬`. 1 2(), ì z··` . l' 1 4-1 1 : l | \ '. I F
2 1 -5, 4()-50; LP;\; PA 2 1 --2, 35-- () , ¬.' . PI1 1 7-50, ¬` -·` . ^/.
Sensible, The (Le SensiMe)
\( Distri huti on of the Sensi hle
Si l ent Speech ( La Parole murtte)
As one of t he ccmr¡ | feat\es of t he aestheti c regi me of art, si l en
specch is the cont r·1l i ctory conj uncri on hetweell t wo c| coc. + t s o|
92 GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS
thi s regi me. On the one hand, meani ng i s taken to be i mmanent i n
thi ngs themselves and, thus, everythi ng - from a bui l di ng's facade
to a woman's face - takes on a voice of its own. On the other hand,
however, t he mute t hi ngs of t he world only begi n t o speak i f someone
deciphers thei r latent meani ng and speaks for them (otherwi se they
remai n completely s i lent) . Thi s contradi cti on has given bi rt h to at least
two maj or forms of si lent speech: t he latent meani ng beneath the h iero­
glyphi c surface of written signs and the brute presence or punctum that
remai ns a deaf and si l ent obstacle to all forms of si gni fcati on.
DI 2 1-2; I E 42; PM.
Subject
JLLPolitical Subject
Subjectivization (La Subjectivation)
Alternately translated as 'subj ect i fi cat i on' or ' subjecti vat i on', fa subjec­
tivation i s the process by whi ch a political subject extracts i tself from
the domi nant categories of i dent i fcati on and cl assi fcati on. By treati ng
a wrong a nd attempti ng to i mpl ement equali ty, pol i ti cal st+ bj eLt i vi -
zati on creates a common locus of dispute over t hose who have no pa rt
i n the establ i shed order. However, the very act of ident i fyi ng these
political subjects necessari l y has recourse to misnomers, i . e. names
that i nadequately refer to the anonymous multitude that has no ti r l e
i n the police order. The logi c of subjecti vi zati on i s therefore based
on the i mpossi ble i dent i fi cati on of pol itical subjects, that i s to say
subjects who remai n uni denti fabl e i n the gi ven feld of experi ence
and necessitate ' inaudi ble' modes of enunci ati on such as: ' We a rc al l
German Jews ! '.
D 35-42, 58-9, 1 26-7; DME 31 -3; DW 1 1 5 -1 6; PIS; TTP.
Writing (L'Ecriture)
Wri t i ng is not s i mply a sequence of typographi c signs whose pri nted
for m i s disti nct from oral communi cati on. It i s a speci fc distribution
of the sensible that replaces the representative regime's ideal of
l i vi ng speech wi th a paradoxi cal form of expressi on that undermi nes
the legiti mate order of discourse. In one respect, wri ti ng i s the silent
speech of democrati c literarity whose 'orphan l etter' freely ci rcui ares
�1Id speaks l anyone a nd nTrY
OIC prcCl scl v beLusI i t h :1 s flO l i \' i n)
logos Î d i recr i t. At t he salll' t i lll c, ho\\',' \ t'!, wri t i ng l cnd'; i |s·l |Í' : '·
:l ttcl l l pt t o e.stabl i sh ; t n ' cmhod i ed d i scol l rse' as t he' i !CHl l .Hi on ·' : |.
t ruth of a cOll l tll un i ty, \Xr i t l n) i s consequenth' c: l l I ght i n ·1 c( )rHi n ll �1 1
con fl i ct between democr at i c literarity : ld t i l e des i re Í ' ' est ahl i s h · ! ' ll L´
wri t i ng of t he word m:l dc h·· |.
!' :· I E Y1-I 2: NH ¯l)-l|¹ , Pi '2- () O: Pa;\ 2() '-': l^ 1 /1 ,
71 -2, H l -l 00.
Wrong (Le Tort)
A wrong i s a speci fi c form of equality that establ i s hes t h· ' on k
un iversa l of politics as a pol emi cal poi nt of ,tmgtI e by reht i l l t­
the ma n i festat i on of political subjects Í t he police order. Un l i ke
j uri d i cal l i t i gat i on, a wrong docs nor, t her efore, occu r hetween det er ,
mi ned p:ì r| es and can not he resolved by j uridi ca l procedures. ;\ \\TOtl f
can onl y he t re:Hed by modes or pol i | i ca l subj ectivization t hat recon-
|gu|e the fel d of experi ence.
D 3-6, 1 3, 2 1 -42, 61 -.), 7i-RO, l''` . ll `
Appendix II
Bi//ic«·a/h|c;P·ima·|(md Secondary Sourcesi O
Books
La Le(on d'Althusser, Pari s:
E
di ti ons Gal l i mard, 1 974, A n Engl i sh
transl ati on of the ori gi nal cri ti cal essay, ' Pour memoi re: s ur h t hcori e
de l ' ideologie ( 1969)', appeared as ' On the theory of i deology ( the
pol i ti cs of Al thusser)', along wi th a t ransl ation of t hc 'Afterword
from February 1 973, i n Radical Philosophy 7 (Spri ng 1 974) : 2-1 5.
' On t he theory of ideology' was repri nted i n two works: Rrldiml
Philosophy Reader. Eds Roy Edgley and R i chard Osborne, London:
Verso, 1 985. 1 01 -36; Ideology. Ed. Tcrry Eagl eton. London:
Longman Group UK Ltd, 1 994. 1 41 -61 .
La Nuit des prolhaircs: Archives du rClJe oUlJricr. Pari s: Li hra i ri e
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ol i t i cs of travel .·|·n mcr apl lO r' s of S P:1Cl" .
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t Ll ns. Qlli Ptlr/f, ¦ ' . '0'· 4
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di ti ons Compkxe,
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Contemporary Criticism 30: 2 (2000) : 1 1 3-26.
'
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.
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di ti ons Tra.t d'un i ou,
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;
50pJ�y. Ed. Peter
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Disagreement: jacques Rtlnciere and the Politiw! (co

ference
mIlU()(� RAPllY 01 PRI MARY AND S FCONDMty SOURCES
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' Goda rd, Hi tchcock and the ci nematographi c i mage' , For ¡·c (J'orrrrl.
Eds, Mi chael Templ e, J a Iles \Xi | | | .¡ Í1J '. ·1 nd `Ì i chael \Xl i tr , l . ondon:
ll +c|Dog Puhl i sh i ng :l nd Pha i don Press, 20n4,
' Who i s the suhj ect of the ri ghts of 1l:1 n ) ' . ,'oilth At/t/Ilt1!' ··· ·1
l¹. `-· ( Spr i ng/Su mmer .''¬) .
' Iom |yo|ì rd |o Sch i l l Lr. two read i ngs of Ka nt a n d t hcl r pni i t i cal
si gn i fcance . Ra·/·cc Pf·i/o^oj!/·y. for r hcom i nt;,
Further Readi ng
Bad i ou, Al ai n . ' Ranci ere et I a LOm|JÀ!n·l utc de s cgal l x' :l nd ' lHn¹! (´ ' l
l 'apol i ti que'. A/··c.c mhajo/itifl/{. Pari s: tdi ti ons cl u Seui l . l'H
l ` l -`o.
Rent on, Td . ' Di scussi on: l.· |· c| : · |: ( ) Il i deol ogy'. Rrrr/iur/ I)/Ji/oro/,h)' ()
( Wi nter 1974) : 27-8 .
Cra i h, I a n. ' Ranci iTe a nd ;\ l t hl l Sser' . Rrrr/im/ Philosoph)! 1( ) ( Spi nF
l()7') : 28~9.
Dera nty, Jea n-Ph i l i ppe. ' Jacques Ibnci ere's cont ri huti on Í the eth i cs
of recogni t i on'. !Jo/itical l/Jm)'v 31: 1 ( Fehrl :1 rv 200,)) : 1 )h-'(, .
Duri ng, |l i c. ' \Xl hat pure ;l esr! ; et i o can' t do'.
'
4·· Pr('l( 2()7 ( /\pr i l
20(1 ) : '(-8.
Engel i hcr t, ]cl n-P:l uL ` `u Jacques Ibnci crc' , /·!r· /(r'(('rr r,.f,/
/cr/lcrche /t/t(·i|l ,) 0 (bl l - \''i ÎL 1 ()()8) : 2.)-32,
Ci hson. Andrew. ' Ranci e re a nd t he " l i mi t" of rea l i sm' , /·/······//··
Dismn!ei! ls. Eds. Da nuta Fj el l estad and El i zabet h Kel l a. Karbkrona ,
Sweden: Bl el < i nge lnst i t\te of Tech nol ogy, 2() 03. 5() -(N
Ci bson, And rew. ' ''And t he wi ncl vhcezi ng t h rough t hat organ once i l
a vh i le. voi ce, narrati ve, f l m'. New /tt.·a; Histor), \.. \ ( Sl I mmer
20(1 ) : 639-'7.
Hi rst, Paul . ' Rancihc, idcol ogv, and capi tal '. ´· /.. ·m² Uo!gl"
London a nd Ihsi l l gstoke: The ltJcmi l l all Press LTD. l'¹`'¹. ¯-¹¯.
Ll lwl l c. Gi l l es. ' Two |c·Jndat i o| prol ects of democracv i n tt! 1t| ) 1-
[¯O|ì rv frcl lch ph i l osophy: Cornel i m Cas tori ad i s a ll d J1 CC] 1 Il'''
l·1ci cr'. Nancy Rcnaul t · ·.· | i ·. [/li/osop/ll' ···/ ,,,'ocii/! (··· ··
27: 4 (Jnl v, 20(1) . ¯°-I.
1 00 BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES
Mehl man, Jeffrey. ' Teachi ng readi ng: the case of Marx in France'.
Diacritics: A Review ofContemporary Criticism 6: 4 |`i nIcr 1 976) :
10-1 8.
Panagi a, Davi de. ' Ceci nest pas un argument: an i ntroducti on t o t he tcn
theses'. Theory and Event 5: 3 (2001 ) . <http: //muse. j hu. edu/jourt1:i s/
theory _and_event/toclarch ive. ht ml #5. 3>
Ross, Kri st i n. May `ó3 and Its Aferlives. '|i caÞC: Uni versi ty Cl
Chicago Press, 2003.
Ross, Kri sti n. ' Ranciere and the practice of equal ity'. SOcifli Text 29
( 1991 ) : 57-71 .
Valenti ne, Jeremy. 'The hegemony of hegemony'. History o/the Human
Sciences 1 4: 1 (February 2001 ) : 88-1 04.
Watts, Phi l ip. ' Le ci nema entre mimesis et zone d 'ombre'. Critique
58: 665 (October, 2002) : 830-7.
Zi zek, Sl avoj . ' Pol i ti cal subj ecti vi zati on and i ts vi ci ssitudes'. The Ticklish
Subject. London: Verso, 1 999. 1 71 -244.
Special Issues on Ranciere
Critique 53: 601-602 (June-July 1997) . Contents: Phi l i ppe Roger,
' Presentati on' ; Yves Michaud, ' Les pauvres et leur p|I losophe: l a
phi losophi e de Jacques Ranci ere'; Patri ck Ci ngol ani , íCdcri tc,
democratie, heresie'; Arlette Farge, Thi stoi re comme uvt ncmcnt.
Pierre Campi on, ' MaJ l arme a l a l umiere de ] a rai son pOcIi cuc ;
Jacques Ranciere, ' La parole muette: notes sur " l a l i \\cra\lc' .
Theor and Event 6: 4 (2003) Contents: Jean-Phi l ippe Deranty, ' Rancierc
and contemporary pol i ti cal ontology'; Davide Panagia, ' Thi nki ng wi th
and agai nst the "ten theses'''; Michael Di l lon, ' (De)void of pol i tics? :
a response to Jacques Ranciere's "ten theses on politics'''; Í.) ni r R.
Mufti, 'Reading Jacques Ranciere's "ten theses on pol itics": ultcr
September 1 1 th'; Ki rstie M. McClure, ' Disconnections, connections,
and questions: refections ofjacques Ranciere's "ten theses Cn pol itics''';
Jacques Ranciere, 'Comments and responses'. <http: //musc.jhu.edu/
journals/theory_and_event/toclarchi ve. html #6. 4>
SubStance: A Review o/Theory and Literary Criticism 1 03, 33: Ì (2004) .
Contents: Eri c Mechoul an, 'I ntroducti on' ; ]ucCuc· Rall cierc,
'The pol i tics of l i terature'; Sol ange Gucnolln, 'Jacques R: tllciere's
Freudi an cause'; Gabri el Rockhi l l , 'The s i l ent rcVCl uti On; ]cu n-
H lBU() ( ; RAPHY OF PRI MARY ,\ NIl S ECONDARY S Oll RCFS ¦ 0 |
lOu i · DeNte, ' The O i ll·rcnCc· ¦C|vCcn Í\ i) (i t|· \c·c //·/:
'jOl i | i c\ì O i ·.i irccncnt) u ntÌ Ì\Ot\ rO · !·j/ Ì··m lOn Ì\. .\
hbk Ol fi l m: Íu i) C| cc· /n |hO|) `.i n i) ; Ài ch( | C '\rcuu. Ìi l n·
uc·tÌcIi c tu r: \ cCnt ri |uti O|1 !rOn | \ccuc· Í\ i) ci ( ic; Ì.ªiO Í.
ÌLl l ¶ `ri t i n¡, IlOVerel lt/sp:lCC, dcm(cr.) cv. ti) |. i ccuc· Í\ nci (r··
l | tcr\ r\ h i srory',

Translators Introduction
Jacques Ranciere's Politics of Perceptimr"
CABRIEL ROCKHIll. As Alain n:l.d i otl has aptly poi nted out, Jacques R anci cre s work
'

does not belong to any particular JCademi c community but LIther phi losophy and politics, and between doc ll me nr ar y ;In<1 h,:tio!1' (l')q;.�: propellSity for assimilating European intellccrllal and cultliLll hi<;!(Or" r()\lCalllr, an a\lthor wi t h whom he 11 i fllSf'! r
:],

i nhabits unknown intervals ' between history and philosophy. het,veen

122) His II nique methodology, eclectic re s cHch hahiu.,1Ild
.

v,

'r.l( ;'''.1'

arc comparable perhaps only to the llllCla ssifiahlc work or \1;, hel

literature, it is perhaps ;lttriblluhlc to whar Rdl1cicrc hiil1selr h,I'

affin ities. If his voice has yet to he he.11d in fl)ll !nrcl' i n the Fnglish­ speaking world due to a bck ()f trall,,1ario']s 1n,1 SlIrSC;tfll s(,lomb!"; : called the distr i bution of the sensible, or the sy,tcm of divt,inlls and

k n('wlc,l�('·<;

(':rLllll

within a particular aesthetico-pnlitic:l.1 reg i me.

boundaries that define, among other things, wh:1I is visible �ncl alldihle Although closely affiliated with the group or neo-i'vlarxists wnrk;ng

around A Ithusser in the 19()Os, Ranciere's vi I'ulenr criticisms of r he latter a:; of he had shared the common project Lire lc Glpit(;/in

1968

served to distance him from the author with whom

explained in the Preface to La Ler;oll dAft/'llsse]" was partially
;1

19()5. As Rancii:re (1974), the thcor etical

and political di stance separating his work from Althusserian )vlarxism
res.tlt of the event, of 1 968 and the realization that

Althusser's school was a 'ph i 10soph;T of ordcr' whose very pri nciples anaesthetized the revolt against the bourgeoisie. Uninspired by the political options proposed by thin kers such as Dclcuzc ;ll1d Lyota rd, statement in the TtlPsis
(1(7

Rancicre saw in the politics of dift��rence the risk of reversing M:HX'c

FC!tCr/;f!ch: 'Wc tried t(1 tra ns for m the wnrid

2

T H E POLITICS OF AESTH ETIC S

' TRANSL\TOR S INTROD UCTION

i n diverse ways, now it is a matter of interpreting it' (]974: 14). These criticisms of the response by certain intellectuals to the events of May 1968 eventually led him to a critical re-examination of the socia l , political, a n d historical forces operative i n the production of t heory. I n the fi rst two books to follow t he collection of essavs on Althusser, ' Ranciere explored a question that would continue to preoccupy h i m in his later work: from what position do we speak a n d i n t h e name of what or whom? Whereas La Nuit des proletaires (1981) proceeded via the route of meticulous historical research to unmask the ill usions of representation and give voice to certain mute events in the h istory of workers' emancipation, Le Philosophe et ses pauvres (I983) provided a conceptualization of the relationship between thought and society, p h ilosophic representation a nd its concrete historical object. Both of these works contributed to undermining the priv i leged p osition usurped by phi l osophy in its various attempts to speak for others, be it the proletariat, the poor, or anyone else who is not ' destined to think '. However, far from advocat i ng a populist stance and claiming to fi n a l ly bestow a specific identity on the u nderprivileged, Ranciere thwarted the artifice at work in the discourses founded on the s ingu l ari ty of the other by revealing the ways i n which t hey a re ult imatel y pre d i cate d on keeping the other in i ts place. This general criticism of social and political philosophy was counter­ balanced by a more positive account of the r el a tion ship between the 'intellectual' and the emancipation of society i n Ranciere's fourth book, Le Maztre ignorant (987). Analysing the life and work of Joseph Jacotet, Ranciere argued in favou r of a pedagogical methodology th at would aboli sh any presupposed inequalities of intelligence such as the academic hierarchy of master and disciple. For Ranciere, equa l ity should not be thought of in terms of a goal to be attained by work ing th rough the lessons promulgated by prom i nent social and poli t ica l t h i n kers. On th/: contrary, it i s the very axiomatic poin t of depa rture whose sporadic reappearance via disturb a n ce s in the set system of social i nequalities is the very e�sence of emancipation. T h i s explains, in part, Ranciere's general rejection of pol itical ph i losophy, understood as the theoretical enterprise that abolishes politics proper by ident i fying it with the 'police' (see below). It also sheds light on his own attempt to work as an 'ignorant school master' who - rather than transmitting

performatively contradictory lessons on the content of em;) n c i pation - a i ms at giving a voice to those excluded from the hierarchies of knowledge. With the more recent publ ication of AIiX Bord, dN politiCju{' (j9<)O) and La Mlj'entrnte (1995), Ranciere has further elaborated a politics of democ ratic emancipation , which might best he ulldersrood in terms of its central concepts. The po/icc, to beg i n with, is defined as an orga n izationa l system of coordinates that establishes a distribution 01 the sensible or a la,v that divides the community into grollPS, social positions, and functions. This law impl ici tly separates those who tak e part from those wh o are excl ud e d , and it the re fore presupposes '1 prior aesthetic d ivision between the visible and the invisible, the ;]ud iblc and the inaudible, the sayable and the unsJyahle. The e s se nce of /)(}/itlcs consists i n i nterrupting the distribution of the sensible hv su pp l e­ menti ng it with those who h;lve no part in the pcrceptll<ll C()(lrciinates i of the community, thereby modifying the vcry ;1Csthetico-politicd f e l d defines t!,(� of possibility. It is partially tor this rcason that Railciere political as re l ati onal in nature, founded on t1lf' intervention of politics i n the police order rather than on the estahlishment of ;] particular governmental regime. Moreover, pol iti c s in its strict sense never presup­ poses a reified subject or p rede fi ned group of I I l d iv iduals such,]s the prolctJriat, the poor, or minorities. On the contra r\', the only possible subject of pol itics is the p{'op/{' or the diil7!os, i.e. the supplementary part of evc ry account of the population. Those who have no name, \vho remain invisible and inaudible, can only penetrate the p o l ice order via a m od e of JU/;jectilJizatiol1 that transForms the ;lesthetic coordinate� of th e commun i ty by impl emen ting the un i versa l pw;uppos ition of pol itics : we arc all equal. D{,l7!oCfacy i tsel f is defined by the se intermittent acts of polit ical subjectivization that reco nfig ure the communal distribution of the sensible. However, j \lS t as {'Cj1lfdity is not a go al ro be attai ned hut a presupposition in need of constant verification, democracy is neither ;] for m of governmellt nor a style of social life. Democratic rmr7riClj}(ltirJrl is a r an dom proces,� that red i strihu tes the system of sensible coordin;ltes without being able to guarantee the ahsolute elimination of the soc ial ine qu a l it ies inherent in the pol ice order. The irres olv;lhle conAict between p oli t i cs and the police, most visible perhaps in the p ere n nial persistence ofa lllrrJllgth,lt cannot be resolved

4

T H E POLITICS OF AESTHETICS

' TRANSLATOR S I NTRO DUCTI()N

by j uridical l itiga tion, h as led many readers to i n terpret La Mesentente as a simple continuation of Lyotard's Le Diffirend ( 1 983) . A l though a conceptual proximity is readily apparent, Ranciere is careful to d istin­ guish his p roject from what he considers to be the essentially discu rsive n ature of Le diffirend. Accordi ng to his defi nition, disagreement is neither a misunderstanding nor a general lack of comprehension. It is a conRict over what is meant by 'to speak' and over the very distri­ bution of the sensible that delimits the horizons of the sayable and determines the relationship between seeing, hearing, doing, making, and t h i n k in g. I n other words, disagreement is less a clash between heterogeneous p h rase regimens or gen res of d iscourse than a confl ict between a given d istribution of the sensible and what remains outside it. B egi n ni n g with the publication of Courts Voyages au pays dtt peuple (1990) and up to h is most recent work on film and modern a rt, Ranciere has repeatedly foregrounded his long-standing i nterest i n aesthetics while at the same time analysing its conjunction with both politics and history. I n positio n i ng h imself aga inst the Sartrean preoccnpation with engagement and the more recent hegemony of the T Que! group, el Ranciere presents h i s reader with a u n ique account of aesthetics as well as an i nnovative description of its major regimes. Accordi ng to the genealogy h e h as u ndertaken, the ethical regime of images character­ istic of Platonism is primarily concerned with the origi n and telos of i magery in relationship to the ethos of the community. It establishes a distribution of i mages - without, however, identifyi ng 'art' i n the singular - that rigorously d istinguishes between artistic simulacra and the 'true arts' used to educate the citizenry concerni n g their role in the communal body. The representative regime is an artistic system of A ristotelian heritage that liberates i mitation from the constra i nts of ethical utility and isolates a nMmatively autonomous domain with its own rules for fabrication and criteria of evaluation. The aesthetic regime of art puts t h is enti re system of norms i nto question by abolishing the dichotomous structure of mimesis in the n ame of a contradictory identi­ fication between Logos and pathos. It thereby provokes a t ra nsformation in the distribution of the sensible established by the representative regime, wh ich leads from the primacy of fiction to the pri macy of language, from the h ierarchical organization of genres to the equal i ty

of

rcprescnted subjecrs, from the p r inciple of approp riate discourse to
Ranciere has forcefully argued that the emergence of literature in the

the indifference of stvle with regard to subject matter, and from the ' ideal of sp e e ch as act and perf{m lanCe to the model of writing.

the rcpresentJtive regi rrw a n. However, it simultaneously ;lCts as the comr;ld ic tor y I i III it at which the s pecific i t y of literatur e itself disap pea rs dlle rn the bet thal lt
of no longer has any clearly identifiahle characteristics that would distin­ guish it from any other mode of discourse. This partially explains the democratic

literature as such and its emancipation from

the deve lopment of the aesthetic regime of art. By rej ecti n g the repre­ poetics of mimesis, modern l iterature contributed to a general reconfiguration of the sensible order linked to the contradiction inherent in what Ranciere cal l s iitf'rarit)', i.e. the status of a written word that freely circulates outside any system of legitimation. On the one h and lit erarity is a necessary condition for the appearance of modern
in sentative regime'�
,

nineteenth century as distinct from Irs iJel!es-i('ttres was a central catalYST

o ther maj or fcmn of writ ing that has been in constant st ru gg l e with

literarity throug h out

the modern age: the idea of a

writing' that would incorporate language in sllch a way
-

diction' between these two f{)tms of defines the unique

f ree Ro ating, disemhodied discollfse of lireraritv. The 'positive comr;1writing, as well ;IS the parado\ til;'l

'tme as to exc lude tile

discursive ,tatllS of liter;1tllrt' as sllch, has given risc

to numerous and v;Jried responses through the COllrse of time. In other words, this contradiction of modern literature,

has played a product ive role in the emergence and it has also been dec i sive in setting the sta ge for later developments i n the aesthetic regime of art. To take one ex ampl e among m any, Ranciere has recently argued in Lfl FaM(' cinrma­ tographique (2001) that a positiv e contradiction - between elements of the representative and aesthetic regimes of art - is also operative in film. On the one h and, the very invention of fil m ma terial l y realized the
properly aesthetic definition of art, first elaborated in Schelling's

of fiction that bestows a new youth on the genres, codes, and conventions of represen­ tation that democratic literarity had put into question. J n h is c r it ica l genealogy of art a nd pol itics, Ra nciere has also dealt extensively with the emergence of history as a un iq u e di s ci pl i n e (res

processes. On the other hand, however, film is an art

of Ti"flrlscOldmtai ldM/ism,

Systnll

as a union of conscious and unconscious

6

T H E POLITICS OF AEST H ETICS

each of these studies, a central argument i s discernible: the h istorical conditions of possibility for the appearance of these practices are to be found i n the contradictory relationship between elements of the repre­ sentative and aesthetic regimes of art. Thus continuing to work i n the i n tervals between pol itics, philosophy, aesthetics, and h istoriography, Jacques R a nciere will u ndoubtedly leave h i s own i ndelible mark on one of his privileged objects of study: the distribution of the sensible.

Noms de l'histoire, 1992) and, more recently, with psychoanalysis (L'fnconscient esthCtique, 2000), photography, and contemporary art (Le Destin des images, 2003). Beh i nd the i n tricate ana lyses present in

The Distribution of the Sensible

AliC{'. inscrihed in .stemming from an avant-garde arristic movement in the post-war period. for their journal. T developed my responses . The reinterpretation of the Kantian . the work ofJean-Fran<. prompted as well by a novel reflection on the major avant-garde theories and experiments concerning the fllSion of art and life.lnd chrified their presuppositions [8] as fH as pmsihle. dictate the structure of the present text. At their origin was a set of questions asked by two young philosophers. The proliferation of voices denouncing rhe crisis of art or irs fatal capture by discourse.In:1lysis [9] of the suhlime inrroduced . however. and thus of a certain aest hetics of politics. the privileged site where the tradition of critical thinking has metamorphosed into deliberation on mourning.1 bro. and of the transformations of avant­ garde thinking into nostalgia. Muriel Combes and Bernard Aspe. developing into a radical critique of pol itics in the 19(iOs.is undoubtedly symptomatic of the contemporary ebb and Row of aesthetics and politics. and more speciflcally for the section entitled 'The Factory of the Sensible'. At the request of Eric Hazan and Stephanie Cregoirc.' This particular soliciration is.:ois Lyotard that best marks the way in which 'aesthetics' has become. The trajectory of Situationist discourse . suffi ce to indicate that a hattie fought yesterday over the promises of emancipation and the illusions and disillu­ sions of history continues today on aesthetic terra in. the pervasiveness of the spectacle or the death of the image. Their questions.lder context. It is within this framework that they interviewed me on the consequences of my analyses-in DiJagrrcment-of the distribution of the sensible that is at stake in politics.Foreword The following pages respond to a twofold solicitation. and absorhed today into the routine of the disen­ chanted discourse that acts as the 'critical' stand-in for the existing order . in the last twenty years. however. This section is concerned with aesthetic acts as configurations of experience that create new modes of sense perception and induce novel forms of political subjec­ tivity. [t is.

The connection between these 'simple practices ' and modes of di'course. The results of this research will not be found in the present work. elaborating the not have their origin in a desire to take a polemical stance.]n sublime with the Freudian primal scene. This means. first of all. Defini ng the connections with in ". c on ct'ptions of thought. I have nevertheless attempted to indicate a few historical and conceptual reference points appropriate for reformulating certain conceptual prejudices as historical determinations and temporal delim­ problems that have been irremediably confused by notions that pass off itations as conceptual determinations. The following responses will not lay claim yet vocation of art or to the vitality of a modernity that links the conquests in which these questions and answers are inscribed. J -. I ndica ti ng the general lack of evidence supporting these notions obviously does inscribed in a long-term project that aims at re-establishing a debate's very meaning of [10] what is designated by the term aesthetics. in the face of postmodern disenchantment. rvlallarmc. today the source of all the jumbled miscellany that arh itra ri l y sweeps [11] toge tht'r s uch fig u res . of course. but it docs not not entail adhering to the contemporary discourses on the return to the simple reality of artistic pr actice s and its criteria of assessment. which denotes neither art theory in general nor a theory that would consign conditions of intelligibility. rhe tiona r y parricide. nr Duchamp into a vast whirlwind where Canesi. their elaboration will follow its own proper College !nternational de Philosophie. to the avant. In thi� way. politics.10 T H E POLITICS O F AEST H ETIC S F()RFW()f{D 11 into the field of art a concept that Kant had located beyond it. r t did with the unpresentable that cripples all thought. and any other o b j ect of thought. and thereby a witnes� this in order to more effectively make art a witness to an encounter political endeavour to have 'thought' become 'world'. A number of contem­ convert this Fundamental reversal into more mediocre prose. the Kanri. the possibilities that they determine. the age of tilt' ma s se s vvith Romantic irrationalism.gard e of artistic innovation to the victories of emancipation. and framework provided by the University of Paris-VIII and the my research and of a seminar held over the past few years within the and their modes of transFormation. for the prosecution against the arroga nee of the grand aesthetico­ no t i o ns fig u r es . On the contran'. These pages do specify their objective. forms of life. pace . abyss of thought and the disaster of its misrecognition continued after porary contributions to thinking the disasters of art or the image This familiar landscape of contemporary thought defines the context again. the ban on repr ese nta t i on with the tech n iq ue s of mechanized repro­ duction.]n sc i enc e ge ts mixed lip with rC\'0Iu­ reflection on art became the site where a mise-en-scene of the original the proclamation of the end of political utopias. such is the present objective of this aesthetic regime of the arts. Cezanne.lt­ isfactorv mise-en-scene of the 'end' and the 'return' that p ersisrc lltlv the terrain of ar t. Malevich. possible ways of thinking about their relationships (which presupposes a certain idea of thought's eFfectivity). their corresponding forms of vis ibility. o cc upi [12J ds art to its effects on sensibility. They arc effort to think through thi s c onnec t io n require s forsaking the 1lIlS. and figures of the community is not the fruit of a maleficent m isappropriat i on.IS H6ldnlin. Aesthetics refers to a specific regime (or identifying and reflecting on the arts: a mode of articulation between ways of doing and making. the c oncept of mod ernity. the R i ght of the gods with the extermination of the Jews in Europ e. Among the foremost of these .

writing and the t he a tre -. it defi nes what is visible or not in a common space.as the system of rt priori forms determin ing what presents itself to sense experience. The question of fiction is first a question regarding the distribution of places. A speaking being. according to Aristotle. However. which is simultaneo usly a locus of public activity and the exhibition-space for'fantasies'.re-examined perhaps by Foucault . Plato states that artisans cannot be put in charge distribution of the sensible reveals who can have a share in what is 'occupation' thereby determines the ability or inability to take charge of what is common to the community. This aesthetics should not be understood as the perverse cOllltllandeering of politics by a will to art. The common to the community based on what they do and on the time and space in which this activity is performed. From th e Platonic point of view.lCstheticizatioll of politics' specific to the 'age of the masses'. Aristotle states that a citizen is someone who on a distribution of spaces.l i e m to "peal<.5 A distribution of the sensible therefore participation and in what way various individuals have a part in t hi s in the act of governing and being governed. By stealing away to wander aimlessly without knowing who to sp eak to or who not to speak to. However. times. he of citizens. If the reader is r()nd of analogy. They cannot be somewhere elsr because work will not wait. the stage. Artistic practices are 'ways of doing and making' thar intervene in the gener al distribution of ways of doing and making as well as in the relationships they maintain to modes ofh eing and f(m)ls of visibi l ity. It is a delimitation of [14] sp ace s and t ime s.THE [)[STRTRlITTON OF THE SFNSIllLF The Distribution of the Sensible: Politics and Aesthetics In Disagreement. and spaces. politics is examined from the perspectilJe of what you call the 'distribution of the sensible: In your opinion. etc. Having a particular of the shared or common elements of the community because they do does not 'possess' it. ummd the properties of spaces and the possihi I ities of time. two major forms of existence and of the sensible effectivity of langu age . If a slave understands the language of its rulers. writing destroys every legitimate foundation for the circu­ lation of words. what they 'do' or 'make' from the standpoint of what is common to t he community. by a consid­ eration of the p eop l e qU:l work of . that is /<)f'I)lS of visibility that disclose artistic practices. of the visible and the invisible. The Platonic proscription of the poets is hased on the impossibili ty of ooing two things at once prior to heing based on the immoral content of fables. disrurbs the clear partition of identities. that si tllul taneouslv determine s the place and the stakes of politics as a form of experience. the pLtce they occupy. around who has the abi l ity to see and the t. It is on the basis of this primary aesthetics that it is possible to raise the question of 'aesthetic practices' as r understand them. for th e relationship between the eFfects of language and the positions of bodies in shared space. There is thus an 'aesthetics' at the core of politics that has nothing to do with Renj:llllin's discllssioll of the '. however. Politics revolves around what is seen and what can be said abollt it. is a political [13] determines those who have a part in the community not have the time to devote themselves to anything other than their work. This apportionment of parts and positions is based mines the very manner in which something in common lends itself to distribution.Ht. of sp e ech and noise. The same is true orr15] writing. these forms turn out to be prejudici ally linked from the outset to a cert ain regime of pol ities. another form of distribution precedes this act of partaking in government: the distri­ bution that has (1 part being. which are aL'io structllre-givi ng forms for the regime of the arts in genera I. a regi me hased on the indetermination of . endowed with a common langu.lge. and forms of activity that deter­ parts and positions within it. dors this expression providr the key to the necessary junction between aesthetic practices and political practices? I call the distribution of the sensible the system of self-evident facts something in common and the delimitations that define the respective of sense perception that simultaneously discloses the existence of establishes at one and the same time something common that is shared and exclusive parts. Plato thereby singles out two main models. activities. aesthetics can be understood in a Kantian sense .

These 'politics' ohev their own proper logic. This equality of indifference is the result of a poetic bias: the equality of all subject matter is the negation of any relatiomhip of necessit political implications. whatever may otherwise be the guiding intentions.lrt or performances are 'involved in polit ics . wh ich also i nspi red a new idea of pictorial surface as a surf. the � to de pth in the sense of three-dimensional surfaces. on the other hand. In sum.for a new com Tllll n ity. good form of art with writing and the the�tre. The mllte surface of depicted signs stands in opposition to the . painting was to regain (19] the mastery of it. on the one hand. By revoking the perspectivist illusion of the third dimension. For Piato.lCt of 'livi ng speech. Novelistic democracy. own proper slld�lce. Modernist discourse presents the revolution of pictorial abstraction as painting's discovery of its own proper 'medium': two-dimensional between a determined Form and a determined content. p<linting's adoption of the third . artists' social modes of int egration.and gener. Moreover.1 dista nce between the sayable and the v i si bl e.14 T H E PO LITICS OF AESTHETICS THE mSTR IFlUTlON OF THE SENSlHLE 1') authentic movement characteristic of communal bodies). His verv refusal to entrust literature with any message whatsoever was considered to be evidence of democratic equality. or the chorus. inviolable written laws. the intertwining of gra phi c and pictorial capabilities. a sensible politicity exists that is immediatelv attributed to the major forms of aesthetic distri bution sllch as the heatre. This model disturbs the clear-cut rules of representative logic that establish a relationship of correspondence at . Plato singles out three ways in which discursive and bodily practices suggest forms of community: page. in \. It is a certain distribution of the sensible. Bauh:l1IS. that played such an important role in the Renaissa nce and vvas revived by Roma ntic t y pography through its me of vignettes. different contexts and time pl'l'iods. Consi der ror example. Yet what is th s indifference after all if not the very equality of everything that comes to pass on a written pag�. the regime based on the assembly of artisans.ll1cl thev offer their service. t hes e works w �re imn edi�telY perceived as 'democracy in literature' despite Flaubert's : ' anstocratlc SituatIOn and political conformism . or Sentimental Education. Constructivism). this surface does not have any distinctive feature.Hives (. This is why it played such an important . the role taken on . however. His adversaries claimed that he was [17] democratic due to his decision to depict and portray instead of instruct. the identities. Here we have three ways of distributing the sensible that structure the manner in which the arts can be perceived and thought of as Forms of art and as forms that inscribe a sense of community: the surface of 'depicted' signs.ld sense of the terlll . Plato contrasts a third. a community � t surface . I n this way. however. I am thinking in parricuhr of its role in the .lll1ent� made by the dccorative arts. There is also. he says. which is guided hy the speaker towards ' its a ppr opriate addressee. These Forms define the way in which works of . is the indifferent democracy of writing sllch as [1 8] it is symbolized by the novel and its re ade rsh ip. the knowledge concerning typography and iconography.!ce of shared writing. and the space of bodily movement that divides itself into two antagonistic models (the movement of simulacra on the stage that is offered as material for the audience's identifications and. cllis-de-lampe. When ' the surface of mute signs that are. Flat surface" in this logic. . A 'wrface' is not simply a geometric composition of lines. and variolls innovations. arc not opposcd ' formed only by the random circulation of the written word. [16J like paintings. the r hythm of a dancing chorus. by the paradigm of the page in all its different forms. These movcments developed an idea of furniture .\rr Dcco. It also disturhs the clear partition between works of pure art and the Orn. . and Crafts movement and all of its deriv.er\. the choreographic form of the community that sings and dances Its own proper unity. or the manner in which artistic Forms reflect social structures or movements. and the theatre as institution. the deregul ation of partitions of space and time. the delegitimation of positions of speech. the split reality of the theatre. CO lsider the wav these p<na �1igms functioned in the con necrion betwecn art and politics at the end of the nineteenth century and the begi nnin g of the twentieth. deprived of the hreath that animatcs and tramports living speech. This aesthetic regime of politics is strictly identical with the regime of democracy.\n.role in the uphe.ll1y underesti· mated . They are opposed to the l iving' .in the hro. writing and painting were cquiv­ alent surflees of mute signs. which exceed the materiality of a written sheet of paper. available as it is to everyone's eyes? This equality destroys all of the hierarchies of representation and also establishes a community of readers as a community without legitimacy. [ n actu al flet.lval of the representative paradigm and of its Madame Bovary was published.

between decorative objects and poems .rd e ren c es. This interface is It is initially in the interface created between different 'mediums' . which gave 'imitation' its own specific space. However. paradigm itself has taken on. By is )lati l1 g rnimt'sis in irs own proper SP. these forms therefore appear to bring fo rt h in very different contexts.in the connections forged hetween poems and their typography or their illustrations. 1\ historv of aesthcric politic" I1llcit'rstooc! ill th is much the samc ' t�)fIllS sense.IS g. among which there are those of the d ill chorus and the theatre that I ment ioned earlier. the expression of an interiority. 011 the other hand. It is the flarness of an interface. from the int im a te theatre 01 the page or lations between calligraphic choreography to tbe new 'service' performed by concerts. and with the diverse forms that tll1. Furthermore.ltion � of artisans' ar t to the staniS of great art. With the triu m page over the theatrical stage. oppositiol:s or ass! III these forms. the svndromt' of democracy and h e power of illusion. from the Sy mbolist figuration ()f a collective legend olit to the actualized chorus of a new humanity. is implicated in an overall vision of a new human being lodged in new structur es.that this 'newness' is formed that Ii nks the artist who abolishes figurative representation to the revolutionary who invents a new form of life. between the theatre and its set designers or poster this is not some theatrical ideal of the new human being that seals the momentary alliance between revolutionary artists and politics. Its flatness is linked to the Batness of pages. of sensory experienc [22] Th is is how the 'planarity' of the surface of depicted sig m. of the wav in which thi� paradigm of the s u r fa ce of signs/forms entered into conflict or joined f )rc es with tb e theatrical d designers. [23J In one respect. its a nti-repre ­ ph of formed an analogy with the socio-political order. the decisive moment of action and meaning. a context that straight away gives it a political paradigm of presence. according to Plato. could he cOllSidere wav. with a specific depth such as the manifestation of an action. figures of c ommunity eq u al to themselves. posters. The other m.ljor n to one .mother o � intermingle. hierarchical or gan i Tat ion . between the sayable and the visible. as meaning prod\lced by the actor's hody. an entire well-ordered dim'ibllt e was over tur n e d. posters. it!. To a large extent. the play of c ross. ­ -. the ground was laid for painting's 'anti-representative revolution' by the flat surface of the page. and tapestries. but also in the ways in which typog­ raphy. paradigms. the egalitarian i nr e rt wining the novel's of images and signs on pictorial or typographic surfaces. This context is not the surrounding revolutionary fever that made Malevich at once the artist who painted Bi{ld� Square and the revolutionary eulogist of [21] 'new forms of life'. In opposition to the Platonic degradation of mimi's. signification. and which is supposedly brought back to its own proper medium. the c\ev.16 THE POLITICS O F A E S T HETICS THE DISTRlRUTfON Of' THE SENSlBLF 17 dimension was also a response to this distribution. nt the wav in which these m. and the new cbim to bring art ion into the dt(cor of each and every life. surrounded by different objects. has to take into accOl. the reproduction ofthree-dimensional space was involved in the valorization of painting and the assertion of its ability to capture an act of living speech. Let us take the e xampl e of the tragic stage. Moreover. It is this relationship that is at stake in the supposed distinction between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space as 'specific' to a particular form of art. in the change in how literature's 'images' function or the change in the discourse on painting.1S the principle hehind an art's 'formal' revolution at the same time as the principle behind the political redistribution of shared ex perience.in social grandeur particular the primacy of living speech/ac tion ov e r dep i c ted Images . or the transmission of meaning. I am thinking" stand in oppositio f()f e x ample .lllll'S Mallarmc\ uitical prost' writings stage. sentative 'purity' is inscribed in a context where pure art and decorative art are intertwined. .1jor forms.111 proximity or distance.s. Classical poetics established [20] a relationship of correspondence at a distance between speech and painting. i­ exemph ry manncr. this logic separated rhe world of representatio ol l tlco of arti st ic imitations from the world of vital concern" and p . Itsillluitan­ eouslv carries with it. the classical poetics logic political in th at it revokes the twofold politics inherent in the n On the onc hanel. The reproduction of optical depth was linked to the privilege accorded to the story. In the Renaissance.'. in . intervene . The type of painting that is poorly named abstract. of representation wanted to endow the 'Bat surface' with speech or with a 'scene' of life. Politics plavs itself l paradigm as the relationship hetween the stage and in the theatrica of the audience. � . they are sLlsceptible to being assi gned to contradictory political . the form of egalitarian distribution of the sensible stigmatiTed hy Plato. and the decorative arts became interlaced.1Cl' ( � ' .

Furthermore. I have evoked these three forms because Plato conceptually charred them out and because they maintain a historical constancy. the Symbolist poetics of dreams or the Dadaist or Constructivist elimination of art. the parcelling Ollt of the visible and the invisible.�. and continuing up to the contemporary modes of performance and installation. what they have in common with them: bO�1ily positions and movements. The important thing is that the question of the relationship between aesthetics and politics be raised at til is level. [24] canonical forms and its consecrated images to the transgressive appearance of unauthorized speakers on the public stage. functions of speech. which was itself established as the imaginary attribute of the sllpreme power. however. democratic eloquence ala Demosthenes denoted an excellence in speaking. Let us also consider the long and contradictory history of rhetoric and the model of the 'good orator'. starting with the Romantic literary forms that a imed at deciphering society. Aristotle -. Benjamin's explanation via the t:ltal aestheticization of politics in the 'era of the masses' overlooks. quite simply. the long-standing connection between the unanimolls consensus of the citizenry and the exaltation of the free movement of bod ies. the tragic stage would become the stage of visibility for an orderly world governed by a hierarchy of subject matter and the adaptation of situations and manners of speaking to this hierarchy. th. it is possible to challenge a good many Imaginary stc:ries about artistic 'modernity' and vain debates over the autonomy of an or or its submission to politic. The . From this .Hts only ever lend to project" domination or emancipation what they are ahle to lend to them. Recent research has evoked the metamorphoses undergone by Laban's notation of movement. Plato recommended constantly cradling unweaned infants. perhaps. It was also always receptive. a new subversive virginity. Throughout the monarchical age. The democratic paradigm would become a monarchical paradigm. in the classical system of representation. Let us consider as well the contradictory destinies of the choreographic model. in the anti-establishment context of perf(Jrma nee art. [25J It is from this perspective that it is possible to reflect on artists' political interventions. the autonomy thev can enjoy or the subversion they can claim credit for rest on the same foundatIon. Furthermore. the forms of its visibility and of its organization . to the recovery of its democratic function by lending its perspective .redefined its politiciry. They obviously do not define all of the ways that figures of community are aesthetically designed.18 THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS THE DISTRlRUTION O F TIlE SENSIBLE and by enclosing tragedy within a logic of genres. the level of the sensible delimitation of what is common to the community.even if this was not his intention . It was developed in a context favouring the liberation of bodies and became the model for the large Nazi demonstrations before regaining.lt is to say. In a city hostile to the theatre and to written law.

:lS i t is o ftcn cl a i me d .d d o m a i n of the .l t \\. as wel l :lS t h e I question of the status a n d sign i fi c a t ion of the i m a ges prod u ce d . A detour is necessary here in order to c1arifv this notion and situate the problem. I t i . namel the cf1 te. a copv exa m i n cd with re g a rd to i ts Ill o d e l . t h e mode o f b . t h ree m aj o r regimes o f identification .<htcst interest for conceiving. It deve l o ps i n t o for m s of ll Orl11 . wh i c h i s t h e fo remost i ssue.s I n t h i s S C I l .fo u n de d d o m a i n of i m i t a t ion s i� t h u s ar t h e s a me t i llle a n o rm a t i v e p r i n ci ple of i n c l us i o n . The p r i n c i p l e rq!.u rl t i n g rill" e. rLlto does n o t . in precise terms. the y avant-garde and. I n t h i s rC"l.J ! lll o d e l I wa s speak i n g (� r ea rl i � r. w i t h t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of t h e c i t y . These i m i ta r i o m .s.l t tcr k n o w i n g i n \l'h .re g i m e o f the a rts hrea ks away from the ethical regi me of i m a ges. a nd t h e s t a ge a l s o [.· 1 11 .l l l s w i th i n t h i s r egi m e . oCCl lp.]­ t iv i ty that d e fi ne t h e c o n d it i o n s a c cord i n g to w h ich i m i t a t i o n s c. 'art' is not identi fied as such b u t i s subsumed under the question of images.1 1 hoth ch i l d re n and ad u lt c i t i 7 c ll S . p o e m s .o r rather of t h e a rt s . and ways of conceptualizing the former and the latter. T h i s very d i s t i n c t i o n wou l d have m a de no sense for P l a to s i n ce :Ht d i d n o t e x i s t for [ 2 R I h l l 1 1 hut o n l y a rts. from t h e ord i nary c o nr ro l of a rt i s t i c p roducts b y t he i r u s c a n d fro m t h e leg i s l at i ve reign or t r u t h oyer d i scourses a n d i m :1 ges .d l a p ra g m a t ic p r i n c i p le t h a t i . [n this regime. Do these Cfltegories seem to 'VOIf to have tI. . Such i s rhl" p r i n c i p l e gu i d i n g t h e (u n c t i o n :1 1 c h a n <'c i � t h e t h c. . a rc t h e n d i . ta t i o n of . The notion of acsth e t i c modern itv conceals ­ without conceptualizing i t i n the least . There is fi rst o f a l l what I propose t o ca l l a n eth ical regime of images.') ti ng u i s hcd h y t h e i r c n d n ! p u rpose.es p ro v id e the S peCLl tnrs. T h e m i m e t i c pr i n c i p l e i s not a t i ts core a nor m at i v e p r i n c i p l e s t a t i n g t h a t an m u s t m a ke c op ies rese m b l ing t h c i r m o d e l s . cert a i n p a r t i c l� LH fo r m s o f a rt t h a t prod uce s p ec i fi c el � i t i l>s [2()] ca l l e d i m i t a t i o n s .l n h e the .l wc l l . w i t h a ccrLl i n e d u cl I l o n . !lappn! t(.. forms of visibility that d isclose them.l ge s . te r n a l del i m i . it is i n fact po ssi b l e to distinguish. w i t h i n t h e gencr." . p l a ce an u n der t h e yoke o f p o l i t ic s .'. As a speci fie type o f c n t i tv. I t is t h e wbstf/III'I' of the poem.". . ways of d o i n g :l n d 1ll :l k i ng. l.l hccts t h e I't/'Ol . T h e e n t i re Platonic pol e m i c a ga i n s t t h e s i m u l a cr a o f pa i n t i n g . I t i s fi rst of . They actual ly confuse two very di ffercnt thi ngs: the h istoricity specific to a regime of the arts in gcneral and the decisions to break with the past o r a nt i cipate the fllt ure that take place withi n this regime.l s t o pe r a t io ll ca rr i ed o u t hy t h e :\ r i s ro tcl i a n ebhoration of InimeJsis a nd by t h e p r i v i l e ge a ccord e d ro traf:. it IS . A nd i t i s a m o n g t h ese t h . rt.'.n i o 11 .'.s obtes. /i{we a politiral meaning. With regard to what we call {.i n t h e cou ple poihslminll�. 11 of of' :1 11 c r h i C l l re g i m c o f i 11 l .l t he t ra ces t h e d iv i d i n g l i n e : t h ere a rc true a rt s . i m ages are the object of a twofold questio n : the question of their o r i g {n (and consequently thei r truth content) and the question of thei r end or p urpose. It i d c n t i flcs t h e suhs ta n c e of a rt .<o ri('s olmodernitv. als.\ . S u c h i s t h e V. t h a t i s t o say fo r m s of k nowledge based on t h e i m i t a t i o n o f a model w i t h p recise c n d s . t h e Elb r i c a t i o n of a p l o t l rr a n f:. i c a c t io n . that is [27J to say of a specific type o f connection between ways of producing works of art or developing practices. postmodern ity.the si ngularity o (a p a r t i cu l a r regime o f the arts.1 m .. ' a r t' from i n d i v i d u a l i z i n g i t se l F as slIch . within the Western trad i tion.l t r i c . hy t h e w a y i n w h i c h t h e poem's i m af:. for som(' time now. wh{lt tics acsthetirs ' to 'politics '? do not thi n k that the notions of modern ity and the avant-garde have b �e n very enlighteni n g when it comes to thinking about the new forms of art that have emerged si nce the last century or the relations between aesthetics and politics.l �' i m ages ' Ill(� d c o f bei n g .lr ts (wa\'s o f dOl ll " a n d ' m a k i n g ) . The question of images of the d ivine and the r i g h t to produce sLlch i m ages or the ban placed on them falls with i n this regi me. the uses they a re put to and the effects they result in.or representative . T h is q u e s t i o n preye tw. These i m i t a t i o m a rc e x t r i cltnL :J t one a n d t h e s a m e t i me. i n g of i n d i v i (l u a I s and comlllun ities. d i ffe r e nt i a t ed h y t h e i r o ri g i n .ent to the d e t r i m c n t o f t h e cssol(c of r h c i m a ge.T H E Dl S T R l I HJT I O N OF T I ll' S E N S I B LE 21 Artistic Regimes and the Shortcomings of the Notion ofModernit y Certain ofthe mostfundamentrtf categories usedfor thin/"ing (zbout (Irtistic creation in the twentieth century. i nl t:".1 11c! :nt i s t i c s i m u l a c r a t h a t i m i t a te s i m p l e appcarances.i.1 1 l d fit .1 s p c :d < The poetic .1 Ctiv i t i es o f m e n .(' sli. i n g :lctions t h :l t reprcc.

lomer' as a poet in spite of h i m s e l f.' speci fi c ru le. m a n i fc s r r il e i r ' prope � truth wi thout ei. destroys a ny pragmatic criterion for i s ol a t i ng this singularity. but it is based on distinguishing a sensible mode of being speci fi c to artistic products. and j udging. The aesthetic m od e o f t hough t l i k ew is e ru n s t h ro u gh the speci fi c d efi n it ions t h at t h e a rt s have given to t h em selves i n t h e Modern Age: P roust's i d e a of a book that wou l d he ent i r e l y p l a n n ed out a n d ful ly removed from the rea l m of the wi l l . seeing. making.hcr tl1(' It i s po i n t l e ss to go o n with d e fi n i t i o n s and ex a mp l e s . A regime of visibility is at once w h a t ren d e rs t h e arts autonomous and a lso what l i n ks this autonomy to a general o r d e r of occupations and ways of doing a nd maki ng. with a r t from o t h e r ways o f doi n g a n d m a k i n g . etc. It strictly refers to the specific mode of being of whatever Lll l s wit h i n the domain of art. This is w h a t J evoked earlier concerni n g the logic of representation. Yet i t d o c s so h y destroy i ng t h e fi l m .twn frolll t h e hodv ()r t h e ' mo d els' wh o . subject m at ter. I call t h is regime poetic i n the sense that it identifies the arts . I call t h is regi me aesthetic because the identification of art no longer occurs via a division with i n ways of doi ng and maki ng.1 3] of t h e arts is the reg i m e t h a t strictly i d c nt i fi es a r t i n t h e s i n g ll i a r a nd f-rees it from . the d i st inction between genres accord i ng to what is represented. The representative pri macy of action over characters or of narration over [3 1 ] description. taste. The word aesthetics does not refer to a theory of sensibility.m a ker or t h e models k now i ng i t . wh ich is t h is m i me t i c h a r r i e r t h a t d i s t i ngu i shed ways o f d o i n g a n d m a k i n g a ffi l ia ted . and it consequently defi nes proper ways of doi ng and m a k i ng as well as means of assessing i mitations. etc.ltcd its rules from t h e ord e r o f s o c ia l o c cu pati o n s . adequate or i nadequate: partitions between the representable and the u nrepresentable. criteria for distinguishi ng between and comparing the arts.1I1�.s t\ u nconscio\1s w i t h r h e olltd a ted i l lustrations i n idea an i l l i te r ate of fi l m d a ncer. K a n t i a n 'ge n i\1 s' that i s u n aw a re of t he Ll\v it p ro du c e s . a ba rr i er t h a t sepa r. written ' w i t h out t h e scribe's a p p a ratm' b v t h e steps of expresses t h e :Ht i. the d istribution of resemblances [30] accordi ng to pri nciples of verisi m i l ­ itude. however. Sch i l ler's aest/. and pleasure for art amateurs. I n the aesthetic regime. the h ierarchy of gen res accordi n g to the d ignity of thei r subject matter. M a l l a rllle's idea o f a pocm by t h e o f a reg i me for spectato r-poet. artistic phenomena are identified by their adherence to a spec i fic regime of i n h ab i te d b y the sensible. T h e aes t h e t i c reg i m e [. a l l of these clemenrs figure i nto a n ana logy with a fu l ly hierarch ical vision of thc commun ity. The aesthetic r egi m e asserts the absolute sin g ulari ty of art and. t h e pO'Ner � f a form o f thought that has becom e fo r ei gn to i tsel f: a product identical with someth i Ilg nor p roduced. wh ich is extricated from its ord i na rv con nections a n d i s a h e tero ge n e ou s power. We need to indicate. B n'sson's :tS t h e fi l m-ma ker" t h o\ 1 gh r w i t h d r. principles for adapti ng forms of express ion to genres a nd thus to the subject m atter represented.1fiable core i n the [32 ] ide n t i fi c a t i on s of a rt t h at h ave con fi gured t h e a es t h e t i c mode of tho u gh t from the outset: Vico's d is c ove ry of t h e 'true I. Sch i ller's 'aesthetic state' t h a t s us p en d s both t h e a c t i v i t y of t h e u nderstandi ng an d sensible p a ss i v i ty.l thos .what the Classical Age woul d later call the 'fine arts' . at t he s a m e ti me. a n d ge nre s . of speech i n actual ity. i d e n t i c a l w i t h p. with i n this framework. the S u rreal i s t p rac t i ce of p ro d u c i n g work t h a r cata l ogues o r newspaper ser i a l s from t h e prcvious ce n tu ry . It si multaneously estab lishes the autonomy of art and the identity o f its forms with the forms that l i fe uses to s h a p e i ts e l f. etc. hv l l nt h i n k i n gIv repea t i tw t h e words a n d <Yl'S tli rcs he lays down fo r t h d m.rm of t h oug ht that has hecome �(Jreign to � se l r: i s the inv. from any h iera rclw o f the arts. and the very pri macy of the art of spea k ing. The aesthetic regi me of the a rts stands i n contrast with the repre­ sentative regime. to the mode of being of the objects of art. k n owle d ge tra n s formed i ll to Iloll-k nowl edge. Th i s idea /ogos of the s e n s i b l e that h a s hecome (�)rei gll to i t sel f the locus a f. o r correspondence. It is not an artistic p rocess but a regime of visibi l i ty regarding the arts.22 T H E POLITICS O F AESTH ETICS T H E DIST R I B U T I O N O F T H E SENS I B L E recognized as exclusively belongin g to an art and assessed. t h e heart of t h e probl e m . which e nters i nt o a relationship of global analogy with a n overa l l h ierarchy of pol itical a nd socia l occupations. etc. Once aga i n. on t h e contra ry. S c h e l l i n g's d e fi n i t i o n or a rt a s the identity between a conscious p rocess a n d a n \1 nconscio\1s p rocess. t h e i nte n t i on oC t lw \ 1 n i '1te nt i o n a l .rtic strltl'. mimesis is not the l aw that brings the arts under the yoke of resemblance. appropriateness. as good or bad. It is first of a l l a fold i n the distribution of ways of doing and m a k i ng as wel l as in social occupations. a fold that renders the arts visible. I cal l i t representative i nsofar as i t i s t he notion of representation o r mimesis that organ izes these ways of doi ng.within a classification of ways of doi n g and making.

with the new s t yl e s i ntroduced by th e i nvento�s of adve rt i sing who. Tt tries to retai n the forms of rupture. It is. a rel ationship t h a t was previously considered to he t he 'non-a r t i s t i c' pa rt of works oLl I·t ( t h e p a r t t h a t was excused bv i nvok i n g the crudeness o f the ti mes when t he author l ived) . Furthermore. fossi ls with the poetry that makes do with reprod u c i n g a bit of agitation i n the sou l .] I ! \. that is to say not an i nventor of fables and c h a racters but a witness to the i m age-laden l a nguage and t hought of a ncient t i mes. The aesthetic state IS a pure i nstance of suspension. . novelistic realism is fi rst of all the reversal of the h ierarchies of representation (the primacy of the n arrative over the descriptive [35] or the h ierarchy of subject m atter) and the adoption . it is the starti ng poi:1t t ha t is erroneous. wh ich i mposes raw presence to the detriment of the rational sequences of �he story. or gi ve a certa i n rhyth m to t h e t i mes and SfXl ees of com ll1u n:l l l i fe. an idea of what art would ham: heen. etc. a desire for i nnovation that would reduce a rtistic modern ity to the e mptiness of its self-declaration. and commodities. It a ct u a l l y sets lip as the very pri nciple of artisticity t h e expressive relations h ip i n h e re n t in a t i me and a state of civi l ization. M endelssoh n replayi ng the St. mach i nes. Mflft/}('1{ ' Passion. The aesthetic regi me of the arts. It contrasts. its separation from the present of non-art. clearl. H owever. more profoundly. However. in its different versions. it can be said. The idea of modernity is a questionable notion that tries to make clea r­ cut d istinctions i n the complex con figuration of the aes t h e t i c regime of the a rts. i mages. The leap outside of mimesis is by no mea ns the refusal ot figurative representation. ' [37] in other respects. H egel i n d icat i ng the true subject matter of Dutch ge nre p a i nt i n g : not in stories or descriptions of i nteriors but a nation's freedom d isplaycd i n reA ections o f l ight. Those who exa lt or denou nce the ' t rad i tion of the new actu. etc. by separating them from the col1text that al lows for t h e i r . . i ncessantly restages the past. in order either to exalt or deplore it. Hold. two regimes of h istoricity. it is possible to u nderstand the tunctlons served by the notion of modernity. the representative and the non-representative or the anti-representativ e. Moreover. This transition was theorized by being cursorily ass i milated i n to artIstiC ' modernity's' overal l anti-mi metic destiny. the future of art. The aesthetic regime of the arts did not begin wit h decisions to initiate an a rtistic ruptu re.)(i] contrasti n g t h e poetry o f t h e ge o l ogi s t who reconstructs worlds o1lt of t racks and. is the true n a me for what is designated by the incoherent label ' modernity'. The aesth � t i c regi m� of t h e a rt s i n vents its revo lut i o m on the h a s i s of t h e same i dea t h a t callsed it t o i nven t the museu m a nd a rt h i sto rv. Thus. The aestheti c reg i me of the a rts is fi rst of a l l a new regi me for relati ng to the past. \ hen the Futu rists or t h e Constru c t i v i sts XT decla red the end of art a nd the i d e n t i fi c a t i o n of i ts p ractices w i t h the practices that c o n s t r u c t . decorate. they began denouncing the 'trad ition of the new'. In the aesthetic reg i me of art. From this perspective. u nsurpassablc).. of a fragmented or proximate mode of focalization.erli n rei nventi ng Greek tr:lgedy. It traces. the iconoclastic gestures. A nd it dcv(� tes itsel f to the i nvention of new forms of l i fe on the bas i s of a n idea of what a r t was. . J nd Roma ntic rei ntcrprna t i o n of Creek a rt as a com mu n i ty's mode of l i fe. and u nidentified devices. ' modernity' is more than a n i ncoherent label. When the eulogists of this for m of modernity saw the exhibition-spaces for the wel l-behaved desti ny of modern ity i nvaded by all kinds of objects. wh i le also cOllllll u n i ca t i n (>. . they propmcd . whi ch does not in a ny way mean the valoflzatlon of resemblance but rather the destruction of the structu res with in which it functioned.Y indicates this fundam e ntal identity of opposites. It bega n with decisions to reinterpret wh at m a kes a rt or what a rt m a kes: Vico discovering the 'true Homer'. it is the moment of the formation and education of a specific type of humanity. forget that th is t rad i t i o n h a s as its str ict complement t h e 'ncwnc<s of the trad i t i o n'. for their part. a moment when form is experienced for itself. Th i s proposal i s d i recdy dependent o n t h e Seh i I Icri a n .24 THE POLITICS OF A ESTHETICS TH E O I ST R I R UTr O N O F TI l E S E NS I B L E 2') regime's fi rst m a nifesto (and rem a i ns.]n end of a rt e q u iva l e n t to the identification of art with the l i fe of t he co m m u n i t y. B a l zac [. in a sense. The aesthetic regime of the arts does not contrast the old WIth the new. its i naugural moment h a � of:en been called realism. a sim ple l i ne of transition or rupture between the old and the new. the concept that d i ligently works at [34] m asking the specificity of this regime of the arts and the very mea n i ng of the specificity of regimes of a rt. The basis for this simplistic h i storical account was the transition to non-figurative representation i n painting. t h e notion of classicism and new f()rms of reproduction . It is within the m imetic regime that the old stands in contrast with the new. d id not propose a revolution but only a new way of l iving a mongst words.

forms of modernity would be i n a relationship of distant analogy WIth a political modernity susceptible to being identified. Holderl i n. It i s a l so t h is n o t i o n t h at d efi ncd . The two [38J m ajor variants of the discourse on 'modernity' derive from this contradiction. artistic modern a t i s m . It i s .l n c u t r a l s t. The fi rst variant would h ave modernity identified simply with the autonomy of art. set aga i nst the degenera tion o r pol iticl 1 revoilltio n. pa r r of an o n to l og ical d is t r i bu t io n (the a c t i v i ty o f thought versllS the passiv i t y of s e n s i b l e m a tter) . T h e fa i l ure of po l i t i c a l revo l u t i o n was l a ter cOl1 ceived of .. with revolutionary rad icality or with the sober and d Isen­ chanted modernity of good republ ican government. J nd i t su hselj u e n t l y a l lowe d f�)r t h e h r i e f h u t decisi\'(' e n c o u n t er hetween the a rt i s a n s o f the M a rx i st revol u t i o n a n d the a rt i s a n s o f fo r m s fo r a the m ateri. wh Ich makes art i nto an autonomous form of Lift and t hereby sets down. whereas t h e te.lS a t i me devotcd to un s u rpassable reference point. t he museum .lS the fa i lure or i ts o ll tologico. at one a nd the same t ime. which m ight �e called modernatism. i � 0 . set free hom a ny analogy with expressive l anguage.-. t h at t h e 'aes t h e t i c revo l u ti o n ' p roduced a new i d e . patrimony. was shown to be i mpossible by t h e French Revolutio n. The s t a r t i n g p o i nr .m pora l l ty specific to the aesthetic regime of the arts is a co-presence of h e t erogeneous temporalities. Surreal i s m a nd the Fran kfurt School were the princip:d veh icles for t h is co u lltc r­ mo d e rn ity.of l11oderna tism. Furthermore. spec i fl c mode or I iving i n the s e n s i b l e wo r l d that mllSt h e d eveloped by 'aesthetic education ' [40] i n ord e r to t ra i n m e n suscept i h l e to l ive i n a fre e pol i ti ca l c om m u n i ty. be o n ly one mea n i n g and di rection i n h istory.l d i (� m o f acs t h e t i c a u to n o m y t h a t beca me t h e ncw pa r a d i g m kl\' 1'C\'ol u t i o n . a nd S c h e l l i ng: th e material rea l i za t i o n of u n con d i t i on a l freed o m and p u r e t h o u g h t i n com m o n r()rms o r l i fe a n d hel i e f I t i s t h is p. At fi rst.1 Csth e t i c model . M o d ern i t v thus heca me somet h i n g l i k e a fa tal dcst i n v hased on a fu n d .l t c an a rt q u a for m a nd sel f-form at i o n o f l i fe t h a t i s va lori ze d . The idea o f mod ern i t y . . etc. without a nalysi ng it. The idea of modernity would l ike t h e re to . Poetic or l iterary modernity would explore the capab i l ities of a language d iverted from its com mu n icational uses. two m ajor forms. [39J This overwhelming defeat is obviously overdeterm i ned by the modern ist paradigm's second m ajor form. the autonomy of art and its identification with a moment i n l i fe's process of self-formation.l ll1 mc s u m m a r i zed i n the rough d ra ft written together by Hege l . T h e fa i l ur e o f th i s revo l u t i o n determ i ned t h e d es ti ny pha ses .1 tc.1 ti o n o f a h U l11 a n i t v s t i l l brent i n m a n k i nd ncw way its authenti c revohltio nJ ry po te n t i a l r<)r [4 1 ] hope and defla nce. Thcy con st i tute a s o rt o f new reg i o n of bei n g . Each i ndividual art would thus assert the pure potential of art by exploring the capabil ities of its specific medium.adel�n ity would be identi fied with the l anguage of twelve sounds. P ictorial modernity would bring painti ng back to its d isti nctive feature: coloured pigment and a two-dimensional surface. the perva­ s iveness of reproduction . ' heG1 \l1'c t h e ' a est h et i c pro gra m m e' or Germ a n R o m a n t i c i s m .l �(. The m a i n feature of what is called the 'crisis of art' is the overwh e l m i n g defeat of t h is simple modernist paradigm.l lll e n t a l fO I"(rctt i n <' : t/ . wa <. I mean by t h i s the identification of forms from the aesthetic regime of the arts with for m s that accompl ish a task or flll fi I of dual canccl l ation. . T h i s i s h ow S c h i l l er's 'aes t h e t i c s t . an 'anti-mi metic' revolution i n art identical with the conquest of the pure for m of art fin a l ly l a id bare. rely o � the contra­ d iction constitutive of the aesthetic regime of the arts. a s t . in the fi rst p la ce . The confusion i nt roduced by this notion has.� o f p(�l i t ica I revolutio n: the matcrial real ization of a com mon h u m a n i tv s t i l l o n l y existi ng as an idea. t h e dcterrn i n a t i oll of a d cs t i n y spec i fi c wa s constru cted on th is fou ndation . At t h e root 0 (' t h i s i d en t i fl c a t i o n rhere i s a spcci fic i nterpretar i o n of t h c s t ructu ra I a nd ge n er a t i ve con tra­ d ic t i o n o f aesthetic ' fo rm'.the region of free play and appcaranc e . Musical m. I t i s r h i . t h e progr. reg a rd i n g t h i s poi n t . accord i ng to Sch i l ler. It G� n he s a i d . Both of them.H . .that makes i t p o ss i bl e to conceive of the equal ity whose d i rect mate r i a l i za t i o n .26 T H E POLITICS OF AESTHETICS T H E f) I ST R T R U T I O N O F T H E S F N S I I\ L F existence: h istory.l l rca l i z. w h e re t h e ac tivit y of t h o u g h t a n d s e n s i ble rec e p ­ tivity become a s i ngle real ity. which i s forever more d istant ftom the mixtures of genres and mediums as well as from the numerous political possibilities i nherent in the a rts' contemporary forms. . consti tutes to modern i ty. it seems to me. The notion of moder n ity t hus seems to have been del iberately i nvented to prevent a clear understand i ng of the transformations of art and its relationships with the other spheres of collective experience. i nterpretation.i n tw � of l i fe. these speci fic . S c h i l lcr's n o t i o n of t h e (Icsthctic a/lItrltirill of m a n . i n t h i s CJse. depending Ol� the t i me period. It is t h i s n o t i o n that csta b l i s hed thc i d e<l t h a t d om i n at i o n and servitude <He.

from Pop Art to i nstallation art and 'rooms' for video art. Pm t T1lndnn i s lll t ll l l ' hl'Cl ll1l' � aspe��r move m e n t.f'.:. the breakdown of the p ictorialltwo-dimensionallabstract model through the return of figurative representation and [42) signi fication as wel l as the slow i nvasion of painting's exhibition-space by th ree-di mensional and narrative forms.t h i n g. d e n ou n c i ng t h e modern m . I i vsed h\' [ ITI I ( ! .. t h a t h a� a c l e a r u nd e rs ta n d i n u o f r h e o for con n e ct i n g t h e aes t h e t i c t o t h e pol i t ica l . What is called postmodernism is real ly the process of this reversal.1 h l e ohject .l llti c i p a t i on o f t h e {'l1 l l1re. The teleological model of modernity became untenable at the same time as its d iv isions between the 'distinctive features' of the d ifferent arts. postmodern artistic I icense. dete r m i nes t h e d i rection of h i s to rt c a l e vo l u t i o n . the real end of a historical period . 1 V. the primal scene can be taken i n two senses. The joyful. There was thus a return from the carn ival to the p ri ma l scene. 1 h:1 11 on reprl''C'll t . A t fi rst. ' I n shor t . T h e pnstl110dern revers. a nd epochs. t h e vo i cl' of t h e A hsolutelv (J r h e r d ec l a r i n g .l hk. e i t h e r as the sta r t i n g poi n t o fa thc gra nd r h renod)' ofthe u n reprc s e l l t a hie Ii n t racra hie [.28 THE POLITICS O F AESTHETICS T H E DlST R IB U T T O "l O F T i l E S E NS I B L E the essence of technology accord i ng to Heidegger. the revolutionary severing of the k i ng's head as a severi ng of tradition in the h i story of humanity. all sorts of i n terbreedi ng and hybridization. T i l l S i s wiLl f a d v a n ced d eL1C h lllem t h a t deri ves its . the collapse of the parad igm of fu nctional ist architecture and the return of the curved line and embel l ish ment.1 111/ 1lll'.lll from i ts �l h i l i n ' t o rCHI a nd i nte r p rc r the . i ts [4 3) exaltation of the carnival of simulacra. Modern i s t b i th h a d l atched 011 to t h c i d e a of t h e '.1 t1o t h c r idea of the . postmodernism came i n to h a rmony w i t h the mOllrn i n g a nd repenting of lllodern a t i s t t h o u g h t .l 11 l n g i n t h t' .or would have conferred . I I' I h e concept o f t h e a\'a nr-ga rd c h a s .l l ! n / l . m a n k i nc\ \ h u m a n i ty a n d i ts i n e v i t a h l e a nd i n term i n a b l e cu l m i n at i o n i n t h e death c amp s . t h a n to t h e m ore m o d e l ..s u ccess i s d u e: l ess to the conve n i e nt con n ection it proposes between the a rt is t i c idea of i n novat i o n a n d t h e idea of pol i t ica l l y-gu i d e d c h a n ge. . i. it was p recisely the next episode that showed that postmod­ ernism was more than this.) 11 . .fl. accord i n g t o t h i s v i s i o n .1 I l covert C()n necti o n i t estahl i s h es between two ideas of the ' ava n t-ga rd e '. There was not really a need. t here is the topograph i c a l a n d m i l i t a r y n o t i o n o f r h e f()I"Ce t h at marches i n t h e l e a d .g a rd e t h a t . t h ere is t h e idea t h at l i n b pol i t i ca l subject i v i t y to a cert a i n f()t'Jn: the pa m.I ITS ri ll' a ! i k to co me. the break-up of the serial tradition through new m ixtures between musical systems.upon art t he m i ssion of accompli shi ng. a n d c hooses s u bj ec t i ve pol i ti c a l orientat ion s . a n d t h e scene of s u b l i me d is t a nce came to e p i tom ize a l l sons of scenes o f origi n a l d i s t a n ce or o r w i n a l ' S i l l : t h e H e ideggcri a n fl ig h t o r t h e gmk t h e i rred u c i b l e of the l I f1 S:'lll hol i z. and fi n al ly the original s i n of human beings. However.R the new combinat ions of paint i ng a nd language as well as of monumental sculpture and the projection of shadows and l ights. t iJ ne I S . L O n the o n e h a n e! .nde hrou g h t 10 r h e 'poi i t i Cl i ' . From t h is moment onward. I ts . a n ic. iglls o f h i ston'. l m e o f t h e a rts. 1 Ii r r ede e m . i : � i� t h e 'aes t he t i c ' a v a l l t-g.\( '.l I 1 ccd d e tac h m e n ts of a rt i s tiC i n novation h u t Oil t h e s id e of the i l Wc' 11Iioll o f s e n s i b l e r()rms a n d m .l tcr i a l s t rt l c t l.l C (( l rlh I l C C w i t h \ c h i l l cr'.l l h a d as i ts t h eore t i c a l r(ll l n d a t i o n Lvota rd 's a n a l ys i s of t h e K a n t i �l n ' subli me. emhod ies i rs forccs . p rocess o r as a n ori gi n a l sepa LH i o n . v a n t. rooted I II t h e a e s t h c r i c .] tH. O n t he o t h er h a n d . gen res. to make this late recogn ition of a fundamental fact of the aesthetic regi me of the arts i nto an actual temporal break. H oweve r.1 11<1 t h e c1earh d r i \ T . t h e ren) l lI t i o n a ry mu rder o f t he f :a t h c r.l hi l i rv to k.1C'it Ilt'tic rC(. moreover. or the separation of a pure domain of art. postmodernism brought t o l ight everything i n the recent evolution of the arts and possible ways of t h i n k i ng the arts t h at destroyed modern­ ism's theoretical edi fice: the crossing-over and m ixtu re between the arts that destroyed Lessi ng's conventional set of principles co n ce rn i ng the separation of the arts. was simply the n a me under whose guise certain artists a nd thi n kers realized what modernism had been: a desperate attempt to establish a 'distinctive feature of art' by linking it to a si mple teleology of historical evolution and rupture. forgetfu l of their debt to the Other and of their submission to the heterogeneous powers of the sensible.l S . i n . wh ich was rei nterpreted a s t h e scene of fO l l n d i n g dis ta nce s ep a ra ting the idea from any sensible presentation. n o r O il r 1 e s i ck o f f hl' H'5 i .l d ness of the idea o f a s e l r�e m a n c i p a t i () n of The notion of the ava nt-ga rde d c fi n es t h c t y p e o f s u b j e ct su i ta h l e to the modern ist vision and appropriate. i n a sense. or . transformed very quickly and came to cha llenge the freedom or autonomy that the modernatist principle con ferred .l e s t h e t i c cduca t ion of m :l n ' t h a t S ch i l ler h a d e x t r: 1 c ted from t h e K a n t i a n a n a l y t i c of riw hea u t i fu l . Postmodernism. i t i s on t h i s s d e o r.

r.ls.{lI7icrli ' (Irt. as today's doxa would h ave us believe. wh ich presents the ve i l of Veron ic.l'r'/(. ' [46] t i fi c paradigm and a n fl('rth('tir pa rad ig m . T h e h istory of the relations between political parties and aesthetic move m e nts is fi rst of a l l the h istory of a confusion.c 17c. that is to say the idea of a for m of political i ntell igence that sums up the essential conditions for change. It is not the case. moreover. )'ou ('sta!J!ish (I cormcrtion /Jct/I'cer! tI. There is. however. Duch a m p. d(. Th is proposition refers hack to one of modern ism's m. . and concrete. thc hel o/thr' 'mecj. o nd to RCl1j!lln in :' i(:(r'(1 tiJrlt t/J(' n7(I.1 SIIr/' flrq llirer/ lliribi!it). heen slIhjectcd to the general f:l te it c oex is ted with t h e El ith i n the clpabi l i ties of electricity a nd m a c h i nes. 111 fact. t h e idea of the potential ity i nherent in the i nnovative s e n s i b l e modes of experience that anticipate a com mu n ity to come. i ron. or of i n accord ance with modernatist hyperbole. wou ld res u l t i n a cha nge of a rtistic para d i g m and a new rela tionsh i p between art a nd [47J i ts subject matter.ltion a n d those of I--Ieideggeri. fit tl. Tn Benja m i n . 0("J70U j. or photography.n rlJ 'mcr/wnim/ ' {Irt' {lI1d thc hi!'t/.] as the essence of p a i n ti n g . B enj a m i n s thesis presupposes so mer h i ng d i fferent. it has kept pace with the return to the icon.}'l" . m od e.by transformi ng politics i nto a total l i fe progra m me.1 subjectivity.r? " . ­ Mechanical A rts and the ProJ11 otion o. T h i s l i n k hetween the aesthetic success of modern ist categories. someti mes complacently mai ntai ned. which seems q uest i on abl e to me: the deduction of ' of 'mec ha n ical Perhaps first r shOll Id cle. and the meta-po litica l idea of global pol itic. gla ss . I t is rather that the very idea of a political avant-garde is d ivided between the strategic concepti o n and the aesthetic conception of the avant-garde. wh ich ascribe the age of mod e rn ity to t h e u n fu rl i ng of the essence o f tech nolo g v.and what it beli eved to have brought to it .(.lll ontology.1 sciell­ the aesthetic a nd pol it i ca l properties of a form of a rt fro m irs tech n ica l properties. .i(tr. that artists' ambitious claims to a tota l revolution of the sensible paved the way for tota l itarianism. between these two ideas of the avant-garde.]. for between the ca tegories of ivfarxist materia l ist expb n . or Rodchen ko's t i m e .l i n theses: t h e d i fference between the a rt s is l i n ked to the d i fference between thei r tech nnlogiCl I con d itiol1S or t h e i r speci fi c med i u lll or m ater i a l . qua medifln.Jr lip a m iSll ndnsta nd i ng COil cern i ng the notion a rts'. at other t imes violently denounced.pmcnt o( photogr�phy {/J1d f/. M ech a n ical a rts. T h i s assi m i l a t ion c a n b e u nderstood either i n t h e si mple modern ist Benja m i n's theses on J rt in the a ge of mecha n ical repro -­ d uction is. The co n nec ti on r established was between . u ndoubted ly due to the crossi n g-over they a l lo'". Cart YOIl explain this COIII/('rtI0J1 ? noes it m rrn/.UCS (1. With the so-cal l ed 'postmodern' reversal . The persistent a n d the onro--t ech nological h .30 THE POLITICS O F AESTHETICS what it wanted to bri ng to it .ca! arts.il1l7 il/g o(tll ( { ('II / l i l T p witl. not h i ng accidental about this confusion.f ym the A non ous 111 011(' of)'our t('xts. fi l m . which are in fact two different ideas of political s u h je c t ivity: the a rchi-political idea of a party.

) . photography d id not become a n a rt hy t h i s re g a rdin g i mi t atin g t h e m a n n er i s ms of a rt. T h e d iscollrsl" 011 t h e o rigi n a l ity o f p hotogr3 plw as an ' i ndexica l ' art is very recent.l t tcr a nd modes o f foc a l izat i o n o f ' new h istory'. to take t h ings the o t h e r way around.be it a certai n lISe of words or of a camera -. A long with genres. t h e aesth e t i c revo l ut io n is fi rst of all t h e h on o u r acquired by the com monplace. and i t recon s t ructs worlds from t h e i r ve s t iges . that is to say of a system where the dignity of the subject matter d ictated the d ign ity of genres of representation (tragedy for the nobles. the sewer revealed a civi l i zation ( Hugo) . The aesthetic regime of the arts was i nitially the breakdown of the system of representation. On t h e s c i e n c e o f h i story a n d t h e a rts of mech a n i� a l reproduction a r i n scribed b e i n g scienti fic: it s h i fts t h e foc u s from great n a mes a n d eve nts to the l i fe of the a n o ny mo u s. A l l of these forms of cancellation or reversal of the opposition between h igh and low not only a ntedate the powers of mechan ical repro­ duction. the other hand. the fron t a l portraits b y Pau l S tr a n d or the status o f photogra ph i c art. I n order for a technological mode o f action and production. it fi nd s symp tom s of a n epoch. We can even reverse t h e for m u l a : i t is because the anonymous became the subject matter of art that the act of record i ng such a subject m atter can be an art. Hugo ca l led for a l i teratu re hased on t h l" story o f the cll s to m s h is preface to . i t is first necessary for its subject matter to b e d e fi n ed as ' suc h . the daughter of a farmer and the d aughter of a banker were caught in the equal force of style as an 'absolute manner of seeing t h i ngs (Flaubert) . it explains t he s u r face lw subterra nean lavers. T h i s does not si . t hey [48] fi rs t need to be recogni zed as arts.1 2 On the one ha nd. Likewise. a way of doing and mak i ng.e. B e n ja m i n accu rately d e m o n s t rated [50] David O ctavius H i l l : i t i s with t h e l it t l e a n onymous fi s h w i fe from New H aven . i t is rather t h e appropriation of the Wa l ker Evans. the system of representation defin ed the situations and forms of expression that were appropriate for the lowliness or loft iness of the subject matter. It i s thus the same p ri nci p l e that confers visibility on absolutely anyone a nd a l l ows for p h o tography a nd fil m to become arts. The fact that what is anonymous is not only susceptible to becoming the subject matter of art but also conveys a specific beauty is an exclusive characteristic of the aesthetic regime of the arts. and it set th is sym ptomato logr in cOll t rast with t h e c 1 a mou r a nd i m a gi n a t ion oj' the pub I i c stage. they made it possible for this reproduction to be more than mecha n ical reproduction. Tol s tov con trasted t h e d o c u m e n ts o f ar l iteratu re. not wit h h is grand pictori a l com positio n s . Photography was not establ i s h ed as a n a r t on t h e grou nds of iu. tech n ol og i ca l revolut i o n comes a fter the aesthetic revo l u t i o n . or gestures of an ord inary i n d ividual (Balzac) . L i teratu re itsel f was constituted as a kind of sym ptomato l ogy of society. We s h o u l d add that the h o n o u r con fe rred on t h e com m o np b ce is p a r t of t h e science of l i teratu re hefore b e i n g p a r t of t h e science of h i sto ry. but it is actually t h is regime that m ade them possible by its new way of thin k i ng art and its subject matter. T h i s p rogra m me is l itera ry has a l itera r y pre h istory. i.32 T H E POLITICS OF A ES T H E T I C S T H E D IS T R T I H J T l O N O F T H E S EN S lH L E It is thus necessary. Not only d id the aesthetic regime begi n wel l before the arts of mechanical reproduction. ir is not t h e e t hereal s uhject m a tter .l l touc h ed upon above. t a ken from n a rrat i ves and tes � i mo n i a l acco u n ts o f t h e action o f i n nu merable a nonvmous actors. h istorical painting versus genre painting. O n t h e con tr. This revolution first took place i n l iterature: an epoch and a society were deciphered through the features. w h i c h i s p ictori a l and l i terary b e fore bei ng photographic or ci nematic. I n order for the mechanical arts to be able to confer v i s i bi l i t y o n t h e masses. h owever. tec h nologicl l n a ture. taken fro m t h e a rc h i�es . Fil m and ph otography d i d not d eterm ine t h e suhject m . a s o c i ety or a civi l iza t i o n i n t h e m i n u te deta i l s of ord i n a r y l i fe [5 1 ] . clothes. a n d i t is less a part of the h is to r y of photography t h a n of the h i story of the post modern revers.lf\'. o r rather on anonymous i n d ividuals.lTld soft foclls o f picto r i a l is m that secured c o m monplace: t h e emigra n ts in S tiegl i tz's The St('('rtlge. In of everyd ay l i fe t h a t woul d b e opposed t o t h e s t o r y of events p racti s ed by h is tori a n s . in my opinion.o f t h ose wll(l Cr071I 7{1('//. ' in � the new the s a m e logic o f aesthetic revo l u t i o n .llp l y mean t h a t t h e science of h i story before . The aesthetic regime [49] of the arts d i s m a ntled t h is correlation between subject matter and mode of representation. I n W and P('ace. with the docu ments o f h is toria ns. That i s to say that they fi rs t n e e d to he put i nto practice and recognized as something o t h e r t h a n tech n i ques of reproduction or tra nsmission. etc. to be q ua l ifi ed as falling withi n the domain of art . 1 1 F u r t h e r m o re. t h a t he h rought photogLl phy into t h e world of a rt. comedy for the people of meagre mea ns.a nd fro m t h e i m agin a tion .

l I1el t h e q u e s t i o n of t h e d is t i n c t i o n spec i fi c to t h e co n s t r u c t i o n of s to ries .was t h e logic revealed b y the tradition of t h e novel (from Balzac to Proust and Surrealism) and the reBection on the true that Marx.(. T h i s is ) wh a t i s esse n t i a I lv .e/ongi71g to tiJe dormlin of or (o r d('co n5trllcted) by the l1arrfitil!(' m·ts? /I nri /'()IIJ ar(' 1 1 '(.Hts i s cha racterized b y the se p a ra t i o n he tween t h e idea o f fi c t i o n a n d t h a t of l ies.!.ts 1If' !)(}!/tiCfl! boriies ' or (/ 'com muna! !Jod i mor(' thlli! l1/etrlpj.(. and treaties based on cou rts' ch ronicles and diplomatic reports. Scholarly history tried to separate out various features withi n the aesthetico-political con figuration that gave it its object. I ' This is what scholarly h istory i n herited. It Battened this phantasmagoria of the true i nto the positivist sociological concepts of mentality/expression and bclieFlignora nce. (.Ind the modes of expl anation used for h i storical and social rea l i t y. let's s t a r t frolll t h e b eg i n n i n g.('t1lJ(. played an essential role i n the formation of the critical paradigm of the human and social sciences. : empiric{z/ rM!it)'.(.or t h e i n d i s r i n ct ioTl .11 the fIis/o)")' UN' ar(' ' illlJo/lII'r/ ' in (/lid tI.l d e up of 'fictions'. Y ou reffr to the idca offiction ss('!l tia lly /. its i n tention was to separate the condition of i ts new object (the l i fe of t he anonymous) from its literary origi n and from the politics of l iterature in which it is i nscribed. s/orin told th efit'! tb(1I poeti!" or Ii/am)' /omtions '111/. revokes the representative tradition's scales of grandeur and. t h i ngs. T h e second p rohl em concerns t h e i d ea of fiction and the rel a t i o n s h i p hetween [ 5 ') ] fi c t i o n a l Ll t i o n :l l i ty . t h e r e l a t i o n s h ip between t h e l o gi c o f fi c t ion and t h e l o g i c o f flc ts. A )"(' the (()r!CI'/.:: I i believe to h ave been i n charge of battles and to have made h istory.hetwecn t h e modes o f i nr e l l i g i hi l i t v [54] med for u n d e rs ta n d i n fl: h is t o r i c a l p h c n o m c n . It is this regi m e that con fers a u to nomy on t h e a ns' va r ious t(l r m S i n re lat i on s h ip to the economy o f com m u n a l occ\ Jpatlons a nd t h e c O ll nter­ economv of simulacra speci fi c to t h e e t h i c a l reg i me of i m a ges. revokes the oratorical model of speech i n favour of the i nterpretation of signs on the body of people. And the ordinary becomes a t race of the true if it is torn from i ts obviousness i n order to become a hieroglyph.ake in .which was reappropriated by fil m a nd photography . S cholarly h istory took over this opposition when i t contrasted the h istory of the l i festyles of the masses and the cycles of materia l l i fe based on reading and interpreting 'mute witnesses' with the Former history of princes. and the trad ition of 'crit ical thought' i nherited: the ordinary becomes beauti fu l as a trace of the true.34 T H E P O L I T I C S OF A E S T H E T I C S . and civi lizations .e. However. Freud. It is first a nd foremost rooted i n the aesthetic logic of a mode of visibi l i ty that. It is preferable to begi n w i t h the s e c o n d p ro h l e m . [53 J T h e M arxist theory of fetishism is the most strik i ng testimony to t h i s fact: commodities must be torn out of their trivial appearances. that is to say the r e la t i o n s h i p of the h i s to rica l agent to t h e s p e a k i ng b e i n g . on the one hand. [-fOil ' ('xact0' is this to !J(' um/('rstoor/? V(!hat ar(' tl.(. The spec i fi �ity of t h e represen t a tive reg i m e of t h e . battles. The appearance of the masses [52] on the scene of h istory or i n 'new' images is not to be confused with the l i n k between the age of the masses and the age of science and tech nology. (I redefinition of'utopill ? a re mt/'l.It s. m ade i nto phantasmagoric objects in order to be i n terpreted as the expression of society's contradictions. l'rI!'I' (('tTl ('Ikets.IISC than b eing reji('ctio r!s of' th e rca!. What i t cast aside . con s t ru c t the d is t i n c t ion henveen fi ct i o n and b l s i ty. .)" There two p roblems h e re t h a t c e r t a i n people con fuse i n ord e r to the phantom of a h i s to r i c a l rea l i t y t h a t wou l d s o l e l y he m .on? {JOI'S this ref/atiou inno!!. to IiIf{/" (' I. I S T h i s actu a l i tv i tsel F ra i ses ' a t wo fold � u e s t i o � : t h e gen � r a l q u es ti on o f fl c t i on 's ra tional i t \" i . Is Histor y a Form ofFiction?4 flS (' (()}JrIr'ctions /. t h e \l c t l l a l i t y ' of fiction ana lvsed by the text V O l l re fer ro. SI'(fPI" .\ ri sto t l e's Poctics. which belongs to the aesthetic regime of t he arts. Benjamin. wh i c h sa f�gua rd s t h e fo r m s o f poet i c �lim(is is from t h e P l a to n i c smpicion conCCfn i n g w h a t .1I1 et t h e lllodes of i me l l i g i h i l i t \' .l . a mythological or phantasmagoric figure. The fi rst p robl em c o n c e rn s the reLn i o mh i p h e tween h i story and h i s t ori c it y. on the other hand. This phantasmagoric d i mension of the true.

ade o f t he hOllse i n I1 t tf. Circulation within this landscape of signs defines. in its very principle. an article of clothing. as is sometimes said. A r istotel i a n a rr:1 l1 gements a n d t h a t wou ld beco m e the n ew rat i o n a l i t y histories of great n a mes a nd events) . when he m a kes euvier t h e true poet recon ­ structi n g a world from a fo ss i l . T h e aes t h e t i c revo l u t i o n d rastfca I ly d is rupts th i ng s : tes t i mony a n d h c t i o n come u nd e r t h e s a m e r e g i m e of m e a n i n g O n . i ts shu fH i n g of i m a ges o r s u d d e n c h a n ges of tone. The aesthetic s()verei ' gntv of I iteratlt rc docs not rherefore . as well as the d ividi ng l i ne that separated the [57J logic of facts from the logic of stories. the Romantic Age blurred the dividi ng l i ne that isolated art from the j urisdiction of statements or images. uncivil ized and cu l tured .l. i n te r p reta t i o n of the p h e n o m e n a of t h e soc i a l a nd h i storica l worl d . . be it in the form of the silent l a nguage of things or t he coded language of i m ages.poets' stories a n d the h istory of h istor i a n s . a group.(' Cat and Rrlc/?('t. the new fictional ity. DIST R I B U T I O N OF T H E S F N S TH L E i m ages consist of and their end or purpose. The Poetics declares that the arrangement of a poem's actions is not equ ivalent to the fabrication of a simulacrumY.1 nd . He fc)!'ges this new ration a l it y of the obvious and the obscure t h a t goes a ga i n s t the gra n d \ h e n R a I zac p l aces X! ' .md on t h e other h . On th � comra rv. It is the identification of modes of fi ct ional construction with means of deciphering the signs i nscribed i n the general aspect of a place. that it consecrated the 'autotelism' of language.(' Sip. Poetry owes no explanation for the 'trut h ' of what it says because.n oj'tf. The other consequence that Aristotle derives from th is is the superiority of poetry. recou n t i n g 'wh a t cou l d h appen' accord i n s. t h e d i vidi n g l ine t h a t nor o n l y sepa rated re a l i t y a n d fic t i o n but a l s o e m p i rica I succession a nd const ru cted neces s i t y. he establ ishes a reg i m e of e qu i va l e n c e between t h e s i g n s of the new novel a n d t hose of the d e s c r ipti o n or ['59J i n te r p retat i on of t he p h e n o m e n a of a c iv i l izat i o n . separated fro m reality. the new way of telli ng stories. antique a n d modern. or h a s h i s reader e n te r a n a n t iq u e d ea le r s s ho p w i t h the h ero o f The Magic Skin. It is not t he case.the clear division between real ity and fiction makes a ratioml logic o f h isto r y i mpossible as well as a science of h istory. . a face. By declaring that the principle of poetry is not to be fou nd in fi ction but in a certai n arra ngement of the signs of language.i s t hereby revoked . It is a play of [56] k nowledge that is carried out i n a determined space-ti me. it is not made u p of images or statements. of' 'wh a t h a pp e n e d '. 1 mou nt ro the reign of Il c r i o l 1 . that is to say arrangements between actions. but fictions. I n other words .l n i n g fu l [5 8 ] . It is the exact opposite. T h e ' Il c t i o tu l i ty' spec i fi c r o the aesthet i c a g e i s d i s t r i buted hetvvee n two poles: t h e pote n t i a I of m e a n i n g i n h erent i n everyth i n g si l e n t a nd t h e pro l i fera tion o f modes o f speech c o nseq u e n t l y and levels o f m e a n i n g. i t i s a regi me in wh ich t h e l og i c of d e s c r i p t ive a nd n a rrative a rr a n ge m e n t s i n fi c t i o n hecomes fu nda­ m e n ta l l y i nd i s t i nct from the a rr:1 I1gements lIsed in the d escri p t i o n :1 nd h is read e r before t h e elltwi ned h i eroglyph i c s o n t he totte r i n g a nd heterocl ite fj <. co r e l i a n d ivid i n g l i ne between two 'stori es' o r ' h i s to ries' . this l i terary arrangement of signs is by no means the sol itary I self-referentiality of language. r h e i n the topography of spaces. all i ts d i fferen ces of potential hetween the i n sign i llca n t a n d t h e ove r l y s i gn i fi ca n t o r overly me . To pretend i s not to put forth i l l us ions but to elaborate i ntel l igible structures.and this is obviomly something that h istorians do not l i ke to examine too closely . rhe p hy s i ol o gy of soc i a l c i rcles. condemned to presenti ng events according to their empirical disorder. to t h e n e c e s s i ty o r pl au s ib i l i t y o f t h e poeti c a rr a n ge m e n t o f a c t i o n s . It i s t h e association betwe en . the s i l e n t mod a l i t i es of a t r i p t h rough the l a n d scape of s i gn i fica n t t ra i ts deposired ex pressi on of bod i es . a c c e l e rat i o n s o r decelerations of l a n g u a ge. c o n c e i ved of as t h e e m p i r i c a l success i o n or eve nts. which confers a causal logic on the arrangement : of events. over h i story. for the h i s to r y o f m ateri a l l i fe (wh i c h sta n d s i n oppos i t i o n t o the .36 T H E P O L ITICS O F AESTHETICS ' I ' ll I'. moreover. Fictional arra ngement is : no longer identified with the Aristoteli a n causal sequence of actions 'accordi ng to necessity and plausibility'. on t h e one hand.w h e re ju mbled u p to ge ther arc objects hoth profane a n d sacred. However. over h istory. which I is fi rst of all a way of assigning meani ng to the 'empi rical' world of lowly actions and commonplace objects. T h e A r i <. that each sum u p a world . A r is totl e establ i s h cd t h e su perior i t y of poet ry. The aesthetic revolution rearranges the rules of the game by ma k i n g two t h ings i n terdependent: the blurring o f the borders between the logic of facts and the logic of fictions and the new mode of rational ity that characterizes the science of h istory. a wall . The Romantic Age actually plunged language i nto the m ateriality of I the traits by which the h istorical and social world becomes visible to I itself. It is an arrangement of s i g ns .

'What happened' thus comes cl i rectly u nder a regime of truth. T il i s litrr­ rlrit is at once the cond ition and the effect of fhe c i rc u l a t i o n of ' a c t l l a l ' y literary locutions. M a n i s a pol itical an imal because he is a l i terary a n i mal who lets h i mself b e d ive r te d from h is 'natura l ' pu r p o s e by t he power of words. [ n s tC:H l .21 'H istory' is only m a d e up o f s to r i es t h a t we tel l ou rselves. Chris Marker's Le Tombeau d'Alexandre (The Last Bolshevik). con s truct ' fi ct i o n s '. It is h ere t h . t h e p h o b i . This proposition should be distinguished from any d iscourse . extracts from documentary and fictional fi l ms. the trajectories.H [ (. Pol i t icli -. and modes of doing and maki ng.H we enco u n ter the o t h e r qu e st i o n t h . and the ways i n which groups of people a d here to a cond ition. Theref()rc. h u t q ll a s i-hoel ies. these locut i o n s t ak e hold of hod i e s a n d d i verr t h e m fro m t h e i r e n d or pu rpose i n s o fa r a s th e y a r e n o t ho (I i L' s i n t h e seme o f orga n i s m s . Marker does not make h i m i nto a fictional character. It is not a matter of claiming that everyt h i n g is fiction . open up space f(lr deviations. which brought to its h ighest potential the double resource of the silent i mprint that speaks and the montage that calcu­ lates the val ues of truth and the potential for producin g mea n i ng. reco g n iz e t h e i r i mages. relationsh ips between modes of bei ng. The rea l must be fictiona lized i n order to be thought.38 T H E POLITICS O F A ES T H ET I C S T H E D I S T R I B UT I O N O F T H E S E N S I B LE j() the one h an d . trajectories b e twee n t h e visible a n d t he sayable. The notion of 'narrative' locks us i nto oppositions between the real and arti fice where both the positivists and the deconstructionists are lost.ed acid ressee. He plays off of the combination of d i fferent types of traces (interviews. Moreover. but s i m p ! :' that the 'logic of stories' and the ability to act as h istoric a l a gents go together.l n d h i s [( l I" 1 c i t y.positive or negative . fictionalizes the h istory of Russia fro m the time of the czars to the post­ communist period through the desti ny of a fi l m-ma ker. A lexa nder Medvedk i n . However.(:ltclll e rHS a n d l i tera ry locutions produce e ffe c ts I n rea l i t y. that is to say Inrltrrir. react to s i t u a t i o n s . re ! a t i o I 1 s h i ps between what is seen a n d w h a t is said. he does not tell fabricated stories about the USSR. like forms of k nowled ge.l of the theo retici a n s o f good go\'t'rn lll c n t . This connection was transferred from literature to the new art of n arrative. Writing h istory and writi ng stories come under the sa me regime of truth. They d ra ft m a ps of the v i s i b l e . I X Thev t h e rdw ra kc h old of uns pe cified groups of people. w i t h o l l t a l e g i t i m a te b t h er to . readily devoted to a certai n stereotype of actions and characters.l C c o m p a n y t h e m w\V:trd t h e i r allthori 7. a n d sllh m ission . T h ey reco n fi gu re t h e m a p of the s e n s ib l e by i nt e rf(:ri ng with the f'u n c tio na l i t y of g e st u re s :1 n d r hy t h m s [ (. fi l m devoted to the 'real '. It is a matter of stating that the fiction of the aesthetic age defi ned models for con necting the presentation of facts and forms of i ntelligibility that blu rred tlte border between the logic of facts and the logic of fiction.accord i n g to which everyth ing is 'narrative'. a nd that t h i s i l l t er­ p e n e tra t i o n of t h e logic of fa cts a n d t h e log i c of storics is speci fi c ( 1 :I n a ge when a nyone a n d everyon e i s c o n s ide r e d to he pa r t i c i pa t i n g i n the task of ' maki n g' h istory. This h as noth i ng whatsoever to do with a thesis on the reality or u nreality of th i ngs. hetween what i s d o n e a n d what can be done. the 'empirical ' bears the marks of the true in the f()rm of traces and i mprints. it is clea r that a model for the fabrication of stories is l i nked ro a c e rt a i n idea of h i s to ry as com mon with an idea of those who ' m a ke h i s to ry' . these models were taken up by h istorians and analysts of social real ity. the object of the article you refer to. Th i s h a s :l l wav s hee n . perceptions. rep ro d u ct i on . modes of s ayi n g . with alterna­ tions between 'grand' n arratives and ' m inor' n a rratives. is in t h is sense c a p a bl e of greater fictional i nvention than 'fiction' fi lm. T h u s . a regime that demonstrates the necessity heh i nd what happened. T h e \' d e fl n e models of s peech or action b u t a l s o regi mes of sensible i ntemi tv. Documentary film. hl ocl�s o f s peech c i rcu h t i n �� d es t i n y. th ose i n :IS th ey i n t rod l l ce l i n es or fracture a n d d i s i n corpora t i o n i ll to i m agi n a ry the c i rc u la t io n o f w r i t i n g wou ld pro d l lce ' d i s ord e r i n t h e e s t: l hl i s h c d power a n d is wel l k n owll . they d o not p roduce col l ectlw hod i e " . worr icd t h :l t . and the abi I ities of bod ies. The poetic 'story' or ' h istory' henceforth l inks the rea l ism that shows us the poetic traces i n scribed d i rectly in reality with the artificialism that assembles complex machi nes of u nderstanding.H you asked . etc. fi l m. i t i s not a m aner of c l a i m i n g t h . They denne va riations of sensible illten­ sities. sign ificant faces.31 ad ap te d t o t h e n a tu ra l c ycl es of production. wh ich concer n s the r e LH i o n s h i p hetwecn l i te LH i t v . they w i d e n gaps. col lec t ive hod i es ./ re a rr a n gem ent s of s i g n s a n d i mages.) i n order to suggest possibilities for thi nking [61] t h is story or h istory. O n the contrary. archival documents. 'what could h appen' no longer has the autonomous and l i near form [60] of the arrangement of actions. Pol itics a nd art. mod i fy the speeds. On the other h a nd.

i n the relationship [641 between what is common to language and the sensible d istribution of spaces and occupations. did not set practice in contrast with utopia. a state of affairs that would therefore abol ish the disp ute concerning the relations of words to t h ings t h at m a kes up the heart of pol itics. what one says. the word utopia h a rbours two contradictory mean ings. i n actual fact. territories. for thei r pa rr. On the one hand. The ' fictions' of art and pol itics a re therefore heterotopias rather than utopias. i . to the i n fi nite expansion of the field of possibility that resists all forms of totalizing closu re. a [65] non-pole mical d istribution of the sensible u niverse where what one sees. they con ferred upon the latter the cha r:lCteristic of hei ng 'unreal'. From t he poin t of view t hat concerns us here. I ana lysed from this perspective the complex encounter between workers a nd the engi neers of utopia. and the possihle. which breaks down the categories that defin e what is considered to be obvious. Somet i m es it refers to the m ad dellisions t hat lead to totalitarian catastrophe. u n certai n com mu n ities that contribute to the fonnation of enu nciative collectives that call i n to q uestion the d istribution of roles. [66] . In short. t hey proposed a state of affa irs where the idea of the com m u n ity would h ave i ts adequate forms of i ncorporation. rea l body f()r the commun ity where the water and rail routes ma rked out on the grou nd wou ld take the p lace of paper d rea1l1� and the ilillsioll� of �peech . I r is a word whose defin itional capabil ities have been completely devoured by its connotative properties. of being a montage of words and i m ages appropriate for recon­ figuri ng the territory of the visible. and languages. someti mes it refers. a no-place. the phobia of 'actual' writers who wrote in order to denounce the l iterarity that overflows the i nstitution of l i terature and leads its products astray. A pol itica I collective is not. I '> I a m not sure that the notion of u topia takes t h is into accou nt.e.40 T H E P O LI T I C S O F A ES T H ET I C S T H E D 1 ST R J R U T I O N OF T H E S E N S I B L E 41 system of classi fication'. it is also the con figuration of a proper place. the point of view of the recon figurations of the shared sensible order. conversely. However. a nd what one m a kes or does are rigorously adapted to one another. They form. they dismissed the obviolls sensible facts in wh ich the normal ity of domination is rooted . they contribute to the formation of pol itical subjects that challenge the given distribution of the sensible. the u n acceptable. Utopia is. It is true t hat the circulation of t hese q uasi-bodies causes modi fica­ tions i n the sensory perception of what is common to the com mun ity. the t h i n kable. a n organ ism or a com munal hody. in one respect. the ext reme point of a polemical recon figuration of the sensible. The chan nels for political subjectivization are not those of i magi n a ry identification but t hose of ' literary' disincorporation. in the n ineteenth century. It was also. What the Sai nt-Simonian engi neers proposed was a new. i n th is way. I n The Nights of LfltJOr. Utopias and forms of utopian socialism functioned based on this ambiguity. The workers. O n the other hand.

but he is condemned i n accordance with a principle o f division o f l abour that was a l ready used to exclude artisans from a ny shared pol itical space: the m i metician i s . T h e p r i n ci p l e of flction that gove rn s the represl'llt. wh i cl� i s a t work in theatrical space. the i dea of a ' distribution of the sensible' i mplies someth i ng more. goes h a nd i ll In nd with t h e fClI"Tll a t i o n o f a com m u n i t v where wo r k i s i ll i t s piau. that results from the sedimentation of a certai n n umber of i ntertwi ned acts. T h e d e m o cra t i c d i s t r i bu t i o n of t h e s e n s i b l e m a kes the w o r ke r i n to a double bei n g.� lso calls i n to q uestion the n e u t r a l i z ed statll� f "() tec/me. . as a d i s t ri b ut i o n of' the sens ihle. The . h i s exclusion from pa rticipation i n what i s c o m m o n d istribution: he i s .)? Is it possible to spef1k of 'humrln activity' in general f1nd include artistic prrlctices with.i . from the PL. recl� ll i q u (' a n d Ilot . t h e domestic space of work . Here agai n referen c i ng P lato can help l ay down the terms of the problem. This t heoretical and pol itical operation is at the hea rt of S c h i l ler's On the A nt/wtic EduCflliol/ 0/ !'vian.1 ma n o f d u p l i c a t i o n . . H e n ce. e . Perhaps the correlate to t h i s pr i n c i p le is the m o s t i m po rt. i.'. by defi nition.r her p l a c e.imc o f . It is the idea of a d istribution of the sensible: a n i m poss i b i l ity of doing 'someth ing else' based on a n 'absence of ti me'. Beh i nd the K a n t i a n d e fl n i t io n of a e s t h et i c judgement as a j u d g e m e n t w i t h o u t concepts . this statement says everything: the idea of work is not i n it i a l ly the idea of a determined activity. " T h e m i me t i c i a n b r i n gs co n fllS i o n to r() � ] this a l ie. 1 wav o f sta h i l i z i n g the a rt i s t i c c X Cl' p t i o n . distinction. but at the same t i me it ce a s es to be the d isplaced visibi l ity of work. a com mon habitat. ('. This ' i m possib i lity' is part of t he i ncorporated conception of the commu n i ty.'l l t h i ng: the m i m e t i c i a n p rov i d es a p uhl i c stage for t h e pr iv ate prinCiple of work.i n favou r o f a n i m m . That is to sav t h at i t bri ngs to l ight o n ce . E On Art and W orklo The link between f1rtistic prf1ctice mzd itJ rlpparent outJide. It is from t h is perspective that it is possible to raise the questi o n of the relationship between the 'ord i nari ness' of work and artistic 'exceptional ity'. a shared abode. It . is essentif11 to the hypothesis ofa 'foctory of the sensible '. a nd g ives h i m ' t i me' t o o c c u p y the 'p. It i s a l ways a polemical d istribution of modes of being and 'occupations' i n [671 a space of possibilities. It docs not s i m pl y ca l l i nto q u e s t i o n m i me t i c d iv i s i o n . indifference. In one sense. Tt i s t h i s red istr ibution of the sensible that c o n s t i tut es h i s n o x i o ll s ness even more t h a n the d a n ger of s i m u la cra wea ke n i n g sou ls . H e s e t s lip a stage f()r w h a t i s com m o n t o the com m u n i t \' w i t h what should d e t erm i � e t h e con fi n e m e n t of each person to h i s (.l r t i s t i c p ractice i s n o t the outside of work hur i ts d i s pl aced for m o f v i s i h i l i t y. A 'c om m on' world is never simpl y a n ethos.lce o f publ ic d i scussions a nd ta ke o n the identi t\' of a del iberative citizen. the m i metician i s no longer condemned s i mply for the falsity and the per n icious nature of the i mages he presents.lesthetic regi me of t h e a rts di s r u p ts th is apportion mellt of spaces. n T is . I n the th i rd book of the Republic.l n e n ce o r t h O U G h t i n sens i b l e matter. ton ic poi n t o f vi ew. The i m i tator is no longer the double bei n g agai nst whom it is necessary to posit the city where each person only does a s i n g l e t h i ng. of a s s i g l 1 l T1 g it to a t('(I. How do you yourself conceive ofsuch a link (exclusion. a double being..wa i ll � h e d istriburion of OcclIpf1tions tba� upholds the apportioll �letlt of:l()n� a i ns of activity. n it. work. consecrates this d u a l i ty and m a k e s it v i s i b l e .l .T H E I l T S T R l B l l T I O CJ O F T H E S F N S I B I .1U�.l I1 .w i t h OUT t h e s u b m i s s i o n o f t h e i ll t u i r. or are these exceptions when compared to other practices? The first possible mean i ng of the notion of a ' factory of the sensible' is the formation of a shared sensible world. T h e exclus i o n of the m i m e t i c i . The m i metic act of spl itting in two. . whereas the p r inciple of a wel l-organized commu n ity i s that each person o n ly docs the one t h i ng that they were destined to do by their ' nature'. It establ ishes work as the necessary relegation of the worker to the p r i vate space-ti me of h i s occupation. However. ' ' .ivt' g i v e n to conceptua l wh i c h mea n s r wo t h i n gs : t h e a rt of i m i t a r i o n s is . a process of material transformation.l t i " e rq. It ceases to b e [69J a simu lacr u m . ' ' ' ' to t h e com m u n i tv. The a rt of i m itations is able to i nscribe its spe c i fi c h ierarch ies and exclllSions I n the m ajor d istribution o f the l iberal arts a n d the m e c h a n i cal a rt s . It r e m ove s the a r t i s a n (rolll h i s place. . by the weav i ng together of a p l ura l i ty of h u m a n activities. H e does two things at once.1 worker w h o docs two th i n hs at once. t h e m i m etic act of s pl i t t i ng i n two . the idea of tech n ique as the i m posit i o n of a form o f thought on i nert matter.

Manufacturi ng meant i n habiting the private and lowly space-time of l abour for sustenance. a recom po s i t i o n o f t h e [751 relat i o n s h i p between d oi n g . b e i ng .e. It is t h is i n itial programme. between the cultivated classes [70] that h ave access to a total ization of l ived experience and the uncivil ized classes i mmersed i n the parcelli ng out of work and of sensory experience. a rt i s t i c practi ces are not 'exccptions' to other pra c t i ces. hut a l so the struggles of t h e 'o ' � proletariat to bri ng labour ou t o f t he n ight s u r rou n d i n g i t . i n one and the same concept. l i n ked to a n idea o f th c d is t r i b u t i o [72J of t h e sensi b le.with a n idea of art . the identi fication of a process of material execution with a comm u nity's sel f-presentation of its mean i ng. art as the t ransformation of thought i nto the sensory experience of the community. m ak i n g . However. I n the n ineteenth century. I d o not mea n by t h is that t h e modern v a l or i za t i o n o f work i s onl y t he res u l t of the n ew way for t h i n k ing ahout a r t . A rt e m " h ow ': igm L red istribution o f the s e n s i h l e . moreover. s a i d to be word l ess: t h e F l a u bert i a n . that laid the fou ndation for the thought and practice of the 'avant-ga rdes' in the 1920s: abol ish a rt as a separate activity. Romanticism declared that the beco m ing-sensible of a l l thought and the beco m i n g-thought of a l l sensible materiality was the very goal of t he activity of thought i n general . a r t a n d p roductiol1 wou l d be i cle n t i f-i e d b e cau s e t h e y ca me u nder one a nd t h e s a m e p r i n c i p l e concern i n g t h e v i rtue o f t h e l azv a n d absu rd schema t h a t con trasts t h e a e s t h e t i c cu l t of . i. I t i s neces s a n' to a h a n d o n o f hc i n g an exc l u s i ve a c t i v i ty i n s o b r . The texts written by the young M a rx that confer upon work the status of the generic essence of m a n k i nd were only possible on the basis of German Idea l ism's aesthetic progra m me. t h e t7{'sthf'tir mode o f t h o u g h t i s m u c h more t h a n a wav o f t h i n k i n g mea n r ng. O n the one h . out ( ) f i t s ex c l us i o n from shared v i s i b i l i ty a n d speec h . It anticipates the end .l esthctc i s a pebhle brea ker.l n d . The c u l t o f a r t p resu pposes a reva l o ri zation o f t h e abi l i t i es a ttac he d to t h e very idea o f work. Better i n f()rmnl r. t h i s idea i s l ess t h e d i scm'Cry of t h e essence of h u m a n a c t i v i ty t h a n a rccompos i t i o n of t h e l a n dscape of the vi s i h l e . Schi ller i nd icates the pol itical d istribution that is the matter at stake: the d ivision between those who act and those who are acted upon. A rt a nticipates work because it carries out its principle: the transformation of sensible matter into the com mu­ nity's self-presentation.44 T H E POLITI C S O F A ES T H E T I C S TTI E DI ST R I B U TI O N O F T il E S EN S I B L E determ ination . However. At t h e t i m e o f the Russ i a n Revol u ti o n . give i t back to l i fe a n d its activ i ty of work i n g Ollt i ts own proper about a rt . the c r i t i c s i n F l a u he rt \ t i m e i n d i c a ted w h a t l i n ks t h e c u l t o f t h e sentencc t o t h e va l o r i zati oT1 o f work. a n d s ay i ng. Produci n g u nites the act of manufactu ri ng with the act of bringing to l ight. \ h a tever m i g h t he X! the speci fic type o f econom ic c i rcu i ts they l ie w i th i n . P roduction asserts itself [7 1] as the principle behi nd a new d istribution of the sensible i n sofar as it u n ites. terms that are traditional ly opposed: the activity of manufacturi ng and visibil ity. it i s a l so n ecessa ry to t h i n k about t h e way i n wh ich a rt i sts' a rt fou nd itsel f d e fi ned o n the b:1 s i . o f a twofold pr�motiol1 o f work : the econom i c p ro m ot i o n of work a s t h e name for the fu n dame nta l h u ma n a c t i v ity. Schi ller's 'aesthetic' state. I t i s a n i d e a o f th ught. by suspendi n g t he opposition between active understandi n g and passive sensib i l ity. art once aga i n became a symbol of work.a n idea of society based on the opposition between those who t h i n k and decide and those who are doomed to materi a l tasks.Ht f� ) r a rt 's s a " w i t h the r i s i n g power o f i n d u stri a l l ahou r.the e l i m in ation of oppositions .that work is not yet in a position to attai n by and for itsel f. they c a m e u nder o n e a n d the s a rn c action th at opens u p a fo�m of v i s ih i l ity a t the s a m e t i m e a s it m a n u Elctures obj ects. They repres e n t a n d reco n fi gu re the d istribution of t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s . it does this insofar as i t is a production. This mutation occurred via the transformat ion of the suspension i n herent i n the 'aesthetic state' i nto the positive assertion of the aesthetic will.11 . . put it back to work. In t h is way. On the other h a n d . that is t o say. t h is suspension of work's negative value became the asserti o n of its positive value as the very form of the shared effectivity of thought and community. the act of defi n i ng a new rel ationship between making and seeing.1 T1 t h e d c mysti fi ers of t h e twentieth cent u ry. see i ng. 1 5 i t i s work . a i ms at breaki ng down .

()n tile distri/mlions or tf.1)'JIljJt0 17lrl/n/o.l'. to of hori70nt. fn ).(' yrm r hist()rirr.1 11 i ro n ic q u o t a t i o n d i rectcd .H of t h e Annrt/('s School.1 71'(11I!'/ /il:1' t () h(Xin u'itl.lIrations offll't {/nd politirs.7Jrrfr / ()(( (l rlSi() fls . . i s t i l .r(l' ti. r a l w:\vs t r v t o t h i n k i n terllls I by n o m ea ns th i n k. s(..(' ()/. W h e re o n e sea rches for t h e h id d c ll . sci l'r! ((" Froid 's cfio/()KJI./it ff!l('I?l./Jtr t() lImll'i! thc trllth hirldtn h('hind tl.l ' terms of s u r face a nd s l Ibsrra tl i m . Th u s . or tiJ(' socia! sr/I'r!(('s in g('ncral.fPoliticized Art:22 Jacques Ranciere in Interview lDith Gabriel Rockhill H ISTORICAL A N D H ER M EN EU TIC M ETHODOLOGY . /m! o! A l thusser's p h i l o s o ph y as wel l as at BOlll'd i eu's soci o l ogy or the h i .! and hrrmen('1{tir l11 ('t/J()do!()Kl' if 'th('rl' is the J.. I t was . .C '(.ou r ()wn rcscf/rci.1 pos i t i o n or m a stery i s es ta b l i s h e d . .1 tio n agtlimt the v i s i o n t h a t presu pposes the n ecessi ty of fi n d i n g .'olrr' slllI/e(' o( fljJpmrtlll(CS./'th rr it is A lthuss('r :. ! \v . t h a t thne i s flO d i s t r i b u t i o n s .II. J)/(. n o r i n heneath the a p p a rent. f h i . com b i n a t i o n s hetween system s of possib i l i t ies.\ to ry or C] u o t . ro r m y p a r r . [() t r y to recon s t r u c t the c o n ceptu a l n etwork that m akes it possib l e to cOllceive of a state l i l C" ll1 . It i s possible.()JI m!! into q llestioN tilt . i t W. n . how do VOII (woid tim IIII'll /. I h ave t ried c o n c e i ve of a topogra p h y that d oes not p resuppose t h i s p o s i t i o n of maste ry. t h . i t c a u ses r e a l ity t o appea r tra n s fo r m a b l e o r i n . science b u t o f the h id d e n . w/. .l i te r.l \ a n i ro n i c c o n s t r uc t i n g t h e h id d e n .lb l c . from a ny given p o i n t .The Janus-Face o. t h a t causes a pa i nt i ng or a p i ece of m u s i c to m a k e 3 11 i m preSS i o n .ir/dm ':2 \ 7/11 SOI'r!C(.'!.ih/c !I'm logic of thc hidd('rI rl11d th(' app(zrcnt? HOI/i IU(llIlri V()1I r!f'SITi!. 1 but of t h e h id d e n' i s a ph rase hv 8.l l .l C h c l a I'd t h a t h a d heen t a k e n up hy t h e A l t h u sscri a n s . .thor/o!o/!. f/I/f'st/()J/ ('() u ral/ in.' T h ere i s n o science r . und('r/i(' hist() ri((!/ ('()nf�l!. ). .

l S pol i t i c s .1 I r h l' IT i s trrlnsccndentlll point t/lrlt C\wpcs his/o}')'? tied to a determ i ned h istorical p roj ec t . F rom t h i s p ers p e c t i ve . it seemed necess. for example.J�ial ' is not /Jrl.1 n d . I bega n .1 ! co re. myself as wel l . places. This does not mean that it becomes invisible with the emergence of a new regime. . T h i. on r h e o n e h a neL a po l i t i c a l I l n i n'rsa l . I n t h is way. Fi rst of a l l . Ll T Y. I thus try at one and the same to h istoricize the transcen­ dental and to de-historicize these systems of conditions of possibil ity. The transcendental is somet h i ng l ike a reduction of the transcendent that can either bring the transcendent back i nt o t h e i mmanent or. I wou ld say that my approach is a bit similar to Foucault's.If one and the same ti me.s i s sum med up i n t h e concept of t h e rlh1711S. on r 1 w o t h e r h a n e! .1 principle or a starting poi nt.nt is c o n s t i t u t('d .] ncipation begu n by the French Revol u ti o n . Then I constructed .t 1 w.1 t h i n i� . and fu n c t i on s i n a so c i e t y. U N I V E RS. it is necessary to see what this word can mean.lYS such . a n d i t d oes Tlot exclude the fa c t that the forms of pol i t i c a l s u h j ec t i v i zat i o n : h a t 1 m ke up modern democracy are o f a n e n t i rel y d i fferent complex ity t h a n l h t' people i n Greek democratic cities. fJo wl'ver.l t i ot]. from the stereo­ typed vision of science as a search for the h idden. Statements or forms of expression u ndoubtedly depend on h istorica lly constituted systems of possibi lities t hat determine forms of visibil ity or criteria of eval uation. can no longer be formulated.A.('J !('mlizeri histoJ'i('isJlI that c/Jrlrrlclcrizc. wh ich is the critique of those forms of discourse that i n bet play a double game by using general ah istorica l concepts of a rt a nd pol itics. and t h t' L1c t t h . a particul a r system of expression. l ittle by l ittle. At the same time.l S .r on rJ historical implementation ! fl' it. EQLA Ll T Y . is a system of possibil ities that is h istorical ly constituted but that does not abolish the representative regi me.s does n ot pt"c\TIlf there from bei n g h isto r i ca l for m s o f p o l i t i c s .m r/ll . I c h ose nNO d i ff ere l l t forms of a rgu mentation . As for the term transcendental. is i t a c o m !". so to speak historicized in tl l rn : 01' is there f1 . [ d i ffer from Foucault i nsofar as his a rchaeology seems to me to j'()l low a schema of h istorical necessity according to wh ich.< to ((I1l/mrlia Ihe f!. I t retai ns the pri nciple from the Kant ian transcendental that replaces the dogmatism of truth with the search for conditions of possibi l ity.l your 1"('(le("/ ion on rl('sthetics.1' diction to emphasize. Pol itics exists when the flgme of a s p ec i fi c su bject is constituted.Does that mean that the regimes ofart are not trrlnsc('nd('ntal ((Indi­ tions ofpossibility for history in the sense ofFOUCflult. wh ile at the sallle ti me l i n k i n g h o t h of" them to h isto r ical destinies Iw d e c l a ring our epoch to be the age of t h e 'e n d ' o f art or p o l i tics. Of C o t 1 rSe. which was previously domi nant. but this does not mean that we j ump from one system to another in such a way that the possibil i ty of the new system coincides with the i m possib i lity of the former system. the false o b v i ous n ess of a rt's C'fernal ex i s te n c e a nd the con fused i m a ges o f artistic ' m o d e rn i ty' i n t e r m s o f a ' c r i t i q u e a n i nd ep e nd e n t clfegory. the 'on{v IIni1J(. r h e h i st o r i city of r eg i m es for t h e i d e n r i fl c a t i o Tl of a n ? I do n o t t h i n k so. the aestheti c regime of art. an egal itarian or ana rch ist theoretical position that does not presuppose this vertical relations h ip of top to bottom. these conditions are not cond itions for thought i n general . beyond a certai n chasm. actualized in spaces o /dispute. T'he f1c t t h a t th ere a re :l lways ffll' m s of power docs nO[ m e a 1 1 that t h e re i s . At a given point in t i me.50 T il E PO LITIC S O r A ESTH E TI C S T NT F HV I EW FOH Tl I L F N C U S l l E n I T l ( ) � 51 the mai n theme of my research.� p r i o r i j07lndation.1 l 1 t h a t .There a re two quest i o n s i n vou r q u est i o n . . several regimes coexist and i nter m i ngle i n the works themselves. Is u)Jlversrilitv therejYlJ"e (dways riepl'Jlrin. I do not mean b y that t h a t i r is .l ll l C r. I showed t h a t p o l i t i c s was not music or scu lpture i n : 1 s o c i e t y d ocs n o r Ill C. but rather conditiolls ofprobability that ar(' immanent in history? and i t is pmper{y sperd:ing rl polemiml ullil!ersal that is o n ly . F o r t h e fo r m e r. a supernu merary s u b j e c t i n rel a t ion to t he calculated n u m b e r of groups. ny to me to emphasize rhe existence of h istorical regimes of iden t i flcation i n order to d i s m i . The visibility of a form of expression as an artistic form depends on a h i storically constituted regime of perception and i ntel l igibil ity. m a ke t h e i m m a nent take fl ight once aga i n into the transcendent.I try not to t hi n k about this i n terms of t he philosophy of h istory. H I S TClR I CT T Y. on the contrary. s . t h i . as i t is declared to b e by those ' who identi fy its end with the end of the project of em. somet h i ng i s no longer thinkable. \X' h :lt I i n t e n d to show i n both cases i s t h at a r t a n d /Jo/itin a re con t i n getH n ot i o n s . bur rather conditions i m m a nenr in a particular system of thought.l"l'ri .) (! llr drlim ((I1I(('ming tfl(' IInil '('rSi/! slrltils of/)()lillull ((/II(I/I l )" -'1"1'111. B o t h of t h es e a p p ro a c h e s refer hack t o t h e S. Conce rn i ng art.

This was done. find more specifically in what you call democratic writing? f.l nv fo rm of p o l i t i c a l eq lLd i t v. I n both cases. equality o n ly generates politics when it is implemented i n the specific for m of a particular case of d issensus. h e equal ity o f the w r i tten word. for example. L i rc r a t ll re s general condition as a modern fo rm of t h e a r t of w r i t i n g i s w h a t I have ca l led. not resemhlance as some a p p e a r to hel ieve. Moreovcr.Is this actualization of equali�y also to be found in aesthetics. It takes effect in lots of circumstances that have not h i ng political about them (in the si mple fact. pol itics is not based on equal ity i n the sense that others try to base it on some gen e ral h u ma n predisposition such as l anguage or fear.I do not set down equal i ty as a kind of transcendental govern i ng every sphere of activity. l itcraru re was fo rmed i n t h e n i n e te e n th c e nt u r y hy e sta bl i s h i l� g i ts o\. by showing t hat phenomena considered to be part of a postmodern rupt u re (such as the m ixture of the arts or the combination of mediums) actually fal l withi n the possibil ities i n herent i n the aesthetic regime of art. I 11 S fi r .< /he lIItljoJ' e/Jang!'s /. that two i nterlocutors can u nderstand one another) . art as we k now it in the aesthetic regime is the i m p le m e nt at io n of a cert a i n . t h i s e q u a l i t y of st ). it is a matter of setting a s ingular ized u niversal against an undeterm i ned u n iversal and contrasting one form of h istoricizing ( i n terms of conti ngent regimes orga nizi ng a field of possibil ities) with another form of h istoricizi ng (in terms of teleology)..O n ce aga i n . That s. ? autonotrlV o . i s h ow r h e h i e ra rchy o f g e n re s fu n c t i oned i n poe t rv o r p:l i n t i n g.('/7(1('('11 'c/rIIsim/ III'! ' find 'ilWri(l'il (11'/ '? W"/n. It is distinguished.l ll\i t i l' i r y i . '.' n proper eq u a l i t v. /0 1' eq u a l i ty.] u a l i t)" a n d aes t h e t i c e q u a l i ty a re a l l e ql l i v a l e n t . art :. to begin with. /t/le dcsthetic sphcre. s u p p os ed t o m e a n t h a t w r i ters wi l l h e l1cd() r t h d e a l w i t h l anguage i n s tea d of tel l i ng a story. b u t c1 th i n k that thc notion of a e s r l � c t i c e ll u a l i t v a l l ows l � t� . it was possible to d issipate quite a lot of the h aze surrounding the idea of a 'modern project' of art and its completion or fa i lure. a passive e q u a l i ty o f a l l thi ngs t h a t s ra nd s i n � bv i o u s contrast w i t h t h e p o l i t i ca l s l lhject i v i za t i o n of equa l i ty i n . However. I t i s h a s e d o n t h e d es r ru c r i o Jl of t h e h i e Ll rc h i ca l S l ' s t e lll n f' ' t h e fi ne a ns. T a m not p ro pos i l1 g (. l e a i ms ar re v e a l i n g an i m maTwnt equal ity. Equality is what I have called a presupposition. L e t 's ta k e i n t ra n'" i t i \' i t v fo� e x a m p l e . and thus art i n particular. cXjJ/(lillin. t o r a l l . bur t h e e x i s te nce o f n ecessan' con TWC ­ · t i ons hc cween a tnJe o f s u b j e c t m a r re r a n d a form o f ex p rcs s i o n .lid.' iliti'tlllsitil'C fifnl.r('jJ/.c prcCOI!CCiUN/ opiliiorlS 0 1 1 thc (/cstllll' II/ I i/ o r/e r n fir!: the trllJ/Jlri{l1l fi'OIJ1 t!l e I'cpres('JltfuilJl' to t!lc lI(1 fl . or t h a r p a i n t ers wi l l d i s t r i hute ti ekb of � o l () : l r i n s t e ad o f p a i nt i ng w . from the State un iversal conceived of as what m a kes a commu nity out of a multiplicity of i nd ividuals. This is w h a t 'represen t a t i o n ' was i n the fi rs t p l a ce. til ti i'C. let it be understood.52 THE P O L I T I C S OF A E S T H ET I C S I " T F I<V I FW FOR TI I F F N C I . a founding o ntological principle but a cond ition that only functions when it is put i nto action.lcv of t h e writ te n word is nor vet d emo c r a cy a s a p o l it ica l form. My thesis is i ndeed that the political unive rsal o n ly takes effect in a s i n gu­ larized form. t h a t e q u a l i t y i n g c n e ra l . i n T i n g I1K. However. Consequently. by rerouting the Platon ic cr i t i q u e . I mf. . I showed that if the properties of each one of these regi mes of identification was studied. the democr. " ' I ntra n s i r i vc' I i tcr:1 t l l rc o r p :. equality is not. <] LT �\ l i t v as �l cOl1 c e p tll a l ' C1tC"OIT . po l i t i c a l e.\ ! I i rs forms. f i ilg (1 // 1) ( t/.f!tio / l oj' llli' . T h i � docs n o t m e a n . i t is a certa i n vvay i n wh i c h e q u a l i t y em fu n c t i o n t h a t Cl n tend to d i st a n c e it fro lll . do )'01f propose the /lotioll oj'cqllfl/itl' for thi7ll:ing f f. I evoked the fact that art in the singular has o n ly existed for two centuries and that this existence i n the singular meant the upheaval of the coord i nates t h rough wh ich the 'fine arts' had been located up to then as wel l as the d isruption of the norms of fabrication and assessment that these coordi nates presupposed . political i n itself. m llg!} t/li' -'jll'lI/7eit11 oj' thl' flcst/Jetil' regillll' OJ' t/I(' lirts 1I1stl'l!d 0/ {!((.lr h or se s or n a ked women ( M au r i ce D c n i s ) . The second question concerns t h e u n iversal and its historicity. A nd l i t� r a r y equal it)' I S nor s i mph' . it the samc universal presupposition that is at work? the estahl i s h m c n t o f a re g i m e o f eq u a l ity regard i n g subj ect m atter. thus a t o n c e an i m p l e me n ta t i on of t h e d emocracy of t h e w r i r re n word and its refutation. Th i .\'(//If1 t thclI fl rl' thc hC li r is tic flril'flnttlgCI' oj' tiJe IIO/ioll 0/ <'f/I 'd/I i ] .I I'I.I'/. tll{' i'1'f/ /iz. H owe ve r. To s t a te i t v e rv crud ely.. for example. IS I I EnnlON of representation'. etc. It is not. however. th is s u p p o s ed d is m i ssa l o f s l T hien m a t te r fi rst p resu p pos es ' m o d e rn i t) " to r art. Secondly.j 1 ( ) 1'111 o f l i t cr: l t l l rC re t h i l1 k certa i n i ncohere n t cHcgo r i cs i n tegra l to wiLl! i s ca l l ed a rt i st I C . F l a ube rt 's e q u a l i t v or S t \ ' l c i . in this way. Equal ity is actua l ly the condition required for bei ng able to t h i n k politics. the d e m ocracy of thc written word.

The democracy of thc written word does not come down to the arbitrary natu re of signs. The written word ope n s up a s p a c e of ra ndom a pp ropri a t i o n . \ 'V'hen Plato criticizes the ava i l abil ity of the written word . What functions d i fferently is the relationship between saying and mean ing. how do you distinguish writing. However.l Iwo nc h a . that literary equality is not the same thing as democra t i c equ a l i t y or the universal exchangeabili ty of commodities. ivl o reover.1 n d .l ke . It is clear that this concept does not work in literature.lbso l u t i z. . RV I FW r O R TT T F. Some have attempted to contrast l iterary i ntransitivity with com m u nication. E :"J ( . r.s access. .' . U S I I EDITION or painting freed from the systems of expression that m a ke a particu la r sort of l anguage. he cal l s i nto question a for m of u nsupervised appropriation of language that leads to the corr uption o r . wh ich i t sel f h l Tl c t io n s . F h l l hert's i nel i ffere nce of style for example.H i s a l together u n l i ke the u n i versa l exch a n geab i l i ty of cO Tll ll1od i t ies. I t s i m p l y says i t i n modes that are set off from a certa i n standard idea of a message. criticized by Plato as an orphan letter thatfreely cirCiliates without knowing who it should {lddress. in the nineteenth century. to . a nd where rhe 'eq u a l i t y of con d i t i om' wOl l l d he equ a l to mon eta ry eq u i va l ence.'v/(lr/f!lIII' RfJ 1J(lrl' as . or valets.l l ogoll s to democr a t i c :l n d com merci. you c a n n o t l a y you r h a n d s on capiLl i l i ke you u n l av you r h a nd s n n the wri tten word . to t h e fl u i ·· tioLl s l i fe of E m m a Bov. a particular k i nd of composition.l ll d a certa i n l i terarv ahsolute. To put it vny crudel \'. w h i c h i s not a t . but the language of l i terature can be as transparent as the language of commun ication.ic correspond.I n ex a m pl e .l t l o ll of st.l h rll1cr\ d au g h ter i s . how do you distinguish. at a t i m e when n e a rl y everyon e k n ows how to re. I am not looking to establ ish a way of th i n k ing modern a r t on the basis of equality. The concept of i ntransitivity does not al low us to understand th is. I n a way. J n l i terature. F h u hert const ructs h i s l i tcLHY eql l a l i t v i n oppos i t i o ll t o the ra ndom c i rc u l a t io n of the wri tten word a n d to the type o f 'aes thet ic' . hetUJeen the litertlry equality that you pinpoint in an allthor like F/fn/hcrt {mel the equality ofexchange? l e g i t i m a c y T h e ci rcu l ation of the wri t te n word destroys t h e pri n c i p l e of legiti macy t ha t wou lei h avc t h e ci rcu ! a t ion of !a n guage he <. as a res u l t of the ega l i ta r i a n c i rc u i :J t i o n of writ i n g. for abstract painting to appear. T h e ad u l terv cOll1 m i t t ed h. as a n . i t i s possi b l e to posit l i tera ry i nd i fference.l l i ty.l ry a n d c a n m a ke i t t h e i r own . it is h rst necessary that the subject matter of pai nting be consid e red a matte r of i n d i fference.l l d is t ri h ut i o n o f hod ies.l(L a l most . t here i s a veri table h a rm o n y hetween the ra nd oll1 ci rc u l at i o n of the w r i t te n word .1 p r i n c i p l e of del1lOcra r i c eq u a l ity.l t severa l l cw' l s i n l i tc Ll tl l lT. The former is the condition of the latter. Let':..l l i nd i fference. peasants. It is a matter of k now i ng if a bsolutely anyone c a n ta ke over a nd red i rect the power i n ves t ed in l ang ua ge .Regarding the d�fftrent forms of equality. not the equality of com m u n icators but the equa l i ty of the communicated. The equality of subject m atter and the i nd ifference regard i ng modes of expression is prior to the possibil ity of a b a n d o n i ng a II subject matter for abstraction..uch t h a t i t leaves the proper tra n s m i t ter a n d goe s ro t h e proper receiver b y the proper c h a n n e l .The equality of the written word is not the same t h i ng as the equality of exchange . I try to show that there are se ve r al k i n d s o f e q u a l i ty at play.!t i t i s n ecess a ry to hri n g t h e d i ffere n ces hack i mo pia\'. This began with the idea that pai nti ng a cook with her k i tchen utensils was as noble as pai nting a general on a battlehel d . bou rgeois. wh ich coincides with the i mplementation of another form of equality. I t h i n k t h a t i t i s prec i se l y .1 1 1 a t p lay i n s i m p l e m o n e LHV exch a n ge. An i d ea of democrac.' h . On the olle h . This is where a dividi ng l i ne becomes visible. T h e p l av o f h n gu a ge w i t h o u t h i era rchy t h a r vioh rcs an order hased on the h iera rchy of l a ng u age i s somet h i n g cornpicteh' d i fferent t h a n the s i mple fact that a e u ro i s worth a eum and t h a t two co m m od ities that arc worth a eu rn arc eq u iv a l e n t to one a n other. the . T h i s presupposes a rnod i fi u t i o n i ll the rel a t i o n s h i p between the c i rcu l a t i o n of l a n gu a ge a n d the s(l e i . Con sequ e n t l y. l i terature always says so meth i ng. it began with the idea that it was not necessary to adopt a particular style to write about nobles. O n the other h a n c! . h owever. r rorn this perspective. e s t ab l i sh cs a p ri n c i p l e of u nt a med d i ffere n ce t h .H t h i s po i nt th. pri nces.l S i nt e res t i n g a s the heroic actions of great m e n . and the indiffi'rCn t flow of Ctlpit{z/? More specijic{dly. or possibly a particular type of colour appropriate for the nobi l ity or banal ity of a specific subject matter. ' Proper' l a n guage i s gua ra meed by a pro p e r d i s t r i h u t i o n of bodies. L ikewise.lS been constructed accord i n g ro vvh i ch d ell10cracv wou ld be t h e s i m p l e s \'stelll of' i n d i ffe rence wh ere olle vote i s eq u a l to a not her just as a cent i s wort h a cent. Th ere i s not an a n a l ogy hut a confl i ct hcrween f�)rll1s of equ .54 T H E P O L I T I C S O F AESTH E T I C S I NT F.

He asserts a molec u l a r equality of affects that stands i n opposition to the molar equality of subjects constructing a democratic political scene.by t he Plato n i c pa ra d ig m of t h e d emocratic d i ssolution o f the soc i a l h od y. a d e c i pher i n g of t h is 'even·th i n g spea ks'. or equal ity a s a l i festyle such as the equality his heroine tries to put i nto practice. democratic political equal ity. by the h n c i fu l co rrela t i o n between democracv/i nd ividu. POSITIVE CONTR A DICTION .vever.1 < 1 i­ tion:l l express i ve relationsh i ps hetween word s.the struggle between bod find spirit . O n the o t h e r h a n d . or ca t a l ogue s of o m.a nd that m a ke� each sentence. Neither the former nor the latter.l t u re . both i nto her love l ife a n d i nto the decor o f her h ome.H I c of a house o r Oil the c l o t h i n g worn by a n i n d ivid u a l . and Proust? l'(lhy hilS this contradiction been (1 crucial determiningfactor for modern literr. T h e novel is constructed as a constant polem ic against a farm g i rl \ d e� i re to bring a r t i nto life. Nonetheless. uch a s it W.thflt you find y at work in Haubert as well as in Balzac.56 T H E P O LITICS O F A ESTH ETI C S I N T E RV I EW F O R TH E LN C U S H U)IT I ( ) ]\. neither a rt i n books nor art in l i fe is synonymous with democracy as a form for constructing d i ssensus over 'the g ive n ' of publi c l i fe.l l ism/Protestan tism! revol ut i on ! t h e d i s i n tegra ti o n of the soc ia 1 bond. 1 11 one s e n s e . The con fl ict hcrwecn these two sCltes of la ngu age is . A n 'everyth i ng s p e a ks ' ( Nova l i s) is i m ma n e nt in t h i ngs. . less i nterested i n social i nequ a l it y than i n molecular equality. a nd l i teratll re co nceives o r i t se l f . Th i s C1 n be expressed in more or l ess poet i c or sci e n t i fi c terms ( s oci ology as a s c i e n c e W.o r.J rch ie.! t l l re rn l'. Em ma B ovar y is t he heroine of a certai n aesthetic d em o c ra cy. moreover.l t ioJl. ItT l i n gs .l i of words a n d t h t po te n t i a l of bod i es. The n i ne tee nth centu ry was h au nte d . This is s u m med up in the phrase where he says he is less interested in someone d ressed in rags than in the lice that are feed i ng o n h i m. She wa nts to b r i n g a r t i nr o her l i fe. as weLL as for egaLitilriiln democrilCY? . there w a s the des i re t o repL1ce the old ex press ive C01l\'C ' l ­ tions with a d i rect relat i onsh ip between the potenti.n e g a t ivel y . a nd positions co l l a p se d a t the S . F laubert constructs a l iterary i n d i fference that m a i nt a i n s a d istance from any poli t ical subjectivizatioll. own .1S a ll .ll's r h e t i c regi m e of writi ng. equal to the entire h oo le He c o n s t ru c ts this equality in opposition to several other k i nds of equ a l i ty : commercial equality. ! i ter. a vast egal i t a ria n surElce of free word s that cou l d u l t i m a te l y a moullt to the l i m i t l ess i n d i fferent c h a tter of the worl d . The r r.lS h o rn fro m th is ohsessi o n with the l ost soci a l hon d ) . I t d re:J lll s n f con. In the Christian tradition.It wo rk i n Ba l zac. shop s i g m .I ncorporation and disincorporation do not mean body a nd spirit.not i n length but in i n te n s i t y .1 11 u n fu rl i ng.l me t i me as the ' s oc i .d a te m erc h a n d i s e. Th ere was..l S a rev i va l . is equ i valent to the i n d i fference i n herent in the reign of com m od ities a nd the reign of money. before heco m i n g the Fut u rist l a n g u a ge of n e w e nergies or the S u rrea l ist d re:J m o f a l a ngu <l ge of d es i re that can he read i n g ra ffi t i . The cou rse of d es t i n y i s a l rea dy wri tten on t h e EH. I n his work. J u st a. ') 7 equality it produces. body a n d spi rit go together a n d sta n d i n opposition to the ' dead letter'. I n one respect. He constructs h is book as an i mplementation of the m icroscopic equ a l ity t h a t m a ke� each sentence equal to a nother .. hut the en t i re cent u ry was h a u nted by the i m m i n e n r d a n ger that a n i n d i fferent eq u a l ity wou l d come to . i n the end. where l a n g u age wou l d he the d i rect ex p ress ioll o( a pote n t i a l for bei n g t h at was i m m a n e n t i n hei ngs.' they c or res pond e d roo There were no l o nger noble word s a n d ignoble wo rds. as r h ave attempted to show i n [fl Paro/c m l!ctte �l nd The Flesh of lXiord.J ! ' h ier. ho\. i t is the th i n gs themselves that speak. m o re or less re a ct i o n a r y or p rogressive terms. Mallarme. T h i s wi l l later heco m e R i mhaud's p roje c t in d eve l o p i n g a n 'A lchemy of t h e \ V'ord ' or M <l l l a r rn (( \ d rea Tll of a p o e m choreograph i n g the movem ents of the Idea.turc. This i s wb t is . Language i s i n co rp o rated when i t i s gu ara ntee d by a body or <l m a t e r i a l state: it is d is i ncorporaTed when the o n l y m a te r i : d i t y t int supports i t i s if:.. on the one h a n d .What is the historical status of the contradiction between incorporation and disincorporation . there was n o longer noble subject m atter a n d i gn ob l e subject m a t ter..lS dew'loped i ll the n i netee nth cc n t t l f\' .l I l S d isi nC(lrpor. It contrasts 'art i n l i fe' (th is will l a te r be ca l led the aestheticization of daily l i fe) with a form of art that i s in hooks a nd only i n books..trllc t i n g a new hod:' for vv riti ng o n th is fou ndatioll. A t the hea rt of Madame B01/ary there i s a struggle between two forms of equal ity. H the h e a rt or l i t cr . The a rrange m e nt of words was n o l o n g er gu a ra n te ed b y an ordered system of appropriateness between words a nd hod ies.

Literatu re was a p r i v i l eged site where this became visible. s m a l l e ro t i c books w i t h spel l i n g errors . wh ich very forcefu l l y l ays down t h e pnl iticli stakes of w r i t i n g. t here is a good form of writing.l with ifflCO t h a t he wrote a s t h ou g h i n t h e m a r gi n of h i s ' re a l i s t ' narr a tives. A t t h e t h e W:lyS o f med iocre there is a paratactic a ncl st\'ie co m m o a n d a rea l i s t l a n gu age t h a t is h i t h fu l n p l ace ch:l 1�aet�rs. :IS .58 T H E P O L I T I C S O f A ESTH ET I C S I NT E RV I EW F O R TI l L E N C L] S T-I F D I T I ( ) . one that does not circulate but is i nscribed i n thi ngs themselves. . this form of writi n g can o n l y mean.v of the eva n(�el ical Co na rrative aga i n s t t h e h o r i zo n ta l i t y of Homeric desc r i p t i o n .f! the ('[/sc with the Scriptures ? YOII finrl therr' to /)(' rlt least [J p roximity between Srriptllr(' and thc cont radictllm Ii(' mor/rrn ho rd e rs on m i n i m:l l i s m . and votes in a ballot box. T h e s a m e k i nd of ten s i o n s a re to be fc) u n d in a l l of modern l i t e ratl l re .c l a ss c h a racters w i th out dept h .1 I l V g U :U:l Il tCC. m :1 11 work i ng-ciass . Take.It all depends on what one calls a ' negative dialectic'. for h is part. the self-cancellation of l iterature: the daughter of the people. he s t resses th e l ittle p ic t u r e sq u e indicatioJlS that convey the d ra m a of a com 1l1on m a n t:l ken h o l d or by the gra nd literat1l re. Mallarme attempted to identify the poetic function with a symbo l ic economy that would supplement the s i mple equal ity of coi ns .\: rei gn and by the idea that it was n e c e s s a ry to oppose it with a n e w meani ng of the commLlnal body. I n the episode o f Pe t e r 's denial. He opposes the vertical celebration of the COlll m u n i t y to the horizontality of the ' democratic terreplei n ' (Pl ato's a ri t h m e t i c a l equality) . tow:ucl :1 l a n g u a ge t h a t �I i m i na tes i ts c o n ti n gen cy. I n h i. however. t i m e . I h av e nor soug h t to p r i v i l e ge :1 pa rticu b r type of a u t h or. . expressed i n a new word that would be accessible to all the senses.I a m not :It a l l a speci a l i s t i n S c r i p t u re. The 'alchemy of the word' that is supposed to construct a new body oll l y has a t its d isposition a bric-a-brac o f various forms o f orphaned writing: books i n school-taught Latin.f're n c h a u t h ors from t h e twe n t i e t h centurv. Ta'ke Joyc e . t h e powers of m y t h e n ve l ope d in l a n g u a ge. Th is ten si o n i s . for me. :l n d VOli w i l l fi n d a vast expa n s e of s tereotypes w i t h o u t end a t t h e s a m e t i me as the a s cent toward l a nguage's neces s i t y. The novel is the story of a crime caused by a book that i n tervenes in the worki n g-class l i fe of a young girl n o t d e s ti ned to read it. I a m t h i n k i ng . What I have attempted to t h i n k through is not a n egat i ve d i a l e c t i c b u t rat h e r that e n t i re Ilw thn­ logi c:t 1 d i m e n s i o n t h a t. T here . Ch A re t h e re a u t h ors who escape t h i s tem i o n ? U ndoubted l y. t h er e i s sa me is a 1 l 10 d e 1'1l i .('n a u t h o rs t h a t b e l o n g to a h omogenolls 1 1 I1 iverse . who.l l i ty.I t the risk of l ) r u s h i n [T s h o u l d e rs w i t h t h e l a n g u a ge o f t h e m a d . a pri n c i p l e of work a nd not by any mea n s a pri n c i pl e of ' i ne r t i a' or ' n o n -work '. of t h e Dialogllf'. I h av e obviously c ho<. to a positive contrad ictio n . r e fers h a c k to V ic(): a :ks i re to red i scover. l o s t by a book. where the contrad iction appears. a n I ta l i a n com mu n i s I' a u t h o r l i ke Pavese. w h i c h wou l d a l s o he the n ec es si t v of myth . i n p a r t i c u l a r. LitC'rattI re 11 : 1 S heen con s t rl l c t ed :15 :1 t e n s i o n opposin g rati()n:1 I i ries: : 1 l o g i c o f d isin corpor:u ion a lld d i ssol u rion. i n the end. words i n t he newspaper. conversely.!( no/ this I'1J(. to elaborate a n e w song for the community. This i s the precise equivalent of the Saint-Simon ian theory that opposes the paths of com munication opened up in the e a r t h to the chatter of democratic newspapers. You a rc u n do u hted l " a l l u d i n g to The Flesh ofW/ords a n d to th e rem a rks I made in A uerbach 's m a rgi n s . A n identical te nsion is s ti l l h owever to h e fou nd i ll nOJ]. at thc expense of the social d ynamic of history or the plurality of literruy and artistic practices? .Are there authors who escape this logic that dominates the nineteenth century? How would you react to the criticism that co mists in accusingyou ofprivileging a certain negative dialectic of history. 'writes her repentance' i n the form of canals that will enrich a village. a dialectic with01lt a definitive resolution between incorporation and disincorporruion. a nd :1 Il l' r m e ne u t i c logic that a i 111 s at e s t ah lish i n g :1 new' hod\' ror writi ng. I stud ied this tension i n B alzac's The Village Rector.s e IT sl i l t i s t h :l I wo rd s 1 1 0 l o n ger h ave . R imbaud attempts. fo r i n s t an ce . I t is A u erbach who sets the ver t i ca l i t . ane! \'ou wi l l sec t h a t s h e strives (11 rhe S:I 111C\V:1\. I n contrast with the fatal words written on pa pe r. . However.F ra n ce i n t h e C e n tl l r y 'a fter the Revollltion' -. hetween two or m i dd le.2) This is. It was at one and the same time a way o f e x h ih i t i n g the reign of i ndifferent language and. a way of rem a k i n g bodies with words and even a way of lead i n g words toward thei r cancell ation i n material states. work . l i k e in Jovee's work. . .. 'r:1 I<e V i rgi n ia \Vool r: for i n s t a n ce. a ga l va n i l i ng tension. silly refrains. w i t h i n 'modern' t r i v i .1 way o f m i n i ng heneat'h thei r horizo�lta l l a n g u a ge . This tension is expressed i n a completely d i fferent manner in the work of Mallarme or R i mbaud.

l l11 . He sees in this the origin a l model of nove listic realism.l rn rivc I II .los of t h e capita l i s t world from the poi n t o f v i ew o f c la s s s tTU ggle as t o descr i h i n g.ni s tocrats . The pro b l e m . Th ere are no cri teri a .l l n . They thereby plav hetvveen two types of i n h l l fll a n i r v : the i n h l l m :l n i t y of the m a s ks .1 1l ch aos. objective pol i t i c s that are inscribed as plastic or n arrative possibil ities. wi l l represent a h u m a n / i n h u m a n u n i verse.oluntary and the inz.l l l " scenes nF R 1 1 5 S i :1 1l ro u let te . T h a t mea n s t h a t t h ere is n o criterion f<)r establ i s h i n g a corre­ spondcnce hetwec n aest h e t i c v i rtue . There a rc f()rlll u b s t h a t a rc e q u :d l y . you az. bur w h a t d o c s i t mea n ro say that h i s art is committed ? Com mitment is not a category of a r t. They can. a n d skeletons.l\'a i l ablc whose m ea n i n g is oftcn in Let decided upon hv a �ra(e or con A icr t h . f() r I n SC1 IlCc. ('rom :l n i h i l i s t i c poi n t of VI CW. which contribute to a certa i n type o f p olit ic al struggle. j u s t as wel l be dcnou nced as reac tionary n i h i l i s m or even cons id ered to be p u re for m a l m ach i n es w i t h o u t pol i t ica l content.] Il d . I oppose this idea by m a intain i ng t h at these l ittle picturesque i ndica­ t ions i n fact amount to a writing mac h i ne.H i o n l e n d themselves j l l S t a s wel l t o descri h i n g the ch. An artist can be committed. . writing conceals itself i n the flesh . is t h a t the adaptation o f express ion t o subj ect mat ter i s a p r i n c i p l c of the re pres e n t .l k('. There . Nov e l i s t i c fragme nt a t i o n or p i c to r i a l ca rn i va l i z. however. I t c a ll he sa i d r h :n the m ess. on the other hand. t h er e i s rhe s o c i . It is less a matter of conveying the i ntimate drama of the common man than l i n k i ng the episodes of the New Testament to t he episodes of the Old Testament i n order t o show t hat Peter's denial. forms of commun ity laid out by the very regi me of ident i­ fication i n which we perceive art ( hence pure art as wel l as com m itted art) .H is ex teri or to them. POLITICIZED A RT .n y pa i nrer or 11<1\'el i s t i n the 1 () 2(}. a 'co m m itted' work of art is always made as a k i nd of combi nation between these objective pol itics that are i mcribed i n the field o f possib i l ity for writing. and possibly that he is com m itted hy h is w ri ti n gs. It c a n j u s t a s wel l he sa id t h a t the mcssage i s the der isory I l a t ure of the s t ruggle a ga i ns t the war. writing open ly reveals itse l f as the d isembodied condition of any glorious flesh.27 The hct that someone w r i tcs s c r ve a cause or t h a t someone d i scllsses workers or the com m O i l people I ll stCld of .1 u n ive rse where h u m a n h e i n g s d r i ft hetween m a rion ettes.It is an i n-between notion that i s vacuous as an aesthetic notion and also as a political notion. According to one model. L i ke Dos Passos. Do you reject this notion because of the folse dichotorrzy it presupposes betwcen art for art's sake and social reality? Are its inadequacies as a concept due to the foct that it is based on simplistic distinctions between the z.lf the re i g n i n g ord e r i s j u s t a s much a d isorder.l t upholds t h i s p a raele. T h i s means that it i s possible to derive two antagonistic models of i ncarnation itself. h i s paintings. I t means that aesthetics h a s i t s own politics. A prog re s s i ve or revolution. I re esscll t i . "]".1 1lc1 l ') S O s Oil \ ' i Cr l1 . h e w i l l represe n t a s h attered rea l itv: fragm ented stories o f errat i c i ncl i v i d u :d ' desti n ies that translate.oluntary. a n d 1 9.l Tlge re g a rd i n g thc p recise cond i r i o n s f<1 r the e l ahoration a nd reception of a �vork o'r a rt ? Cert a i n mea n s a rc goi n g t o he chosen i n s tead of o th ers a ccord I n g to a p r i n c i p l e of adapta t i o n . 1 nel pol i t i u l vi rruc. between the individual and society? .oid the concept ofcommitment. l ­ d i c t i o n s i n he rent in a soci a l a n d econom i c ord e r.l g" i s t h e dni sory naw re of rhe war. or i ts own meta-politics. It can be said that an artist is com m itted as a person . h is fi l ms. masks.lllWlTlatOll S o f t h e soci a l paLl d e a nd rhe i n h u m a n i t \! o f the d c a cl k mach i n e t h . l i k e C i m i n Cl's The /)ar /-/1111/('1". These p l a s t i c o r n .60 TH E P O L I T I C S OF A E S T H ETI C S I N T E RV1 EW F O R T H E F N G U S H F D lT I O N ro G1 mystery.lt i ve tra d i t i on t h a t the aesthetic reg i me o f an has cal l ed i n to q uest i o n . l ike t h e other episodes i n t h e GospeL h ad already been foretold in the Old Testament. where I I l l' wa r s c e l l e s . T h i s does not mean that art i s apo l itical. however.) Os w i l l gcner a l lv choosc a c h aotic f<lrlll i n order to sh ow th. :1 ci n e rn :l t i c equ i v a l e n t: t h e A m e r i u l l fi l ms from the ] 'rlOs .lrC on I v choices. Pa i n tc rs l i ke D i x or e rosz in G er m a ny. Moreover. That is what I was saying earl ier regardi ng F l aubert and m icroscopic equ a l ity. I have attempted to show how it was possible to derive from t hese models two opposed ideas of novelistic real ity and how the two paradigms coul d become i ntermi ngled. Accord ing to the other. ror eX:l m p l c . T here arc polit i c s of aesthet ics. by t h e i r i l l og i ca l i tv. wh a t exactly i s this goi ng to ch.nra t i ve devices ca n be i d e nt i fied wi t h an exe m p l a ry pol i t ical awa reness of the conrr . the l og i c o f t h e capi t a l ist ord er.Barring a jew exceptions. � t h e Ch:l05 of a w(� I l d where c l a ss s t r : l gg l c i s i rs l· l f hur o n t' clement I II the D i OIl\'si .

I F this politics coincides with a n act o f constructing political dissensus. a rc h a n d .' ct.\ of the: ca p i u l i s t sysre m ) n eve r took pi:Jce. Les Miserables is the prototype of this k i nd of narrative. panto m i me performances. p between the readab i l i ty of the message that th reatens to destrov rhe se n s i bl e r()rm o f a rt and the r. 1 n r. the archetypal form of . U S H E ll I T I O N the for m of a modern epic that confers a mythological di mension on its characters. a pai nt i ng. But there is no formula for an appropriate correlation.al Is ti.(.t h e c n COl1 nrcr hcr\\. 1 s p eu. or an i nsta l l ation. to i ts m i l i u lH rerc rcnr was n e v e r rl'a l l v tested. a nd h i s a d o p t i o ll h. the d re a m o f a n a n t h :n would rL1 J1S111 i r 11lt':1 l1 i ngs i n t h e f()rm o f a m p r u rc w i t h t he verv l o g i c or me a n i n g fu l s i t u a t i o n s . .' i n wh i ch the lTlea n l Ilgfu l fa b r i c o f the s en s i h lc is d i sr u rhed : . conversely.) O s . th is idea I effe ct is always the oh j e c t of a nego t i a t i on between opposi tes. 'popul ist' fi l ms by Reno i r. po l i tics has its aesthetics. on the other .hcrwCt'll B re ch t 's ex i l e i n Den m:uk or t h e U n i ted S t a res.There a re pol itics of art that are perfectly iden t i fiable.' h i s to r y o f ' th C :l t re a n d p ro d u c t i o n i n t h e 1 9 1 0 s and J am thin/::ing in prlrtlcu!flr ofo n t oj)lollr f/JlaZYSes o/Rosscllilli 'r Fli rop" ' c.l nd i ts s u p p os e d :l 1 1 d i c l l C C (work e r s c ( ) n s c i (l l l. o f a message a s a veh ic l e . F N (. on the contrary.l nd the th i n kahle w i t h o u t h a\' i n g to usc rhe te r m . therd�y con/blinding the cstah!i. The d rea m o f a su i ta h l e p o l i t i c a l work o f art is in fact the d r e a m of d is r u p t i n g t h e rehtio n s h i p hctwcen the visi hle. politic i zed' art. there is no general formula that est(lblishes (I constant Iiflk between fin artisticform and a political meaning? .t /'Ole plal'l't:! 17)1 /llh(/t pm mil ' /Jl'ltrology ' II/ polltiriz('(/ flJ'f) connectioll hetwccli the main (hrlrr/cte)" :. It is thoroughly possible. As a m a t ter of (lct. ignorant bourgeois senti mentalism over class struggle. is built on an extremely complex and cun n i ng equ i l ibrium between forms of pol i t ical pedagogy and forms of a rt istic modernism .\V!. T h e n o t i o n o f ' h ete rol ogy' re fe rs' t o the wa. the circus. it has been seen as a catech ism with socia l i � t leanings. Duvivier. by the 11 ncan ny. therefore. wh i c h I1l C:l I l S r h a t i ts ' l 1 i L l h i l i t \. { s p e c i fl c to til<. Suitable pol i t i Cl l a rt wo u l d ellsu re.. Nev('!"{ h e b s . I t i . just as there is no point of view outside history. which found expression in the theatre by admixtures with the ' m inor' perform i ng arts : ma rionette shows. The core of the p r oble m is that there is no criterion for establ ishi ng a n appropriate correlation between the politics of aesthe t ics and the aesthetics of pol itics. or Carne i n the 19305. D ependi n g on the times. They i ntermix i n any case. to be suited to a n apolitical outlook on the i rreducible c haos of human a Ffa i rs or the picturesque poetry of soci a l d i fferences./it fi'(II17('1/107i' 0/ clsewhere.l d i cl i u n c1 11 n i ncss t h ar t h reaten s ro d c s t rov a l l p o l i r i c a l mea n i n g. p o l i t i c a l :1 1"t c a n n o r wo rk I II t h e s i m ple fo r m of a Il l e a n i n gr'u l spectacle that vvould I c:ld to an 'awa re ness' or the state o f the world. an expression docs not fi nd its p l a c e in the s yste m o f v i s i h l e coord i n ates where it appears.T h is means that an aesthetic p o l i t i c s alwavs defi nes i t s e l f Iw a certa i n recas t i n g of rhe d i srri htH ion of t he se n s i hl c .rllld fhl' fl(lllfl!­ . 1 the lmcrlrl1�)' . r il l' o ff-l e i :l l p os i r i o n i n t h e C cr m a n D e mocra t i c Repll h i i c . or a first-rate poem whose democratic meaning is not to be found i n the din of the revolutionary barricades h ut i ll the i nd ividual and quasi­ subterranean obsti n acy of Jean Valjea n .l c i c docs n ot f i t with in the sens i b l e framework d e fi n ed hI' :1 n e two r k o r mea n i ngs. a rcco n fi gll r:1 t i p n ()j t h e given perce wa I fo r m s .' Cllr01mtl'1' .s 0/ art is always anchored in a precise socio-historical situation? In that case. a t one a n d t h e sallle ti me. as you SlIggested earlier. this is something that the art in question does not control. B recht's theatre.Does this mean that the act o/judging the political import o/wor/. the s ay a h l e . 1 920s. and aesthetics has its politics.hed aesthetico-political C!ltl'goril's . the music h a l l or cabaret.the m0711 e nt wl'I'1l JrOlt lerl1fts her immediate surroundings in order to go and lool:' with izatiorl o fequa/lty ?2S where you estrlblish (I .' t h e E11rOpe:l l1 i n te l l e ctu a l c l i tes i n the 1 9 . not to mention boxing. by that wh ich resists sign i fication. The p oliti c a l formula i s i d e n t i fl :lhk. It is the state of pol itics that decides that D ix's paintin gs i n the 1920s. . He constantly plays between mea m of coming to political awareness and means of ll nderm i n i ng the legi t i m acy of great a rt. t h e production o f a double effeer: t h e rCl d a h i l i t v of a pol itical s i gnific a t i on and a s ens i b l e o r p erc e p ttl a l shock callsed. to si ngle out the form o f p ol i t i c i ­ zation at work in a novel. Th is has nothi ng to do with the c la i m m ade by some people t h at a rt and politics should not be m i xed.62 T H E POLI T I C S OF A E S T HE T I C S T N T F RV T FW F O R TT-T F.Cll r h i s p a r t i ll l i :1r fo rm of po l i t i c s . a fil m . H is 'epic theatre' is a combination between a pedagogical logic legitimated by the M arxist corpus and. or fil m s by C i m i no or Scorsese in the 1 9 8 0 5 appear to h arbour a political critique or appear. te c h n i qu e s o f fr a g m e n t a r i o n a nd the m i xtllre of o p pos i te \ t h :.

wh ich can possibly corroborate the action u nelertaken by political subjects to recon figure what are given to be facts. bui lt on a serie� of ruptures.H wh i c h t h e forms of novelistic m icrology esta b l i s h a mode of i nd i v i d u ­ a t i o n t h a t comes to c h a l l enge pol i ticd suhjecr i v i z a t i o n . cnr i n g s i t u a t ion. i n poi nt of fact. an entire held of p l ay where t h e i r m odes o f i nd i v i d u a t i o n a n d t h e i r m e a ns of l i n k i n g sequences contr ibute to l i h er at i n g p o l i t i c a l possi b i l i t i es hy u n d o i n g t h e fo r m a t t i n g of rea l i t y produced hy statl'­ control l ed med i a . t h e Ill ode s o f p resell t a t i o l1 or the m e a n s o f establ i sh i n g expl a n atory sequences produced hy a r t i s tic pra c t i ces for t h i n k i n<T a n d w r i t i n g democratic h istorv. o r her w a y of s i tu at i ng events at a m u c h more m i n ut e leve l .('} Oil the IJisto)"). accord i ng to her. the m e a ns or prcsenr i ng nbjecrs. o n their coll te mpora neous ness or thei r d i sta n c e . I t i s u p to t h e v. a l l o f t h i s estab l i s h es a g r i d t h a r makes i t possible to t h i n k t h rough t h e forms o f pol i t i ca l d i sse n s u a l ity more e ffectively t h a n the ' s oc i a l epic's' various for m s . T h i s d o l' S n o r m e a n t h a t Vi rgi n i a Woo l f w rote goo d soc i a l novek I t mC1 Jl S d u t h e r way o f wor k i ng on t h e contrac t i o n o r d i ste n s i o n o f tempor. There are aesthetic formulas a nd transformations of these formulas that a lways � defi ne a certain 'politics'.. for t h e i r own p roper u s e .n co n fou nd t h e trad i t i o n a l Ia nel ma rks.i n t h e rcco n fi g u ration of world s of ex perie n c e ba sed on wh ich pol icc consens u s or pol i tica I d i ssellSus a re d c fi ned .i n a gloha I a nd d i ffuse m a n n e r . and sub-proletaria n wandering. Her own specific question (what words her son.Is this whrlt you try to rio )'OIII"SI'//ill )'our II')"itll!. I h ad emphasized the way i n which this system th rows off the pre-consti­ tuted poli t ical modes of fra m ing. wh ich l ike t h e w i nd ' blows where i t wills' (even i f it is Rossell i ni who is play i ng a b i t the role of God t h e Father) . In fact. There i s a lso. . it is clear that refusi ng to frame the situation i n accordance with the com mun ist schema also authorizes fram i ng it accord i ng to the Ch risti a n schema.c is . There i s a l i m i t . [ th i n k t h at a theore t i ca l d i scmm. The fi rst t h e bourgeois housewi fe.s a nd a rra n g i n g statements.el f o u t t o a l a rger extent . h owever. wh ich actually h as the advantage of fra m i ng without wal ls: the h eroi ne's wanderi n g that I had previously i dentified with Socratic ato p i a i s . at the e n d o f Thl' Nt/mes of History. T h e outcome is t h a t the heroine fi nds hersel f m o re a n d more diverted fro m a ny system of correspondences between mea n i ngs and the visible. '" ' toward V i rg i n i a Woo l f more so t h a n toward E m i l e 1. a nd t h e t h i n kable . I t is n ecess a r y to reverse t h l' W. for whom t h e workers are those u n k nown people who go on strike and d istu rb urban traffic and transportation. this structured working-class world where the sett i ng a n d i t s mea ni ng coincide is i n t u rn chal lenged i n favou r of an open world without coord i n ates. nor are there criteria for distingu ishing good political fi l ms from bad poli tical fi lms. a wanderi n g oriented toward the grace of Spirit. o l a . that construct the s r a mh I'd i ntel l i g i b i l i ty of h i s to ry. t h a t .lt a n y theore t i c a l statement h a s . There is not. according to the representatives of society. However. That said. ora!'! and poiitics? rather t h a n t h e other vvay a ro u n d .a given order of relations between mean ings and the visible .t 1 i t i es . Furthermore. we should avoid aski n g the Europa '51 is. d isplacements out of frame (i n the not the tech n ical sense) .l rious h)rms o f pol i r i o t o appro p riate.1 .lY in \vh i ch the p rohlem i s geneLl l l y formu h te d .l cstheric possihi l i ties. a world of vague stretc h es of l a nd . p rl". e n ter i n to pol i t ics' own hcld of .1 do i ndeed atte m p t to p r i v i l ege \Vavs of w r i t i n g h i s tonl. and i nsan i ty. a sen s i b l e recon fi gu ration of t h e facts i t i s a rgt i ng about. who threw h imself down the stairwell. t h e savahl e . The pol itics of works of art p l ays i u. i t i s neces s a rv t o I nok . A system of heterologies is i ndeed put i n to play here. I t pl ays i tscl f cl I l t i n tlw way i ll wh ich modes ( ) f na rra t i n n o r !l C W for m s o r v i s i b i l i t y estab l i s h ed h y a rt i s t i c practice.dwavs s i mu lta neousl v a n aesthetic fo rm. is challenged by a second world: t he visit organ ized by her com mun ist cous i n to t he cheap apartment build ings where the workers l ive. i nduci ng mea n i ngs a nd causal sch e m a t.. . . where noth i ng coincides a n y longer. however. ways or c o n s t r u c t i n g rcl a t i o l l S between cau�e a n d e ffect o r hetwcen a n tecede nt a nd (onsc q u cll f t h . said or would have sa id) coi ncides w i t h the discovery o f a world progressively loosing i ts structure where the only a nswer is charity.and establishes other networks o f the sensible. a rule establish ing a concordance. a frer all. It is i n t h i s sense that I sa i d . by u n d o i n g the rel a t i o n s hetween the v i s ihle. It undoes the sensible fabric . C l a i m i n g t h .64 T H E POLIT I C S OF A E STH ET I C S I N T E RV I EW F O R TH E E N C L l S H E D l TT ( ) �. 2') This means that the play of heterologies always has an undecidahle aspect to it. o f strongest �ense of t h e word and sem i b l e or p e rceptu a l world o f q ue st i o n i n terms of c r i ter i a fl)r t h e p o l i t i c a l eva l u a t i o n of works of a n . s h a n t y towns.

66 T H E P O L I T I C S O F AESTHETICS a poetic nature is equivalent to breaking down the horders a nd h ierar­ chies between levels of d iscourse. Afterword by Slavoj Zizek . Here we have come back to our starting point.

OIlC of t h c conrr i i J l l t ors ( ro g e r l w r w i r l . d e m a n ded to be i n c l u d ed i n the publ i c sphere. recogn i zed a s a p a rt ner i n pol i t i c a l d i a logue a n d t h e exercise of' power.W. t h i s i ns i s te n ce o n t h t' g a p w h i ch forever sepa rates t h e u n iverse or scien­ ti fl c cogn ition from that of i d t'ologic a l (Ill i s) recogn i ti o n in wh ich t h t' com m o n m a s ses a re i m mersed .h rc. perfectly fl t s t h e i t i n e Ll!'Y O r J �1 C q ll cs R a ll c i lTC' wll() A l t h mseri a n . Schel l i n g's state m t' n t. J -fow. a ga i n s t this sta n ce. Roger Escl hkt a n d Pi CTTe i\tl c h c rc\') Tn fl rst a p p e a red 011 the ph i losoph ical q'l'l1c i ll rht' c a rly 1 9()()s as I' he �1 Y"ll ll g d c fl l1ed r h e fi e l d of 'S!Tl l ctll r. t o e ffectuate a c h a n ge i n t h e globa l percepti o n o f soc i a l space. I 1 ()wC\'cr.1 r h l l n d er d'A lthllSser ( Thr Lrsson o fA itll1lsscr) . i . c r \ ('0111' '\.l ga i ns t H ab e r m a s .1te t h e conto u rs o f t h ose m ag i c . wh i ch a l l ows t h eo re t i ci a n s to 'speak tor' t h e m asses.l l i .'\.1 k i n g cnl lcct 1 \ . ( r i c l 1 l l e B:l l i h'lr.} . volu mc rirr· /r (�ll'it(7/ f'rol11 I f) ({i . a t b es t .1 form o f b o u rgeoi s h u m a n i s m . ' T h e beg i n n i n g is t h e nega t ion o( t h a t wh i c h begi n s w i t h i t'. pol i t i c a l s t n t gglc proper is therefore not a r a t i o n a l .l g ro u p wh i c h .l s i zes . 1 '\LHx i s rn . Aga i n s t t h i s t h eore t i c i s t el i t i s m . a tero c i o u s c r i t i c a l cxa m i n at i o n of A l t h usseri a n s t r u c t u ra l i s t M a r x i s m with its rigid d is t i n c t i o n be tween scie n t i fi c t heory a nd ideology a n d i ts d i strust towa rds a ny form of s p o n t a n e o u s popu l a r move m e n t wll i c h was i m m ed i a tely d ecried a s . A s R a n c i erT em piJ . d i d pol i tics proper Iwg i n ? \ i t h t h e emergcnce Xl o f the d{"mos a s an acrive a ge n t w i t h i n t h e C reek po/is. d id ! lO t w h i c h rocked t h e A l t h l l sser i a n sce n e : i n 1 974.1(1 1 '. for R a nc i c re. v i o l e n t ly poe t i c m o m e n ts o f p o l i t i c a l sllhj e c t i v i z a t i o n i n w h i c h t h e excluded C l ower cl asses ' ) p m forwa rd thei r c l a i m to spcl k for t h em selve s . so r h a t r h e i r cl a i ms wou l d h aw a Ieg i t i m a tc place i n i t . o ll e p. w i t h /\ I r h m .The Lesson of Ranciere F. h a ve to wh i ch . occupy i n g a subord i n ate p l a ce ) . he publ i s hed IJI Lrum wa i t I O l1 g fo r R a l 1 C 1 ere's u n i q u e voicc to explode in . to k nO\\' t h e truth abou t t h e m .t'. a l though w i thout a ny fl xed p l a c e i n t h e soc i a l ed i hce ( o r. w i t h r h e e m e rgenct' o f .1 t h . to he h e a rd o n equ a l too t i n g w i t h t h e r u l i n g o l i ga rchy or a ri s tocracy. R a n c i e re e ndeavo u rs a ga i n a nd a ga i n t o e i abor.

and by defi n it ion . ' proleta ri a t' c a n he read as t h e s u bject i v i zation of t h e 'part of no part' eleva t i n g i ts i n j us t i ce to the u l t i m ate t e s t o f u n i ver­ sa l i ty.a re played out. but.:ffltum). not cou nted in the orde r . b y way o f r e fo r m u l a t i n g i t a s a w a r hetween ' U: . i n protesting the wrong lost the moment it had to accept Sol idar ity as an equal partner) . t h e t ra nsr()J'ma tiol1 of t h e ' a d m i n i s t rat I o n o f people' i nto t h e 'ad m i n istration of th i ngs' w i th i n a fu l ly s e l f� a n d .p ol i t i c s . with each i ndividu a l d o i n g h is or h e r pa rt i cu l a r job.l g o n i c procedu re o f l i t i g a t i on d ocs n o t c x p l od e part' which u nsettles t h i s order on accou nt o f the e mpty p r i n ciple of equality-in-freedom of all m e n qua speak i n g bei n gs . t h e m a ste r pi e c e of h i s po l i t i c a l t h o u g h t : i -pol i ti cs : t h e 'com m u n i ta r i : l n ' :l t t e m pt.n i ()n or . of what Etie n n e Balibar calls part has its place . the u l ti m a te goa l or ' t rue' po l i t i cs i s t h u s i ts s c i f-cancel l a t i o n .i n terests of t h e a r istocracy or ol i garchy 'we�. hy i t s fa l s e rad ica l i z a t i o n . t h e m o s t cI I ll n i n g a n d rad ic a l vers i o n o f t h i s d i savowal i s u l t r a . i n t h e g u i se o f t h e :l t t e m p t to resolve t h e <l e : l (l I o c l< tra nspa rent ra t i o n .1 t t <:' Tll p t t o d e po l i t i c i ze c o n n i ct b y w a y of h r i n g i n g i t t o a n e x t re m e \' I a t h e of pol i t i c a l con A ic t . of . but t h e i r very right to be h e a rd a nd recog­ n ized as a n equal partner in t h e debate ( i n Pol a n d .whose proper p l ace is on A nother S cene (the scene o f econo m ic i n fra­ structure) . destabi l i z i n g the ' n a t ur a l ' t h e pol i ce-l og i c) : one accepts the pol i t i ca l con fl ic t . p o l it ics a n d democracy are synonymous: t h e basic !e troisieme hat p roclaimed i tsel f identical t o the J10mcnl. co n fl i c t . protested against the r u l i n g e l i te (the a ristocracy o r the nomrnk!atltrrl ) . of mescntmtc.l ntago n i ze pol i tics h y W:ly o f rl)J"Jl1U b t i n g t h e clea r r \ l lc� W h e o b e y ed s o t h a t t he . ) . i . d iscer n i bl e i n a l l great democratic events. the u ncond i t i o n a l d e m a n d that ' t h i ngs shou l d R a nciere. t h e . for the ( te m p o r a r y ) occlI p.and 'the part with n o u niversality. In a i m of antidemocratic p o l i ti cs always .70 T H E POLITICS OF AESTHETICS A f T E RWO R D ll Y S LAVO] 7. etc . demos to Pol is h workers. .l wl s l . to s u p p l e m e n t R a n c ie re . s i m ultaneously. t h ey a l so the p roper logic of pol i t i ca l confl i c c Ra n c i e re d e v e l op ed t h e m i n lJI Mesf'J1tcnt(' ( 1 99')). E I< '1 debate between m ultiple i n terests.} n n h i c s :I W perhaps t h e l ast ph i i o s oph i cl i ves t i ges of t h i s :l ttitllde: t h e a t tcTll f ) [ to d e-.a re t h e people. p a ra-pol i t i cs : t h e attempt to d epol i t i c i ze po l i t i c s (to tr:l 11 s l a tc it I I HO a rch "not h ing". H ab c r m a s i :l n or R .l l ord er o f col l ective W i l l . as th e operator w h i c h w i l l h r i n g a hout the estab l i s h m ent of a post-pol i t i c a l r a t i o n a l s oc i e t y Our E u ro p c :l l1 trad i tion conta i n s a series of d isavowa l s of t h i s pol i tical moment. functional order o f relations i n t h e social body.W lll h n l i c .s to clefi nc :1 t n d i r i Ol l :l 1 c l ose. the s t ruggle partner: when the 'excluded'. a n d ' T h em'. i.qy. d i re c t m i l i t a r i z a t i o n o f p o l i t i c s : r h e ' forecl osed ' po l i t i C:l i re t l l rn s i n t h e rea l .l i n st ( appears as a stand-i n for the Un i versal. the U n iversal and the Pa rticular: the pa radox of a s i ngu la r which Pol itics proper t h u s a lways i Ilvolves a k i n d o f s hort-c i rcu i t between the particular power. of t h e p a r t of society with no cization. is the elementary gestu re of pol i r i ­ i nto p o l i t i cs proper� M a r x i s t (or Utop i a n Social ist) meta-pol i ti c s : t h e pol i tical con fl ict is ful ly asserted . af!:. pol ice a nd p o l i t i c s proper i s . O l l r E n e m y w h e re t h ere is n o C 0 11l 1ll 0 n gro u n d fo r . a nd . from t h e f re n c h Revolution ( i n w h i c h place wit h i n it) with the U niversal. e .1 /. s i m u l ta neously. the true stakes were not on ly t h e i r expl i c i t d e m a n d s (for h igher wages. from the G reek for one's voice to be heard and recogn i zed as the voice of a legiti m ate work conditions. i n the M a rx ist trad i t i o n . w i t h i n t h e rep rcs <:' nt a t i o n a I s p a c e het "' C t' I I a c k n ow l e d ge d pa rt i es /a ge n t s. the Furthermore. the principled cation of t h e n o n-part with t h e Whole. (lr tort) they s u ffered. T h i s ident i fi ­ properly defined place within it (or resist i n g the a l l ocated su bord i n a te ega!ibcrte. The pol i t i c a l co n fl ic t resides i n the tension between the structured soc i al body where each elementary sense of m a i n tain i ng social order .i s a nd was depoliticization. as a s hadow-theatre in wh ich processes . of course. we .the as the stand-in for the Whole of Society i n irs u niversa l i rv. e mphasizes how the I i nc of sep a ration be tween t h e return t o norma l '. hur rcf<' r m u i :J t('s i t i 1 1 to a compet i t ion. orga n i ca I I )' s t r u c tu red h o mogeneous soc i a I sp:lCe w h i c h :Ji l ows for n o voi d in w h i ch the pol i t i c a l m o m e nt-event can e m erge .He A l l aga i nst others who sta nd o n ly for thei r particular privi l eged i nterests' ) . o ll e i s te m p t e d Nation as such again s t the a ristocracy a nd the c l e rgy) to the d e m i se of ex-European Socia l i sm ( i n wh i c h the d issident Forum proc l a i med itsel f representative of the entire society aga i nst the Pa rty this precise sense.l lw:IYs h l u rred a n d co nt e s t ed � . nomrnidatura presented themselves as the i m m e d i ate embod i ment of society as such.wh at R anciere calls pol i tics as police in the most the p la c e of execlItive power.e.

is thus an attempt to gentrify the properly traumatic d i mension of the pol itical: somethi ng emerged in ancient Greece under the name of polis demand ing i ts r i ghts. on the one hand. the violen t outbu rsts o f d c p ol i ti c i ze d ' pllre Evi l ' i n the g u i s e of 'exces s i ve' crh n ic or rel igi ous fu n d :l l11e n ta l i s r violence. perhaps. ) .. ) . tod ay's ' pos t m od e r n ' post-pol i t i cs opens up a new field which i nvolves a stronger negation of p ol i t i c s : i t n o longer merely 'represses' i t .h()ldcl n o t ( ' \ ' ( ' r co�i 1nct' . ) and liberal multiculturalists.<. a compromise is reached in the guise of a more or less universal consensus. I nstead of the political subject ' wo rk i n g c l a ss' demanding i ts universal rights. tod ay's h cgem o n i c t e n den c y towa rds post­ pol i t i cs thus co m pe l s us to rcasse r t tile p o l i t i u l i ll its key d i m e n sl < l f1 . but much more effectively ' for ec los e s ' i t . a k i nd of ' defence-formation'. on t h e other h a nd .72 T H E P O L I T I C S O F A E S T H ET I C S A FT E RWO R D [ W S LAV()J 7. R a n c iere i s right to e m p h a s i ze how i t i s a g a i n s t t h i s b a c k g ro u n d t h a t o n e s h o u l d i nterpret the f�lsc i n a tion of 'puh l i c o p i n i o n ' w i t l l t h e u n i q ue e ve n t of the I-j o l oc a u s r : t h e refe re nce to t he HoloCl ll s t as t he u l t i m a te . trying to contain i t a n d t o paci fy t h e 'returns of the repressed '. th ose \\' ! w e x e rt p ow e r cm d o so o l l i v telllpor:l 1'i k �I n d . meta. a nd . The Holocaust is t h e n:Ul1e fo r the u n th i n ka h l e a p ol i t i c a l excess of p o l i ti cs i t se l f: it compels m to s u bord i n a t e p o l i t i c s to sOl11 e more f'u n d a m e n t a l eth ic<. i ll all its d i fferent shapes. with their ' i rrationa l ' excessive character. t h e confl ict o f global ideological visions embod ied i n different parties who compete for power is replaced b y a collaboration of enlightened technocrats (econom ists.l.l P hcrween t h e R C 1 1 and t h e Svmho l i c : i n a dC JTlon:lcv. from P lato's Republic) to the recent revival of liberal p ol i t i cal thoug h t . the i l11 � i g r a n r . whose status is n eve r properly regu lated . lcfort conceptua l i zcd the d e mocratic space :I S s l l. apol i t i c a l c r i m e . so that the postmodern forms of ethnic violence. serve' :1. i s t h e indivisible remainder of the transformation of democratic p ol i t i c a l struggle into the post-pol itical procedure of negotiation and fllu l t i ­ culturalist policing.a rchi-. para-. public opinion special ists . as we k now from Lacan. etc .EK What we have i n all four cases . W h :1 t defl n es p os t ll1 o d e rn 'post-po l i tics' i s th m rill' secret s ol i d a r i t y he twee n i t s two opposed J a n u s f�l ces: 0 11 the onc h :l !ld . h e b e l o n gs to the field o n e i s te m pted to defi n e a s 'pnsr­ A lt h u ss c r i an ' : authors l i ke Bal iba r. returns in the Rea l . .s t a i nnl hy t he' �. the re p l a c e m e ll t of pol i tics proper hy cl e pol i t i ci zcd ' h u m a n i Ll ria n' opna­ tiom. lip to E rn e st o Lacl au. more a n d Illore p rev e n t ed from po l i t i cizi n g h is p re d ica menr o f e x c lusi o n . . its typology could be establ ished via reference to the d i fferent modal ities of defence against some t raumatic experience in p sych o a n alys i s . etc. T h e fi rs t t h i ng to note h e re i s h ow t h e y a rc a l l opposed t o t h e m os t elabor:Hed ' for ma l ' thcorv of d e m oc rac y i n contemporary French t ho u g h t .(' plflO' O(!'O II'1T i. fixing the rules of political competition.f . The O t herness e x cl l l d e d fro m the c o n se ns u :1 1 do m a i n of toiera n t / rJt i oll a l post-pol i t i c : d n e g o ti a t i o n a n d ad ll1 i n i str:1tion retu rns i n t h e g l l l St· of i n cx pi i c l h l e p l l fe Ev i l .e. and. I n short. ' Pol itical ph i losophy' is t h m . from the very beginn i n g (i. in the form of racism. whose starting p os i t ion was c 1 m c to A l t h u sser. o n t h e other hand. The political (the space of litigation in wh ich the excluded can protest the wrong/injustice done to them) . are no longer si mple 'retu rns o f t h e r e p re ssed'. I n R a ll c i ere's d i a g n o s i s .e "t nll'­ tum/I)! Ol7pt)'. u nt h i n kab l e . foreclosed from the symbolic then ret urns in the real. A b i n Badiou. w h a t R a n c i e re p roposes h ere i s :1 n e w version o f t h e old H e ge l i an motto ' Evil resides in t h e gaze itscl f wh i c h perceives t h e object as Evi l ': t h e contempor a ry fi gure o f Ev i L too 'strong' to he acces­ s i b l e to pol i tical a n a l y� i s (the Holocau st. nohodv h :1 5 t he 'n a t l l r �l l ' r it: h t to O C Cl l fW I t. we get. In post-politics. In contrast to these fou r versions. T n a n e x p l i c i t refe rence t o LIC1 n i a n t h eory. as t h e Evi l so Ll d ical t h �ll i t c a n n o t be p o l i t i ci zed (accou nted for hy a p o l i t i c a l d. It is crucia l to perceive how 'postmodern racism' emerges as the ultimate consequence of the post-political s uspension of the political in the reduction of t h e state to a mere police agent servicing the (co n s e ns u a l l y established) needs of the m arket forces and multiculturalist tolerant human itar­ ianism: the ' foreigner'. but rather p resent the case of the foreclosed (from the S ymbo l i c) wh i c h . via the process of negotiation of i nterests.'n a m ic) . t h a t of Claude Le fo r t . e ac h w i t h i ts problems ( t h e dwind l i n g need tor manual wor k e r s . e t c . and. to d isavow and/or regul ate it i n one way or another: bringing about a return to a pre-political social body. t i. the o p e r a t o r wh i c h a l lows us to d e po l it i c i z e t h e soci a l s p h e re . 'political p h ilosophy' h as been an attempt to suspend the destabi l iz i ng potential of the political. a p p e a rs as S I K h OIl ] V to t h e g:lZe w h i c h c o n s t i tlltes it as sli c h (as d e p ol i t i c i z ed ) . t h e fl l u l t i - pl icity of particu lar social strata or groups. to wa rn agai nst t h e presu lll p t i o n o f pol i ti c i za t i o n .and u ltra-pol itics . i n t h is.

1\'. T h e ' p o l i t i c a l ' c r i t i q u e of ivh r x i s !l1 ( t h e claim th at.I I l C i (�'I"' . even if differently. While Ra ncicre rema i ns t�l ithft1 1 to the pop u l ist-democratic i mpulse. there is a privileged O n e.ltll re t h a r u n i tes a l l t h e of t h e post -A Ithusserian p a r t i s a n s o f ' p u re pol i t ics ': w h a t t h ey oppose to rocl a y's post-pol i t ics is m o re . I n s pi te of t h ese d i fferences. .) lltiarioll 'ol d ' o p p o r t u n i s t i c people ( t h e i n e rt 'crowd ' ) i nto .s oph i Cl I t er m ' an 'ontic' t here i s si m p l y n o place for t h e M a r x i a n ' c r i t i q u e o f p o l i t ic a l ecollom y ': t h e s t r u c t u re o f t h e u n iverse of cotll mod i r ies and c a p i Ll i i n Iv1 :1 r .k nown v i su a l p a ra d o x of t h e 'two faces sees t h e two faces or a vase.l d i t i ol1 .l l :-.l revo l u t i() n a r:' hody awa re of i t s h i sto r i cal task. . the 'su pe rn u merary' wh ich occupies the place of the 'symptomal torsion' of t h e whole and t h us a llows us access to its t ruth . B recht mocks the arrogance of the Comm u n ist nomenklaturrl when faced with the workers' revolt: 'Would it not he easier for the govern ment to dissolve the people and elect anot her? ' However. in the sa me way that Kant rejected the opposition between the t rad itional eth ics of a transcendent substantial Good a nd the utilita rian groundi ng of eth ics i n the individual 's contingent e mp i r ical i nterests by way of p ropos i n g a p u rely formal notion of ethical duty. o ne e i t h e r focuses on t h e p o l it i c a l . Badiou provokes us t o shift the accen t from 'differently' to 'th i n k ': 'Freedom is freedom for those who thin k d i fferently' .t h i s l evel of the r O R Jvl o f t"con o t1l\ (of economy as t h e d e ter m i n i n g F O R M of t h e s(l e i . l l I .J i ph i lo. e . tt ld i cs a ll d t h e I r foeu.l S E n ge l s a l re ady put it.ON LY for those who R E ALLY THIN K. t h e re d uc t i o n o f t h e s p here o r eCO I l O I1l\' (of m . even with i n t h i s 'post-Althusserian' field.l l ) is w h a t F r e n c h c h o ice. with i n t h e m u l t i rude of real political agents. when o n e reduces pol i t ics to a ' fo r m a l ' e x p re s s i o n p i snnw ' 11 n d c r l y i n g ' o b jec t ive socio-eeo n o l11 ic p rocess.l lld 1�.heoh i n t h a ll M a rx ist. .] 1 . i t s h a res w i t h i ts gre a t oppo n e n t . In his famous short poem 'The Solution' from 1 9 53 (published i n 1 956). to b r i n g about t h e rra n s u h<. he wou l d b e o n the win n i ng s ide . \\l i t h l l l t h i . Iw r i zo ll . the ohverse of h is letter of solidarity with the East German Comm u n i st regi m e published i n Neues Deutschland . Far from hei n g an CI S Y ta s k .d p ro <i l l C t i n n ' I n sp h e re d e p r i ved o f ' o n tologi ca l ' d i g n i t y.. . h u t .T H E d u t y even .L.l t is to \.l r i o n 0 1 ' t h e ' ll h e re n f . . The elegance of this theory is that. or one h as to make a . h � ' bh T h . i . this poem is not only political ly opportunistic.a xoll C u l t u r. I II t h c s a m e way. i n wh i c h .'CO I H l l l l . to profess his s upport for the regime as wel l a s to h i n t at his sol idarity w i t h the workers.t o p l l t i r i ll t r.1 k i n d of socio-tr a n scend e n t a l I I priori.s I N I T S V E RY F O R M i rred u c i h l e to pol i t i cs .the pure u n i ver s a l form i s l i n ked hv a k i nd of umbil ical cord to a 'pathological' element which do c s nor fi t i nto the social Whole. e. However.1 1 1 g . not for those who j ust b l i ndly (unth i n ki ngly) act out their opin ions . While a l l democratic Left ists venerate Rosa Luxembourg's fa mo u s ' Freedom i s freedom for t hose who t h i n k differently'.1 ( l i ( ) 1 1 1 ( 1 i .l l of t h e d eveloped Com m u n i s t (or technocrat i c) society. ( . t h e wel l . a i m at i s . to ' d i ssolvc the peopl e and e l e ct a nother' i s t h e rn m t d i ffic u l t of a l l .of a r e vol m i ona r y p a rt y to ' d i ssolve the and e l e e r a . so that w h oever won .t o p u t i t brutally.l t . A la i n Badiou (whose n o t i o n of the 'supernumerary' as the site of the political i s very close to Rancicre's notion of the 'part with no part' ) opts for a more ' Platon ic' form of politics grounded in the u niversal form-of-thought.1 1 1 t h e n c w h'c n c h (or " rc n c h nr i e nt(·d) t h e nr i e s ' of I hL' Pnl i t i c . t h ere a rc considerable d i fferences. . n ever h o t h of them The rel ationsh ip between economy a nd p o l i tics i s \ t 1 t i m . from B:l l i h a r t h rou ' h R . o th e r ' .. an d po l i t i cs is reduced to a t h ea t re o f a ppCH­ ances.. to a passi ng p h e n o m e non w h ic h w i l l d i s a ppea r w i t h t h e a rri v. one l oses t h e opell ness and comingency cOll 5 t i ru t i vc of t h e p o l i t i c a l fie l d proper) shou l d t h l l S b e s u p p le m e nt ed by i ts ohverse: t h e fi e l d o f eco llol1lY i . l nd i'vfou flc. Crlp i trr! i s NOT j us t t h a t of a l i m i ted em pi r i Cl I sphere. a nd rhe d oma i n of economy is red uced to the empirical 'servi c i n g of goo d s ' .s O i l dl l" - stnw<T!cs for l"Cco"n i ti o l l ' t h e d c<rra d . .l t el . i . . bur a lso si mply wrong i n t h e t henret ico- po l i t ic al sense: on e should bravely a d m it that i t effee r ive l y 1:-. ·. the 'post-A Ithusserians' i nsist that.74 T H E POLITICS OF A E S T H ET I C S A F T E RWO R D flY S LAVO J 7. B recht wa nted to cover both h i s fl a n ks. t h e re i s a fe. Lefort overcomes the opposition between the Rousseau i a n 'substantia l ist' notion of democracy as expressi ng la volonte generale a nd the l iberal notion of democracy as the space of negotiated settlement between the plural ity of i nd ividual i n terests. t h e m ar r i x wh ich generates t h e (()u l i tv of soc i a l a n d pol it i c a l rela t i o n s .':.. by way of proposing a purely 'formal' notion of d e m oc ra c y. So while Lefort proposes a Kantia n t r ans ce n d e n t a l n o t i o n of" pol i t i cal democracy. . t h e 'ad m i n i s t ra t i o n of peop l e ' w i l l va n i s h i n t h t" 'ad m i n i s t rat i o n of th i ngs'.l (n i .l:EK 7') a dmv people with its place. I h :l t n f or a va s e ' : n il e e i th er - o n e focllses on economy. w h .\ n glo-:-.

when people strike against a particular measure (new tax regulation. they were deprived of what they were really a i m in g at. h n r t ­ nile h e ca refu l n o t t o succll m h t o t h e l i bera l tcmpt:l t i o ll o f condem n i n g a l l col l ective a rt i s t i c O n :1 m or e genera l leve l . i s t h e e l e m c n t a r v for m of rcs ist.s\vc' i III m n s j O]l w h i l e Brecht a i m ed a t a d ista nced. i n the eyes of t he ad m i n istrative power.how? It is here that we encoll nter the second great breakthrough of R a nciere articulated in Le Partage du sensible: the aestheticization of politics.1 I1ce. S ieg fri ed I< r:1 cl u er ) ? I f n o t . the sol d i ers a n d s a i l ors were p l ay i l-l g themselves . ' ' n o t j us r sec on d a r y i 1 l mt ra t i o n s of a n u nd e rl y i n g i d co l og i ca l s trug gl e. a nd a rt i sts worked rou n d the clock.many of t h e m n o t o n l v aerll a l l \' p a r t i C i pa ted I n t h e eve n ts of 1 9 1 7. but were a l so s i mll i ta neousi:' i n volved i n t h e rea l b a t tles of the C i v i l Wa r t h a t were ra g i n s in the n e a r v i ci n i r\' of Pcrro g rad .rc. i nconceivable except as a statistic under a negative sign) . Ra ncicre wrote a series of outstandi ng texts on art.obsel"\· i n g . I n spite of t h is critical poi nt. sp ee c h es a nd acts) i n wh i c h . . .e rvcd a s .F:l � c i � t' total i ta r i a n e x p e r i e n c e o f rhe 'rq.eft in r h e :) o s p:l rt i c i p:Hed I n rhe \. t h e\�lt i o n a l ad m i n istra t i o n a n d con t rol of social processes. people feel frustrated. II nex pecred . The aesthetic metaphor i n which a particular element stands for the Universal. goes against the grain of the p redom inant notion w h i c h sees the mai n root of Fascism i n the elevation of the s o ci a l body i nt o a n aesthetic-organ ic Whole. although grounded in the long F rench tradi t ion of rad ical po l itic a l spectacle. a decade ago. sold iers. .d l Oi d d T h i n gsp i e l in - le a rn i n g p I a :·s / le/JrYlIl(c/. Or recall how the a nti-abortion ca mpaigns as . .l ge o f :1 r i c h CHeer wom a n n eg le c t i n g h e r m a t e rn a I 111 a h o rt i o n s a rc pc rfc)rlllcd on work i n g-class women who a I rC1d. the true a i m of the strike is never just this particular measure . as wel l a s by the aV3 nt-ga rd e �l r t i � t s . 1/!e 're a plus. i n the UK. the figure of the unemployed single mother was elevated by the conservative medi a i nto the cause of all social evil s : there is a budget deficit because too much money is spent on supporti ng single mothers.the shi ft from the political to the aesthetic is i n herent in the pol itical itself. s ince. there is j uvenile deli nquency because si ngle mothers d o not properly educate their offspring.1 mass i d eo l og i co-aes r h e t ic e x p c r i cll cc (of' S O il g'.l'Ij�dn ( t h e t h es i s o r :l I l l O ll t� o t h er s . on � hc t h i rd anniversary of rhe O c tober R evol u t i o n . . . m u s i c i a m .l t the I .which i s why. . - l ea rn i n g ? However. arc perceived as 'a surplus' (laid off.peer :lf o rs riwmsekn .. translated i nto a specific impressive set of i m ages? Recall how. d ocs t h e d i ffe rence l"Cs l d c i n t h e i n to p re-i n d i v id u a l cOll l lll u n i ry a s ' proro. redundant. i f those i n power give way too fast a n d repeal t h is measure. a nd p repa r i n g t h e p e r fo r m :l n cc a t the ver y p h ce wh ere t h e ('vem ' re a l l y took p l ace' t h ree yea rs ea rl i er. T h e s e poc t i c d i s p L� c e m c n ts a n d co n d e ns :nio J1'> a rc a n d p roposi n g d i ffere n t l at e ra I l i n ks o f t h e v i s i hle. h :l vc i ss i o n . is enacted in the properly political short-circuit in which a particular demand stands for the u niversal gesture of reject i ng the power that be.:rc refers to as t h e pol ice-aspe� r of t h e p o l it i c a l .l er{)r� d o cs r h i s mea n t h . sel f.:('/ ' i n vo l ved . the assertion of the aesthetic d i mension as I N H E RENT in any rad ical emancipatory pol itics. J\ n d what about the ideological stru ggle in which a u niversal conceptu a l position is always 'schematized' in the Kantian sense of the term. Those who. B or h t h e N . It is not only that. reduced to silence in a society that subtracted the j obless from the pub l ic accou nts.AVOJ ZIZLK 'political post-Marxists' m iss when they reduce economy to one of t h e positive social spheres. t h e I csson of lb ll c i ere i s t h a t . e t c . o f every v i s i bl e soci a l u n ir. s t u d e n t s . focuses o n t h e c l e a r ca te gor i z at i o n o f every i n d i v i d u a l .1 r t I l c p u r f()rwa rd t h e i m . l iv i n g on hsha (the t. ref1ccred proce�s of fa c t r h �l t t h e N az i T h i n g s pi e l s t a ged a pat h e t i c em o t i o n a l i m m er s i oll . t h e i r work was coord i n �l ted hy t h e A rmy o ffic er s . Say. rca. i � t h i s s ta n d a rd Brech t i a n opposi t i o n of emotional i m mersion and reflexive d istance sufficient? Let us reca l l r h e staged performance of 'Storm ing the \X1i nter Palace' i n Pe trog ra d . 1 9 20.l nK r h e early N a z i yea rs a n d B e r ro l t B rech t's ' p nfo r m a nces a s i n h ere n t l y ' to ta l i ta ri a n'. . r h e n d i stur h i n g s u c h order.i n hht:l I1 t c o n tr:1 st to t h e r:l lT t h :H m :l llV n w rc m a ny h u r t h e verv terra i n of t h i s st ru ggle I f w h a t R a nc i i. apart from bei ng a pol itical theorist. c i rcu i t s .76 T H E POLITICS OF A E STH ETI C S A 1' T E RWO R D BY S l . Ci t\' .l nd d i re c to rs from M a l e v i c h to Me ye r h o ld J\ lt hough this w as act i n g a nd n ot 'real ity'. o n t h e 7 t h of N ovem ber. a n d frozen a p p le s . of r h e v i s i h l e .i nvisible. Ranciere's theory provides the clearest articulation of the motto which appeared at the demonstrations of the French j obless movement in the m id-90s: we 're not a surplus. T h is choice. Tens o f t h o u s a n d s o f wo rkers.). that m ade them i nto a k i nd of residue . etc. should i mpose themselves as the embod i ment of society as such . especially on ci nema . although their demand was met.l�teless w h e a t porridge).. c h i l d re n .

by ou r e n t ry i n to t h e g l oba l pos t i n d us tr i a l society. - a c t s . they are not even 'neutra l '. th ree decades ago. cyhCrS p.l�i�)n :If t h e Self'\' i n ner p ote n t ials . was it not obvious that we were dea l i n g with a gen u i ne worki n g class ideology of youngsters whose only meam of Sllccess was the discipli nary training o f the i r only possession. popu l is t past l m t .lCsthetic d i m e n s i o n a s i n herent in t h e pol i t i c a l . to p u t it i n S teph en Jay Gould's terms. bur. None of the 'proto-Fascist' elements is per s e Fascist.n o wo n d er fl ash m o h s a re d escr ihed .t h e t ic o p o l i t i c a l protest at i ts p u rc. t h e re i s o n e . say. the i r original s i te of birth. ) . o f C O U Ls t: . I t is often c l a i m e d that.IS h e i n g u r h a n poetr)" w i t h IlO re.1 i i zations o f /701(1 I ( J{' fire to CO III illll{' to rl'sist. one should radically reject t h e notion t h a t discip line (from sel f-control to bodi ly tra i n i ng) is a 'proto-Fa scist' feature . jogg i n g a nd hod\'­ bu i ld i ng as part of t h e New Age my� h of t h e rea l i z. A nother popular topic of t h is kind of analysis is the alleged ly 'proto­ Fascist' c haracter of the mass choreography displaying d iscip l i ned movements of thousands of bodies (parades. etc. R :l n c i c' rc tloSLI l g i Cl l ly l o n gs for t h e n i n e tee n t h -c e n tu r y popu l i s t rehel l i o m wh ose era is ddl n i t c l" gone . Kung Fu fi l ms were popular (Bruce Lee. soc i a l n e tworks .s t.L eft i s t rad ica I s i t�ro the 'maturity' of pragmatic pol itics: from Jane ronda to J os c h k a F i sc h er. h is w r i t i n gs ofler one o f t h e few CO I l S l s tClH concepru.no wonder t h a t t h e obsession w i t h o n e \ hod" is a n a l most obI igatory part o f the passage o f ex. - (1 1' from SLI n d i llg for a nosta Igic .1 itself(the nomination) which malees out o. the admiration of sports which demand h igh effort and sel f-control l i ke mountai n climbi ng) i s 'proto-Fascist'. wa iting to be appropriated by Left or R ight . pe r fo r m some h r i e f (and u s u a l l y t r i v i :d or r i d i c u l o l l s ) resist:l n ce permea ted with aesthetic p h e n o m e n a.HT E RWO !{ D BY S LAVO J !: l !: F K under siege and suffering from severe food shortages. the 'period of latency' between t h e two ph ase s was m:uked bv the foc ll s on one's own hody.78 T H E P O L I T I C S OF A E S T H ET I C S .the very predicate 'proto-Fascist' should be abandoned: it is the exemplary case of a pseudo-concept whose fu nction is to block conceptual analysis.l ch Ill C l l t to . i f R a n c i cre's t h o u g h t is to d a y more a c t t l :! 1 t h a n ever: i ll o u r t i me of t h e disorientation of the Left.1 1 pu rpose. a l l o f Russi a was acting'.s s i h i l i t ies of' pL1. what makes them 'Fascist' is only their specifi c articulation o r.H [.).{the bundle o/e/ements r��lSmm proper. is not collective tra i n i n g.t hose who have noth i ng h ave only their d iscipl i ne. i s i t r ea l l y ? Is n o t p recisely t h e 'pos f illOdern' pol i t i cs of c ro s s from bodv-picrci n g .I nc! d ress i n g to publ ic spectacles ? Does not the c u ri o u s p h ell o m e no ll of 'Rash mohs' s t a n d fo r t h e ae �. mass performances in stadiums. because it is the letter ." i n g w i t h lll l t i t i pic (d i s ) i d ell t i fi Cl t i o n s and l a tera l cOll nect i o n s su hvcrt i n g t h c e S l :l h l i shcd . etc. The ' had ' bod ily d iscip l i ne. all t hese elements a rc 'ex-apted' by F as c i s m I n other words. we say strictly not h ing. A long the same l ines.it was Nazism that stoic them and appropriated them from the workers' movement. a nd the for ma list theoretician Viktor Sh klovski noted that 'some k i nd of elemental p rocess is taki ng place where the l iving fabric of l ife is being transformed i nto the theatrical '. rather. throughout o ne of the bloodiest and most brutal revolutions. we j ust express a vague association wh ich masks our ignorance. there is n o 'Fascism avant la lettre'. a n d t h e n d i sperse aga i n . if one also fi nds this i n Social ism. t h e i r bodies ? Sponta neity a n d t h e ' let it go' attitude o f i ndulging i n excessive freedoms belong to those who have the means to a Hord it .1Cc wh i c h abou n d s with po. the very prototype of i d e ologic a l l ibera lism. When we say t hat the organ i zed spectacle of thousands of bodies (or.h owever. So when. So. in h is pass i o n a te a d voc acv of t h e . N o r ro 111 e n t i o n . S uch a procedure. m isses the point: not only are such mass performances not i nherently Fascist. reduced to its m i n i ma l fra m e ? Peo p l e s how u p at an a s s i gn e d pla c e at a c e r t a i n t i me. A contemporary commented on the performance: 'The future h istorian w i l l rccord how. . one i m mediately draws the conclusion about a 'deeper sol ida r ity' between the two ' totalitarian isms'.

t h e s i ngu l a r i ty of :l r t en ters i n to an i n term i n able con trad iction due to t h e hct th . DJ 2 1 . 1 20 . H owever.1. R R . 4. La Fable cinematographique . R C. the egal i ta r i a n regime of the sensible can only isolate art's speci ficity a t t h e expense of l os i n g i t . pol itics.c Philosopher (/nr/ His 1'001' a nd s ll b j ecri\' i za t i o n ' 5 51' 1 '1' 1' \X!. 43-52.' s ' ' \.l t t h e aesthetic regimc also cal l s i n to (l ues ti o n t h e very d i sti n cti o n b e tween ar t and oth . S i nce the m ajority of the terms defi ned are speCIfic to RanClere s most recen t publications.\ f( Y O F T F C I I 0J 1 C \ 1 . most of t he references are to the body nt work he h as produced s i nee approxi mately 1 99 0 . and the i m 11l:1nence of m e an i n g In t h l tl gs themselves.\ .4 . the i n �i i th:.)3 : FC 1 4 . Bv ' p ro m o t i n g t h e equality of re p r es e n t e d s u h j ects. i n c l u di n g the p r i v i l ege o f s p ee ch over v is i h i l i ty as wel l a s t h c h ierarchv o f the . LO S S . resituate these techn ical terms J t1 the precise t heoretical nctworks rhat e ndow them with specific mean i ngs.l A 'Literature.ucr A ppendix I Glossary of Technical Terms The fol lowing defi n itions a i m less at establ i s h i n g a systematic lex icon for Ranciere's work than at p rovidi ng pragm atic i nd icati o ns to help orient the reader i n a un ique conceptual and termi n ologi � al fra mework. 1 2')-. For this reason. _ IS LA L PA M ML NH PA P. ident i fication. PA 2 2 --').\ 'Ten Ihl' Shor('s o(1'o/itics theses on po l i tics' septemhre et a p ri. th e i r s u b j e c t matter. i t has onlv co me to play a dOTnlna nr role i n the last two cen tu ries . '1. and t h e i r genres. .. which it identi ties with t h e pa rado � ical u n i ty of opposites: logos and pat h o s . -') . P M 1 7-3 0 . . the aesth etic regime destroys the system of ge nres and isol ates carr' in t h e s i n g u l a r.1 I"ts. aesthetics' 'Le malentendu l i rtcra i re' 1\1a!!arm/: La Po!itirfllc de fa sirh1C Thc IVarncs olHistO lJI Nota bene PhP PIS PM The Politics o(acstficlin ' ' Pol itics and aesthetics' ' Po l i tics.Trans.e Lrl Paro!e 117 1(ctll' On 11 T/.( . A m a rked privilege was given to texts ava i l able i n E ng� ish : although references to certain key publications i n French were 1 l1d lspensable. . some r �'k �­ e nces a re made to i mportant conceptual developments 1 11 Ra n C l e re s work that do not use the exact same tec h n ical vocabu l ary. . I F 2 5 -3 2 . L Pf\ . H()wevc �-. \\/. each defi n ition is accompan icd bv references to key passages i n R a nciere's corpus in order �o encour�: ge the reader to .) . as Vico and Cervantes. r activi ties. T F R \IS 01 H A5 IE 'H istory a nd the a rt s y s tem' L '1l7(Onsc1ent esthhiquc The 19nrml71t Sc/Joo!mrlst('1" La Lev'on d'Althll. Complete b ibliograph ical i n formation w i l l be found i n Append ix 2 .\/ h at aesthetics ca n mea n' Aesthetic Regi me of A rt ( fJc Regim e csthhiq uc de I'a rt) Abbreviations AT BP eM CO D DA Dr DME OW FC 'Thc archaeomodern turn' 'The cause of the other' Aux Bards du po/itique ( 1 9 9 R ed ition) La Chair des mots 'Is there a Deleuzia n aesthetics? ' ' D emocracy means equal i t y' ' Dissenting words' Disagreement: Politics (/rid Phi!osop/�)' Le Destin des images A lthough traces of t h i s re gi me arc al ready to h e t() l I n d i n s\lch a ur h o r:.1 R : H A S . The aestj l ctic regi me a b o l i shes the h i eLl l­ ch ical d istribution of the sensib k cha ractcristic of the representative regi m e of art. Strictly speaki ng. r(' n ce o f sty l e w i th regard to content.

l i n cd hm rat h e r a p resup-' Com m u n ity of Equals (La C0l111111111/11Ife des egaux) fo r m a t i o n s i n c e t h e lo g i c o f i n eC]u a l i ty i s i n h er e l l t i n th > so c i a l ho n d o /\ c o m m u n i t y o f e q ual s is t herefore a p r eca r i o u s c o m mu n i r y t h a t i m p le ­ ments e q u a l it y i n i n t er m i t te n t acts of' ema ncipation .1 4 . the aesthetic u nc o n ­ scious is paradoxically polarized between the two extremes that characterize silent speech. LPA. 76-7.1 Consensus ( L e Consensus) Prior I I Aesthetics (L'Esthetique) co m m u n i t y 's rlrrl7l.1 .H c a n ncver i n flct l ead to t h e e s t a h l i s h m e n t of a ll q. The aesthetic revolution i n the sensible order d id not. WA. and thought.\ spec i fi c . a n d a c t i o n . OW. LPA 9-1 2 . 30-7. this 'silent revolution' tra nsformed an organ ized set of relation­ ships between the visible and the i nv isible. On the one hand. TTP. 70-1 . however. IE 25-33 . 0 61 -93. By abol ish i ng d issensus a n d placi ng a han on po l i t i c a l subjectivization.me m p t to e s r a h l i s h a co m mu n i t y hased on t h e i nt e g r. I n its broad sense. aesthetics refers to the distribution of the sensible that determines a mode of articulation between forms of action. It is. More s p c c i fl c a l l y.. perception. activity and pa s s i v i t y. Aesthetics is properly speaking a speci fic regi me for identi fying and thin king the arts that R a nciere n ames the aesthetic regim e of art. LPA 20. aesthetics refers n e ither to art theory in general nor to the discipli ne that takes art as its object of study. PA 26-8. I n its restricted sense. This contradictory conjunction between s pee ch a n d silence. can he i ncorporated i n to a pol i t i c a l order a nd raken i nto accou nt. Democracy i s t h u s f:J i�cly identified w h e n i t i s a s s ocia t ed with t h e c o n s e n s u a l sel t�reg u la t ion o r police order a for m of gove rn m e n t n or a s t v l e of soc i a l l i fe . BP 1 37-8 . PaA 205-6 .f is to be t(ll i llcl i ll P l a to 's . 1 3 5 .l t t.IS . the perceptible and the i mperceptible. 1 3 . k nowledge and action. lead to the death of the representative regime. The a c t i vi t i es of i n d i v i d l tal ci t i zc n s a rc regu l a red i n rcb r i oll rn rheir ro le i n r he o rg . however.1 i for m . PA 1 0. PM 5-30. a p r c s u p posi t i o n r h . \ n s(lc i .82 By G L O S S A RY O F T E C H N I CAL T E R M S C LO S S A RY OF T FC l I N I CA L T E RM S Aesthetic Revolution (La Revolution esthhique) calling i nto question the representative regim e of art i n the n ame of the aesthetic regime around the begi n ning of the n i neteenth century.po l i t i c s . a pa r t i cu l a r W. D A . cOll s e n s m is . o n e of t h e t h ree m a j or rypes (. DI 84-5. � H A S . an u n fathomable si lence that no vo i c e ca n adequately render acts as an i nsurmountable obstacle to s i gnificat io n and m ea n ing. a l i ta r i . t h ou gh t . I E 4 1-2.1 wa\" t lu l cveryone h a s a de s ig n a ted place a nd a n a s s i g n e d [ok. d e m oc racv i s ' L spcaki n g a n act or pol i t i ca l subjectivization t h a t d i stu r b s t h e .1 Neither n a re s properly by pole m i c a l lv ca l l i ng i n to q u es t io n t h e a e s t h e t i c coord i ­ or perception. Democracy ( La Democratie) reg i m e o f t h e s e n s i h l e . D 57-9.l n i za r ioll of the cOlll m u n a l bod :' i ll s u c h .d m a ll i Cc s Ll r ioll of i rs !ogo" i ll lll a te r i .\ i A com m u n i ty of eq u a l s i s not a go:! 1 to he . I I Aesthetic Unconscious (L'Inconscient esthhique) po s i r i o n t h a t is i n co m t a n t n eed nf ver i fi c a t i o n . O n the other h and. TTP. consenSllS reduces politics to t h e police. mea n i n g is i ns cribed l i ke h ieroglyphics on the body of t h ings and waits to be d e c i p h e red. in tact. SP 63-92 . IS 7 1 -. . T h e d cm o cr.1 4 0 . PhP. O n the contrary. Coextensive with the aesthetic regime of art. o f a rch i . conse n su s is the presuppos i t i o n accord ing to wh i c h every p a r t o f a popu b t i o n . T h is general defi n ition cnemis aesthetics beyond the strict realm of art to i nclude the conceptual coord i nates and modes of visibil ity operative i n the pol itical dom a i n . al o ll g with a l l of its speci fic p ro ble m s . the h i storical terra i n upon whi ch competing conceptions of the u nconscious h ave emerged . OW 1 1 7-26 . S . H A S . I E 1 2.\y o r pos i t i n g r t g ht� to bei n g p h t for m t()r ra t i o n a l d ehar'c.l t i l con fi g u r at i o n of politics i s t h ereby rep la c e d b y t h e police order of a l iving nomos that s a tu rates the entire c o m m u n i ty a nd precludes any breaks in the social ed i fi ce. production. A rchi-Politics (L'Archi-politique) T h e p rototype political p h i l osophy. 1 18-22. 0 9 5 . i s not equivalent to the F reud ian unconscious or other later i n terpretations. logos and pathos.. it introduced a n i rresolvable contradiction between diverse elements of the repre­ sentative and aesthetic regimes of art. M 53 .

D M E . PA 1 2. o f e xc l u s i o n . 57. or 'citizens' . j u d ge m e n r b u t t o whar i. the dim os. as O c c a s i o n a l l y t r ans l a t e d D i stribution of the Sen sible ( Le Partage rlu sensible) dl! scmibie r e fe r s to r h e worl d Iw fi r s t c S Ll h l i s h i n g r h e m o d e s o f l'lTc c p r i n n w i r h i n w h i c h r h a r p :nc e l s O l l r p l a c e s a n d fo r m s o f p a r r i c i p :l t i o n i n t h e ' p a rr i r i o n of t h e s c n s i h l e ' . TT P. th e d i st u rb a n ce o f t h e police d is t r i b u r i o n o r th e semible h y r h e subjectivization of r h o s t" D s tu di e d rhe re l a t i on s h i p between rhe pol i ce. 1 24 -5 . DME 35.i nterchangeably with 'the people' to refer to those who have no share i n t he communal distribution of the sensible. Whereas la meconnaissance ( lack of comprehension) and Ie mafentendu (misunderstanding) produce obstacles to l itigation that are . D vii-xii i . it is the force of commu nal d ivision that cont ravenes the ochlos' obsession with u n i fication. the comprehensible from the i ncomprehensible.\s d i s r i ll C f U n l i ke juridicai d isp u res . LPA.1 6 . N H 88-103.1 5. :I n d politics. PA 14. It can be said to exist o n ly when those who h ave no title to power. w h ic h t a k e p l a c e w i t h i n t h e that spl i ts proper i n to ex i sre n ce b y i n t wo t h e s h a red wOI"ld subject. \\T I I :1 5 w h . t h o \ 1g h t .rell cc of pnl itics .surmountable. DW 1 1 3. i n tlCt.1 07. :I n d :I c t i o n w i t h t h e ' i n ad m i ss i hle'.l p p r e h c n d c d what s h ow. Disagreement (La Mesentente) BP 1 2 8 -47.not to b e confused with a commu nitarian soci a l formation . ft i s a pol i t i c a l process r h ar res i s rs j \ 1 r i di cI I l i r i garion :1 I1d crea res : 1 h s s ll re i n r h e sen s i b l e order hv c on from i n g t h e esta h l i s h nl fra mework of perception. M L. 53-8 . TTP. the visible from the i nvisible. 95-1 2 1 . 'plebeians'. II' jif/r/flg(' i m p l i c i r law gover n i n g t h e s e n s i h l e o rci n . e. T h e demos is thus simultaneously the name of a commu n ity and the title sign i Fying the d ivision of a com mun ity due to a wrong.1ble of t he co m m u n i t v. A d i ss en s u s i s n o r . DW 1 23-6 . S r r i c t l v s p ea k i n g . or d o n e . Ranciere i so l a tes a fundamental d iscord t h at results from con A icts over the d istribution of the sensible.()(). PM 8 1 -9 . good s e n se o r prlrtrlgcs d1l 5cmiblc: t he eth i cal regi m e o f i m a ges . CM 1 26-7. TTP.cd on r h e t h e s e :1 I"e i ns cr i lw c\ . 43-60 .is expressed i n adversarial terms and coal it ion o n ly occurs i n con A ict. I n t h e lwl i t i c :d d o m a i n . ie litigc poiitiqlll' bri n gs politics d issensns i\ poiitical dispute concerns the very e x i . :1 11<1 the aesthetic regi m e of a rt. D 6 1-2. r h o\1 g h r . 3 1 -6. H re l o \' er p e rso n a l i n rerests or 0p111 10ns. Demos (Le Dimos) D i spute (Le Litige) from rhe police. TTP. ' d i s t r l b \ 1 t l o n ' h y t h e s e n s es .84 G L O S S A RY O F TECH N I C A L T E R M S (.mea ni n g 'the commons'. It is. less a state of being than an act of contention that i mplements variolls forms of dissensus. T T P. H i\ S . T h e cl i .U . D M E 3 1-2 . M L. R a n c i crc h :1 s a n a l\'sed . i n tervene as t he d ivid ing force that d i s rupts the ochios.J q U . B P 7-1 5 .<. :1 rocI I · who h ave n o p a rt i n i t . to he s:l id . A case of d isagreement arises when the pere n n ia l persistence of a wrong enters i nto conBict with the establ ished police order a n d resists the forms of juridical l it igation t h at are i mposed on it. PIS . i . . \'VA . t c m of s e l f. DW 1 23-6. It is the u n i que power of assembli n g and d ivid i ng that exceeds all of the arrangements made by legisl ators. fa mesentcnte is a conA ict over what is meant by 'to speak' and 'to u nderstand' as well as over rhe horizons of percept ion that distinguish the audible from t he i naudible. h e h :1 s I n r h e real m o f aesthetics.6 .at least i n theory . L O S S A RY Of' TEC II N ICAL T F R � I S R 'i the multitude or with the reign of a sovereign collectivity based on subordin ating the particular to the u n iversal. o f ((11 1 r s e . i n t ro d u c i n g a verit. rlistlii'torJ o r c:t p a h l c o f b e i n g . DW 1 23-6. r r i hur i o t1 ( I f t h e s c m i hl c r h m p ro c\ I I C l"S :1 s cr h o r i zo l 1 s T h e ' s e nsih l e ' . police ord er. BP 1 2R-47. r h e representative regi m e of a rt. Prior to l inguistic or cultural m isunderstanding. CM 1 26-7. 39. a p o l i t i c a l D issen sus ( Le Dissensus) Ranciere uses t h is G reek term . d o e s n o r re F er t h e re fo re refers h o r h t o fo r m s o f i n c l \1 s i o n a n d t o fo r m e.n C1 n s v. 4 2-'i . h rec d i fferc n t i z i n g acco u n t o f r h e pop u la r i o n . 111 :)( \ e .I C 0 1ll ll H l i l :l n cl m o cb l i t i e s o f wh :l r i s v i s i h l e :I n < l :1\ 1 d i h k :1<.n' i d e n r f:1 C r s o f p ncq) r i o n h:1e. SP 3 1 . I f a community can be referred to as democratic. D 61-5. S P 20-3. it is only i n sofar as i t i s a 'commu nity of sharing' (communaute du partagr) i n which membership i n a common world .

t L e m e rged a ro u nd the hl'gi n n i n <' o f the n i nCl"ce n t h l e tl t\ I I' I ' c oe x te n s i v e w i t h t h e aestll etic . eM 1 94-5 . h i I i t i cs t 1 1 . strictly spea k i n g . i.1 . In other word s. i mitations model led on the ' t ru t h ' whose fin a l aim i s to educate the citizenry in accord a nce with the d istribution of occu pa­ tions in the com m u n i ty. Literat u re ( Ln Litthtlture) l i teratu re A s a s pe c i fi c fl1rlll o f a r r i s t i c p rod u c t i oll d i . 99.l ter m w.e. i. It i s . SP 45-52 . em e rges out of 1'v'1arx's c r i t i que of the distance se p a ra t i n g t h e dllh i (ll l s pretences of rights a n d repres e n t a t ion from the h a rd t nI t h of soci a l r eali t y. the e t h ical regime separates a rtistic s i m u lacra from the true a r ts. B y t re a t i ng a wrong.) s ex i s te n cc t h e aest h et i c re i m e of :l rt . IS 1 0 1 -39. i i t n. the introduction of a 'proper-improper' that chal lenges the police order. Si nce this verifi cation is necessarily interm i r tent and precarious.86 GLOSSARY O F T E C H NICAL T E RM S C LO S S A R Y O F rFC H N I C A \ r'FR M S 0(' ( Neither the teleological e nd of a political project nor a state of social l iberation.() O . Rancie re's conception of equal i t y must not be confused with t h e a r i t hmetical d istribution of r i g h ts an d representation.) . Meta-Politics (La Mha-politiqlle) Meta-pol itics. I t i s a u n i q u c l o g i C o f o r :1 p u r e l v su b j e c t i n' c1tq�o r\' t h . wo rk s of a rt based on i n d i v i c\ u . e q u a l ity n o netheless rema i ns u ndetermined i n its content a nd lacks an a priori fou ndation . The essence of equa l i ty is not to be fo u n d i n a n equitable u n i fication o f i n te rests but i n t h e acts o f subjectivization that undo the supposedl y natural order of the sensible.] ! (' \ ' C l l ll' nf l i tcl'atll re rn v. I I {)\\'('\'('r. Ill t l c h g Illn rL' r l Ll 11 . ow.l t i .� :l n d t h e a p pe a l tn . Ethical Regime of Images (Le Regime hhique des images) Equality (L'Egalite l Emancipation (L'Emanci pation) Litera rity (Ln Utthnritei se n s i h l e . . Bv n o s i t i n g tilt' i nd i flerencc o f fo rm w i t h re b :l I' d to co n te nt a n d . A lthough t h e eth ical regi me p red ates t h e representative and aesthetic regimes of art. the logic of emancipation is i n fact a heterology. Its paradigmatic formu l ation was provided by Plato. one of the t il ree pri n c ipa l for m s of pol itical ph i losophy.:vo i u tion r ! u r h ro l i giH i !' I ll a h : l n d o ns t h e fr:l fllC\vork o f recogn i t i o n . P M 5 .lt l l re i:. P A 52-4. ii 9 . S P 3 1-6. 1 79-2()3 .I ii . % . 0 82-3 . LPA .1 1 s e ns i hi l i t ies. I)A Y J . P M 8 1 -5. PhP. Dr 1 27-8 .1 (J-40. l J11 -J() .y o t h e r f(1r111 the of d i scou rsc. the process of emancipation consists i n the po le m i c a l veri fi ­ cation of equality.8 : :-\ I! 4 2 . who established a rigorous d istribution of i mages . D\X/ 1 1 "i .5 / . w h i ch m i gh t be refe rred to :IS t l l C democra t i c reg i m e of the 'orphan letter'. i t h as by no means disappea red in modern times. wl �ere writ i n g freely c i rcu btes w i t h o ut � l e g i t i ­ m a t i ng system and t he re by u ndcrm incs the sensihle coord i n a te.H wh ich l i te ra t u re as such is no l o n 'ger d i scern i h l e from a n .'> . PM "i .' g i nca r n a t i o n of t r ut h i n the word m ad e fl es h .l n c! . OME. ( 1 \ 1 .cd to q u . \ l' \ '. AT. 5 (J -() ."stenl I ) f 1' ( 1S'I­ a s wel l as the cod l's a ll d h i er .e. of Illill!i'I'is :lt t he e x p e n se o f e n t er ing i nto i t s own i nr e r m i l1 a h 1c cont rad i c t i o n he t\\'cell t w o fl) r m S o f wri t i n : the ' o r pha n l e t t e r ' o f d e m o c ra t i c I iter:l rity a n d t h e g l o ri o l l . t i nc t from �l nd W . the presupposit ion d iscernible in the polem i c a l recon figurations of the p o l i ce d i s tribu tion of t h e s ensible.\ e M 1 1 5-')() . TTP. A lthough it is the o n ly u niversal axiom of p o l i t i c s . B P 1 2 8-47. eM 14 . LPA. I l H' ! H les /}('//n-/f'ttJ'I '(.1 s i m pl e m o d e o f . l iter a t u re reje c ts t h c p oe t i c .1 03 . . 42-3 . I S 45 -73 . L PA. By arranging i mages accord i ng to t h e i r origin (the model copied) and their end or purpose (the uses they a re put to and the effects t hey p roduce) .d i h' t h e e t c I' ll .in relationship to the ethos of t h e co m mu n i ty. political subj ects t ransfo r m the aesthetic coord i n .l /f . 0 3 1 -5 .4 0 . 80-9 1 .1 .1l'l' l icd L i tcLn i n' IS n n t . PIS. tv! 1 0.l rc h i ('s o f t h e representat i ve re i m e o f g <' a rt. L i t erar i t y i s t h u s at onc a n d the s a nw g t i m e literatu re's con d i t i o n of p oss i h il i t y a nd t h e pa r:ldox i c a l l i m i t . + 1 (i(i-7(i. P I S . PA 5 1 -8 .'> of the representative re i m e of art. N H 5 2 .n . 1 ".)ngllage.9 .1 tes o f t h e commu nity i n o rder t o i m plement t h e o n l y u n iversal i n pol i t i cs : we are a l l equ a l . PA 20-1. 1 4 1 . .not to be con fused with 'art' . ii l . I t t h ereby mci l 1 ates h etweel1 tvvo e x t remes: t h e COn d C Ill I1 :l t i O Il of t h e id e o l og i c a l i l l us i o n s or pa ra-politic.] ( replacing r h e m i me t i c pri n c i p l e of fi c t io n w i t h r h e ex p rcss ive power of I .nhi t Ll 1' i h. BP 1 4 1 -2 .nr i s t i c p rod l l c t i n n : i t i .

BP 7. TTP. PIS .tiqllr). making. As a t the expense of excludi n g t h e demos. They a re the u n accou nted for a n d demand a red istribution of the sensible order. t here a re nonetheless D 6 1 -93 . doi ng. econom i c . t h e sayable th e gen er a l law that determ i nes the d istrihution or parts a n d role. Police or Police Order Ochlos (L'Okhlos) Ranciere uses t h i s G reek term mea n i n g 'a t h rong of people' o r ' t h e mult itude' to refe r to a com m u n ity ohsessed with its own u n i fi ca t i o n . LA. Partition of the Sensible (Le Pl1rtage du sensible) sec better and worse forms of pol ice. depend i n g on the extent to wh ich the establ ished order rema i n s open to breaches in its 'natura l ' logic.1 1 l cl orcmost a n or a n ization of ' hod ies' h .1 5 . is not repression hut rather a cert a i n distribution of the sensible t h a t p re cl ude'. pol i t ical. S 4 0 . masks the fac t that the equality of the demos c a n never be adequately accou nted for w it h i n t h e police order. The Political ( Le Politique) A l though R a n c i i. PhP. BP 90. OW. w i t h i n t he police order.' IT does n o t m :l i n ta i n :1 strict t e r m i n o l o gica d is t i n c t i o n he oft e l l :l Ild t h e pol i tical betwee l politics (117 hctweell politics . the aud ible and the i n au d i ble.1 . D ispute The s tu d y o f the l it e r a r y p rocedures b y wh i ch a p a r t i c u l a r fo rm o f k nowledge e s t ab l i s hes i ts el f a s a scient i fic d iscourse (as w a s t h e c a s e . Political Dispute (Le Litige politique) ser eM 1 26-7. OW 1 1 '). ML 40-1 . This term should not be confused with La bassf po/irf or the low-level police force that the word com monly refers to i n both French and English. i n a com mu n ity as wel l as i rs forms of exclusion.1 role with i n t h e socia l ed ifice. h i s tory. the emergence of politics. The essence of the pol ice. cl assi fi cH i o n . modern theories of sovereignty a nd the para-pol i t i c a l t rad i tion of of the sensible. 9 8 -9 . para-pol i tics is the result of Aristotle's attemp t to square the c i rcle by i n tegrati n g t h e egalitar i a n a n archy of t h e demos i n to t h e cOl1 s t i tutional order of the police. i.. PIS. the police is fi rst .1 . as n atural as i t may see m to social contract theory. OW 1 17-20 . 2 3 . the pol i t i ca l i s t h e terr:l i n upon w h i ch the wri fi ­ ca t i o n of equ ality confronts t h e es u b l i s h c d ord er o f i d e n t i f-i ca t i o n . PhP. or ontologica l t ivity. 0 2 1 -4 2 .88 GLOS S A RY O F T E C H NI C A L T E R M S G L O S SARY OF TECHNICAL TFRMS 89 com munal i ncarnation of soci a l t ruth that i s strictly h omologou s w i t h archi-politics. with sociol ogy. t h e political subjects t h a t d isclose a wro n g BP 7-1 5 . thereic)re.e. The 'people' a re the political subjects of democracy that supplement the police accou n t of the popu l a t i o n a nd d i splace" the establi s h e d categories of identi fi cation . Para-Politics (La Para-politique) One of the t h ree k i nds of political philosophy. La bassc police is only one particu lar i nstantiation of an overa l l d istribution of the sensible t h a t purports to provide a tota l i z i ng accou n t of the popu lation b y assign i n g everyonc a t i t l e a n d . 0 6 1 -93 . OW. PIS . in the n i n e t ee n t h c e n tu r y.l I1d ro l (/(' po.1 n<l t h e d is t i n gu i s h cs t h e I :Htcr as the m ecl i n g g u n d Distribution of the Sensible People (Le Peuple) T h i s term i s n o t used as a soc i a l .uio\ls l . N H 8-9. TTP. SP 3 1 -6 .. T h i s m i metic transformation o f t h e demos i nto one of the p arties of political l itigation. 6 1 -2 . C O . a system or co oni i m tes dcfi n i n g modes of bei ng. � po/itiqllc) category refe r r i n g to a n i d en t i fi able group or a pre-co n s t i tuted col lec­ police. and comm u n icat i ng that establ ishes the borders between the visible and the invisible.1 s ed Oil a com m u n a l d istrihution f ( LI1 Police or L'Ordre policier) g and the unsayable. and po l it i c a l s c i e n ce) . T h i s b ei ng the case. D 22-3. S P 3 1 -6.1 6 . i ll v.ell S e . T n th is . Poetics of Knowledge (La Poetique du savoir) Political Philosophy R a n c i cre h as outl i ned t h ree fo r m s of po l i t i c a p h i l osophy t h a t e s tah l i s h (LI1 Philosophie politique) a proper mode of pol i r ical a cti i v ty :l n d I l l c rc lw d i s s ol v e . 6 1 -5 .

u s . OW 1 1 7-20 . Regimes of A rt ( Les Regim es de tart) I n b ro a d term s . 35-. DI 20-1 . 2 1 -4 2 . si lenr is t h e c o n t r :H l i cto r y con j u n c r i o n he tweell t wo e l e m e llts or .1 . ways. PA 2 1 --2.l t . BP 7-1 5 . NH 88-9 5 (democratic subject). the representative regi me of art.1 1' : I.l bli sh . rel i gir. 5 4 0. \VA .1'('(' D istrihuti o n of t h e S e n s i hle S i l ent Speech ( La Parole murtte) s pe e c h A s o n e of t h e cemLl l fea t ure s of t h e aesth etic regi m e of art. D M E . and whose only common characteristic is a n e m p t y operator: dissensus. a n d ways of conceptu a l i z i n g both the fo r m e r a n d t h e Lurer. the con flict between pol itics and the and meta-pol itics. OW 1 1 5-16. I f politics has no proper place or predefined subjects for Ranciere. o vii-x i i i .l lld vi s i h l e i m agery t h a t s u p p l e m e l l ts i t . political subjects bring politics proper i n to existence and con front the police order with the h eterology of emancipation. 1 2 5 -5. I n h is m o st i m ages.1 5 :lCt t h a t p r i v i l e ges I a n gl L1 ge over t he IF the The paradoxical identification of democracy with a consensual practice t h at suppresses political subjectivization. I\ lso referred to as the 'poetic reg i me of a rt . h e h a s i mrod u c e d t h e t e r m to m o d e o f a r t i c u l atioll he tween r h e v i s i hle a n d regi me of art.l t d e fi ll e t h e a rt s ' proper f'o r m s : t h e h ie r. 0 v i i-x i i i. C M 1 1'0-1 .l rts from t h e mora l . D M E 3 1-3 . Pol itics is a n a n a rch i ca l process of emancipation that opposes the logic of disagreement to t h e logic o f the police. SP 3 1-6. fro m o t h er tec h n i q ues and mocks of pro d u c t i on .3 : PI\1 1 7-50. a nd the aesthetic regi m e R. t h e reprcsen tat J" c rq�l Jl1t' em erged Ollt of A ri stotle's c r i t i qu e of Phro a n d es t a b l i s he d a s e r i e s o f a x i o m s t h a t vvere evcn t u . A political subject is neither a political lobby nor an i ndividual who seeks adequate representation for his or her i nterests and ideas.I � • a s e r i es of a x io m s th . The (Le SensiMe) . Rather u t h a n r C ll rod u ci n b rea l i tv.() .\.) : F C 1 4 . q u a i m i t a t i o n s . By d e fi n i n g a nel the essence of POi/iSis as t h e fI ction a l i m i t a t io n of a c t i o n s isolati ng a s p ec i fic d o m .I . TTP. LP. howeve r.] i n f o r fI ct i o n t h e representa t ive regi m e d id n o t . I n its s t r i c t s e ns e. T h e essence of politics thus re s i d e s i n acts of subjectivization that separate society from itsel f by c h a l l e n g i n g the 'natural order of bodies' in the name of equality and polemically reconfiguring the distribution o f t h e sensible. P a A .i m pl e regi me o f rcse mbh n e c . i m age regi me' or ' i magi n g regi me') to re fe r recent work. 1 23 . 1 26-7. .\ S : 2 1 -5. PIS.90 GLOS SARY O F T E C H N ICAL T E R M S C J . es t .l tecl t h e . Political Subject (Le Su jet politique) police: arch i-politics. a n d soc i a l c r i te r i a of t h e ethical regi m e of i m ages a nd sep. pro p n gen re. p o l itics only exists i n i ntermittent acts of i m pl eme nt a ti o n t h a t l a ck a ny overall principle or law. rep resc n t e d .1 7.1 . 6 1 -93. T h e ' Representative Regi me of A rt (Le Regim e rep risentat�f de lin·t) Politics (La Politique) ' represen t a t i ve regime l i bcr. the i d e a l of speech . t h e i r correspo n d i n g for m s of v i s i h i l i t y.Hb prs to fo rm s of exprcss ion a nd . However. this does not mean that everyth i ng is political. OW. 61 -5. PIS .l g iven the r<rz. 1 2(). and pol itical subjects forever remain precarious figures that hesitate at the borders of silence m a i n tained by the police. of a r t . W i . Thro u g h the process of subjectivization. o 35-42. the s ayab l e w it h i n . 4 . WA 1 6. :l n d s u h j e c t m a t tn. 5 8 -9. 4()-5 0 . TTP.irlle speci fic DI C)-YJ . d l v cod i fied i n t h e C l a s s i c a l t\ gc. It is an empty operator that produces cases of political dispute by ch a l len g i ng the establ ished framework of identification and classification. the man i festation of politics only occurs via specific acts of i m plementation.S . the pr i n c i p le of a p p n ) p ri a tc il ess r h . TTP.nchv o f l�en re. a re g i me of a r t is a m o d e of art icu b t i o n hetween t h ree t h i ngs : ways o f d o i n g and m a k i n g .l Lned t h e l-i ne arts. l c t i o l l t o t h c s u h j ec t .\ L T F R M S para-politics. Post-Democracy (La Post-democratie) Sensible.l t1 c i e re h a s p rov i d ed deta i l ed accou n r s of t h e eth ical regi m e of d 'irnaght({ ( . if 5 -5 2 . 0 95-140.OSSARY O f ' TFC T l N I C. 56. works w i t h i n rhe re fllTSenLl t i ve reg i m c nhc\' t .

D I 2 1-2 .e . t n ' c m hod ied d i sco l l rse' a s t h e' i !l CH l l .4 2 . na mes that i nadequately refer to the a no nymous multitude that has no tirle in the police order. 1 15-%: Wrong (Le T ort) A Subject Political Subject A lternately translated as 'subject i fication' or 'subjectivation'. 6 1 -. On the one hand. By treati ng a wrong a nd attempting to i m plement equality. It is a specific distribution of the sensible that replaces the representative regime's ideal of living speech with a paradoxical form of expression that u ndermi nes the legitimate order of d iscourse. h o\\'. i. U ii --() : PI S . D 3-6.from a bu i l d i ng's fac. TTP. that is to say subjects who remain u nidentifiable i n the given field of experi e n ce and necessitate ' in audible' modes of enunciation such as: 'We a rc a l l German Jews ! '. t h a t r econ ­ Wri t i ng is not s i mply a sequence of typographic signs whose printed for m is d istinct from oral communication.s h. However.()O : P a .I OO.:ade to a wom a n's face . pol itical s lI bj e c t iv i ­ zation creates a common locus of d ispute over those who have no pa rt i n the established order. \Xlr i t l n )2 i s conseq u e n th' c :l l I g h t i n :1 c()rH i n ll �1 1 con fl ict b e tween democr a t i c litera rity :lTld t il e d es i re r ( l e s t a hl i s h :1 .C1O : Pi\ 'i2. PIS . eM 7 1 -2. Writing (L'Ecriture) Subjectivization (La Sub jectivation) wrong i s a speci fic form of e q u a lity that estab l i s hes t h e 'on k u n ive rs a l ' of politics as a polem i c a l p o i nt of . 5 8 -9. see �1I1d s p e a k s to a n yone a n d nTr Y O Il C prcC l s c l v be Cl u s C' it h :1 s flO l i \' i n )2 logos to d i recr it. thus. i t s e l f tn t h e :l t t c l l l p t t o e. fa subjec­ tivation is the process by which a political subject extracts itself from the domi nant categories of identification and classi fication. the very act of ident i fying these political subjects necessarily has recourse to m isnomers. In one respect.\ 2() ') . writing i s the silent speech of democratic literarity whose 'orphan letter' freely ci rcu iares . DW 1 1 5 .1 6 . IE 4 2 .92 G L O S S A RY O F T E C H N I C A L T E R M S this regime. PM. mean i n g is taken to be i m manent in things themselves and. w r i t i n g l c n d '.takes on a voice of its own. 1 3. everythi ng . m i ned p :l rt i e s a n d c a n n o t he resolved by j u r i d ic a l proced u res. This contradiction has given b i r t h to at least two m ajor forms of silent speech: t he latent mea n i ng beneath the h iero­ glyphic surface of written signs and the brute presence or punctum that remains a deaf and silent obstacle to all forms of signi fication.H i o n n i t h e t r u t h o f a c O lll tll u n i ty.tmgt-Ie by re h t i ll t­ the m a n i fe s ta t i o n of political subjects to t h e police order. A t t h e s a lll l' t i lll c .'\ t'!. I E Y1-It 2 : N H 'i () . On the other h a n d . U n l i ke j u ri d i c a l l it i g a t i o n . R I . a w ro n g d ocs nor. 2 1 -4 2 . 7ii-RO.s t a b l i s h . D M E 3 1 -3 . D 35 . . n i l' w r i t i n g of t h e word m :l d c Ae. occu r h e tween d e t e r . 1 26-7.'i : PM 1 /1 .\ \\TOtl f'­ c a n o n l y he t re:Hed by modes or p o l i t i c a l su bj ectivization fi g u re t h e fi e l d of experience. t h er efore. t h e mute t h ings of t h e world o n ly begi n t o speak i f s o m eo n e deciphers their latent meani n g and speaks for them (otherwise they rem a i n completely s ilent).). however. The logic of subjectivization is therefore based on the i mpossi ble ident i fication of pol itical subjects.

trans. D :lVi d e P a n a g i a . e k . 267-9 1 . 1 997. D ur h a m . Pa r i s : La Ll b r i q l l e Press. Lond o n : Verso. in Thr !r:Iel1li�)' in Ql!tstion. 'Ten t heses o n pol i t i cs'. 1 ()'l "i . 1 9() 4 . O([o/Ja 0 1 ( S u m m e r 1 () ()2) : S 8 . D isrlgra1l1cn t: PO/ltics allfl fJ. Critical Inquiry 3 0 : 2 ( \Xii mer 20(4 ) : La Nuit des p rolhaircs: A rchives du rClJe oUlJricr. TIlt /Vf/l IJ(" r:nrcword h y H ayden \ h i t c . The Ignorant Scho o/master: Fille Lessons in Intellectual Emflilcipation.air ril'S r!lots: Po/ilirf/lts (/(' ( 'laili/re. O n thc S/J07'I'S r. [ n r roduetion by E d i t i o ns.()Ij . Pa r i s : Ed i t i o m el u S eu i ! . t r a i l s .. 1 99 2 [ s u h s e q u e n r ed i r i o n s : rcs /\101171' dc ( '. Donald Reid. a n d L o ndon : U n i versity of M i n nesota Press. .('1 . t ra n s . 1 () <) R . a long with a t ranslation of t h c 'A fte rwo rd ' from February 1 973. T h is 78-82: t h e o t her'. 1 9 89. Ideology. i de n t i fi ea t i o l1 . C a b r i c l R o ck h i l l . o( flistor). rra n :-. E d .: O n tj. Borris . Andrew Parker. Cori n ne O s tcr. i n Radical Philosophy 7 (Spr i n g 1 9 74 ) : 2-1 5 . 1 ')96.1 3 . Tcrry E a gl e ton .. Lr l)rlro/c nl llettf': FSSfli s u r L e Prl rtrlFJ' In'" crJlltradicliom ric Iii /itt//'rl 1 1 1 7 '('. J o h n D r u ry. The introductory chapter to The Nights of Labor was prcvious l y p ri n ted with a ' Preface' by Jonathan Ree as ' P roletarian n i gh t s '.and o( t/'c Pcoplc. I ntroduc t i o n b y translation of the original critical essay. Ch:l rlotrc M a n d e l l . La Le(on d'A lthusser. Jil l i c M/s('1!tl'J1tl': Po /itiqlll' 1'1 phi/o (()pl'IC.ed u /jOlI rna I s l t h co r y_ a n d _cvc n t/rnc/ flJ1ri /:'lJl'7!1 The Fltsh ol'Xlorris: 7/1(' Po Iii ir's ol'l'(/ril ing./e: Esth hiq !i f' Kristin Ross.o n d o n : U n i \ c L. j h u . R o c k h i l l . Przrrd/flx New Yo rk a nd London : Ro utl ed ge . appeared as ' O n the theory of i d eolo gy (the politics of Althusser)'. Pa r i s : Lihra i ri e A rt h eme Fayard. t r a n s .' IIOJop /�v.l Tl f.f' S c ns i/. Eds Roy Edgley a n d R ic hard Osborne. A fte r wo rd by S l avoj Z i . Lon do n : Verso. The Philosopher fmd His Poor.c /)octirs or f(1I0 !{J/er(r:. 3 > < h t t p : // m u s c . dll . 1985. Pa r i s : La Fabrique E d i ti o n s . 2() 0 4 . P a r is : L � i t i o n s d l l -"eu i ! . Paris: Librairie A rt h c-rn e Faya rd. L o nd o n : Co n t i ll l l l. 1994. Paris: E ditions Ga l l i m ard . 2004. histoire (wi t h Jea n-Lo u i s Comol l i) . Thc fi rs t chapter o f t h i s work has been published as 'The order of the city'. a rch ive . : i't jJ o/i ti qll e.1 ns. P. 1 0 1-3 6 . VO)'fwes to 1/'1' l. M i n n C :l !. 1 99 8 .n i s : C. t r a n s . P a r i s : I:: d i t io n s O s i r i s . t r a ll S . Pa r i s : H ac h e t re Livre. t rans. t/.H m U O G R A P H Y O F P R I M A RY A N D S EC O N D A RY S O U R C E S 95 Gm rts V oyages all pays du p co/I/c. Kristin Ross. H aSS:l n rv1 elcfw. ' Pour memoi re: s u r h t h co r i e de l ' ideologie ( 1969)'. A uX' Bords w h ieh a rc aV:l i hhle i 11 Engl i s h : ' Pol i t i es .ons sur I 'emartcipation intellcctllcl/e. 1 99 1 . 1 974 . P.j :l m es n. Le Philosophe et se" prlulJres. A n E ng l i sh ra o f i'v1 i n nesot:l P ress. i n V Politics. Phi ladelphia: Temple University Press. John D rury.{ 2 () 0 3 . 1 ()() 0 . t r a n s . J n tr o d u e t i o n hv C :l h n c l . 2 0 0 0 . . C or i n ne Oster.l p f l l i . Noel Pa rker. trans. p u b l i s h ed in 1 99 2 i n cludcs a n u mbcr o f a d d i t i o n a l essa)'s .a Politiq u e de If! sirh1 e. 1 99 5 . (LlI1S. 1 99'). Hae hc tte Lirrerattlres. n nw or rev i sed a n d expa nded cd i t i o n of t h e work t h a t h ad o r i g i n a l l y heen po/itiqlll'. 'On t h e theory of ideology' was repri nted i n two works: Rrldiml Philosophy Reader. S r a n ford : . A rret W I' Mril/arrne: l. trans. h t m l # 5 .l l'i . ol i s :l n d l . 1 98 1 . 1 99 2 .iii p (Jlitifjl�c. 1Tl B o o k s .6 1 . . Slw!I Appendix II Bibliography ofPrimary (md Secondary Sources-iO Books A IIX Sta n fo rd U n i vers i t v Press. Pa r i s : Libra irie A rtheme Fayard. Thc Politics of A l'sthetics: The Distril mtlO rt of d1l semi/. Swe m o n .. 1\1 i n Ilt'. Stanford: S t a n fo r d Un ivers i t y P ress. S Ll ll fnrd : S r. 2004. 1 98 1 .� rcs A10ts dc l 'histoi7'c: Euai dc pohiiJllC d1l savoir. E d ./e. J o h n D r u r y. London : Longman Group U K Ltd . I ntroduction bv A n d rew Parker. ' T h e CHISC of 4 : 2 (Apri l 1(9 8 ) : 2 S -. rp t .I'. Le Maitre ignorant: Cinq Let. Rose. Thcory 1()9'). lrll U n ivcrsit \. Joh n Raleh m a n . The Nights of Labor: The W zen ' Drcrm! or/: in Nineteenth-Century Frrlnce. D av i d M acey.33 : r a ('J. L i z H eron . 1 4 1 .'IStOI. 1 9 8 7. ()1-72. NC: D u ke Un iversity P ress. 1 99 8 . A ndrew Parker. 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Ed.\ 1 1 in. 1975/1985. Ed. ( F )9 5 ) : 4 8-54 .1 8 0. Ranciere adapted th is article for an Engl ish version Linder the title ' How to use Lirc Ie Capital'. rpt. i n Ideology. lind Practice. hl(C Il / '/. E ditions. 1 989. Alain LI' Retrait W I" Ie Bad i o u : I 'c'tre et I ' evenement. R 9 .! . David M acey. trans. 1 ')9/i 2'j· � �'. trans. Vii' philos­ ophique. Paris: Maspero/La Decou ve rte : Saint-Denis: Presses Un iversita i res de Vincen nes. t r a n s . Albin M ichel. t ra n s . Bcrtolt Brecht. (. 2 0 -·7.. 2. 29-5(1 . A translation of the ent i re article is to be fou nd i n Ideology.1 6 : rpc i n \(. 23-44 : 45-94. tra n s . O rga nizatio n . Peter Con n o r. 1 9 8 9 . ' D i scoveri n g n e w worl d s : p ol i t i cs o f travel . Pa r i s : E d it ions de L' Herne. 3 1 7-. DaVid H . ( 1 ' j C) 2. 'Th� myt!1 of �he artisan: critical reRections on a category of soci a l h istory .l Cl a n d London : Cornel l rch aeotl1odern t u rn'. M ichael P. numbers o ne . I n terview with A nt o i n e d e lhecqu c.lI1d m c r ap l lO r's o f S P:1Cl" .ma 4 % I ' h i s to i re el u c i n e m a'. H o rl i ell a n d Cy nth i a J. A ngl'/ai<i 1 : :) ( 1 994): 1 7 1 -8 ." E d u a rdo Cad av. t r a n s . Paris: Franyois M a s p e ro. Af'tr'l" the SlIu/f'I'! .·xt ) l / .ll's r h " t l c s ? '. Paris: E d itions du Seuil. Pa r i s : . Press. 2 1 9-37. Qlli Ptlr/f'. New York and London: Routledge. Paris: f� d it i o n s G :l l i l e l'. H:2 (20()/f) . Socilll 7. 1 979. ' La representa t i o n de I 'ollvrier ou Ia c l a sse i m possi hl e'. If'S Temps Modernes 328 (November 1 973) : 788-807. de New Yor k a nd London : Rou t l ed ge. Lirf' /e Capital. C"ahicrs dc l 'Herne no. et liisto7. Meall ing. 'Scm Un ivers i t v P ress.oLtes /ogiq u es. 8 1. Paris: F h m rn .Robi nson : 1 n s r i t t It S y n r h cL1 ho. 'Rcponse a rlu politique: tra1!aux du Cen t re de rccllcrchn phi/osophiq!{I's p o litiq ue. 1 965. ' I s there a D e \ c l l Z i . Ben Brewster. 1 9CJ(1 . 1 99 8 . Ed . F a u re) . Ch rist i na Davis. 1976. Les Scenes du peuple: Les Rez. 200 1 . 'the fi rst th ree sections were published in the magazi ne Theoretical Practice. A l i R a t t a n s i . 1 x P1css is. ' Pmr-democracy. Economy and Society 5 :3 (August 1 976) : 352-76. Socirdr. 1 8 1 -9. Joh n J\1oore. Steven Laurence K a p l a n La Parole oUlJriere. RrlrliCtd 1)hi!o5(}pJ�1' 82 ( J\. Ithaca: C o rne l l U n i v. 1 9 () 1 . E d s . Method and Mflrx. a nd 'Good 'Le concept de critique et la critique de l 'economie po l i t i q u e '. A l i Rattansi.n ' Les mots d e 'The a ('ahim dll einr. p o l i t ics a n d ph i l osophy: a n i nt er view w i t h hcques R a n ci e re'. and Jea n-Llic Na ncv. two and six'.. Koepp. f() rth com in g .ing ('1m:. 1a rch l/\ p r i l 1 ') 9 7 ) : ') 2 5 --36.4--40. . Kate Nash. V La Politique des poetes: Pourquoi des poetes en temp." l m i h D j nrd i e v l c . 'A fter w h a t ? '.n i n n . L1nconscient esthhique. I rI ] . ( . Film Fah/es. . fi g u r e s de I ' h i s toi re'. 74. Edited Works Emiliano Battista. C :1 Ll l o g u e de ) 'C'xpos l t i oll ' E x i ste-t. l'Vrdtcr Bl'njamin alld th(' [)('ri'lrmrl. 1830-1851 (with A la i n generale d' editions. Eds. t Ll n s . h i s w i fe a n d m a c h i nes' t i mes o r plea s u re Rohertson et :1 1 . 1 983. 1 983. t r a n s . Tanya Asad.' Eds. Le Destin des images.i l u ne esthc t i q ue c1 e l c l l z i en n e ? '.2 " . rrllJ('!/crs ' I.1 1 1 . 252-7. oices b a rricades'. 1If' d u C e n t re Ceorges Pom p i cl o l l . Lake.1 99.' (ilhil'rs till Collegl' Le Philosophe pUbben/Gabriel Gauny.B I B LI O G R A P H Y OF P R I MARY A N D S EC O N DARY S O U R C E S l H ll U O C RA P H Y OF P R I M A RY A � n S Ef: O N D A R Y S O U RC F � La FabLe cinematographique. Louis A lthusser et aI. S te i n h e rg. Paris: Union il1ternatiol1a/ de 1lh i /osoph ic 8 (Octoher 1 <) 8 <) ) : 2 1 1 . In tcrnruioI'lai L a bo r flJ1d U?or/. Eds. R . 2003. 1 9 R 6 .' at till' l:'nd of' th!' Second Empire. 'Overlcg i t i m a t ion'. 3 5/ 1 .)/1. Pa ris: E ditions G a l i l ee . 1 98 8 . 1 9% ./Ies: NrnT{/tilJes of' ! lome rind Di!jl/l/ccl1I('// /. Eric .l t1 .th o Comes a n d Londo n : Routledge. Oxford: Berg Publ ishers. Lond o n : R o u r l e d gc 1'{ at the Kega n Paul . trans. New York and London: Routledge. ('o)'f:" T 'Go i n g to t h e exp o : t h e worker. V. ' D e m ocracy 11l C':lns equa I i t)': hcqucs Ra n cii:re i I l t c l'\· i ewcd h:' ill/ss/ltT" . Ed . Method and Marx: Efsays from Economy and Socicty. Paris: La F ab ri q u e E d i t i o ns.5 2 . K risten Ross. 'Le gai savoir'./nri< i n France: Reprcse71flltiof7. Ed:. Economy and Society 5 : 3 (August 1 976) : 377-84. Select Articles and Interviews l1 dltresse? P a r i s : oft/If' People: The Social Life of 'Lr. History 24 (Fall 1 983): 1 . 'Mode d 'emploi pour u ne reedition de Lire Ie Capital '. .'.istoin·. The concludi ng sections of th is article (pages 1 7 1 -99) were translated as 'The concept of "critique" and the "critique of p o l i t i c a l economy" (from the 1844 Manuscripts to Capita l)'. trans.'i/les [)('/('7{ze: { 111(. According to the notes to this translation. Nc\\' Y'Nk 2 4 (. 200 1 . 1992. 2 0 03. Ad r i a n R i fk i n a n d Roger T h o m a s .

l . New Left Rellil'w 1 4 (March/Apr i l 2002): 1 33 -5 1 . Rrrr/iur/ I)/Ji/o ro/. A fJ)'rge ric mhaj!o/itifjl/{. I nterview with Peter H a ll wa rd . 1998. ' What aesthetics can mean'. Diacritics: A Review or ' Contemporary Criticism 3 0 : 2 (2000): 1 1 3-26.10. I nt e rview with Ya n C iret. aC I I k / P' rpsg! r:1 n c iere . A ngelaki 8 : 2 (August 2003) : 1 9 1 -2 1 1 . SuhStrlnce: A Rez1iew o/ Theory and Literary Criticism 29 (20 0 0 ) : 3 -24. Rav B rassier. Lignes 8 (May. :)2 : :) ( S l I m mer H i rst.. I a n .f. A n d rew.1 n d !'vI i c h a e l \ i tr .) -3 2 . Politique de ia parole: Sinr. for r h co m i n t. Art Press 2 5 8 (June 2000) : 1 8-23 . 'Jacques Ib n c i ere's c o n t r i h u tion to the e t h ics o f recognition'. E l i e. i/o(oj!/'y. New ritel'm:v Histor). Ra (licd Pf. Davide Panagia. Pau l . 2() 03. K a r b k ro n a . ' R a n ci ere et I a c O m t11U n :l u t c d e s cga l l x ' :l n d ' R a n C l i: r c n l 'a p o l i t i qu e ' . ' I nterview with Jacques R anciere: cinematographic i mage. Think Again: A lain Badiou and the Future of Ph .g o l d . .'ocii/! C'l'it/C1' 1I1 . A rt Pr('l( 2()7 ( /\ p r i l 20( 1 ) : '5(. 'Ra n cihc. Peter Osborne. A l a i n . and the "splendor of the i nsignificant'' '. !Jo/itical l /Jm)'v 31:1 ( Fe h rll :1 rv 20 0. 2002. 1 ()7 '5 ) : 2 8 -9 . Ted .. G i l les.. aesthetics: ap p ro a c h es to democratic disagreement'. fi l m'. ' W h o i s the s u h j ec t of t h e r i g h ts of 1ll : 1 n ) '. 'Le 1 1 septembre et apres: une rupture de I 'ordre symbol ique ? '. . 'V'i C ih s o n . a nti-aesthetics'. A ntoine de Baecque and Christian Delage. 2004.ultlrite et communaute. R e n t o n . 2 1 8-3 1 . London: The S e r p e n t's Tai l .'. Cra i h.h)' () ( W i n te r 1974 ) : 2 7-8 . ] cl n -P:l u L ' S ur Jacques Ib n ci c rc'.oilth A t/t/Ilt1!' H J. Ed. anti-esthetique'. [>/li/osop/ll' 27: 4 (J n l v.(N C i bso n . n a rrative. 'The aesthetic revolution and its outcomes'. 2002) : 35-46. ' Dissenting words .o n d o n : Xl Xl orga n i zed by t h e Po s t. Art and the Senses. n9 R . Eds. Fo r Fun (J'or/rrrrl. I nterview with Sola nge Guenoun . ' R a n ci i. 2 0 0 0 . Rf'fIli'-lIT f/ll(/ its Dismn!ei!ls. N a n c y Re n a u l t . Swed e n : B lel< i n ge r n s t i t ll te of Tec h nology.-17 Septemhe r. London: Con tinuum. 1(. 'Aesthetics. 'Jacques Ranciere : l iterature. ljfl'mn' /(r'(('rrr. i n esthetique. Sites: The journal o/20th.) ) : 1 ) h-')(. Sonic Process. Pierre Ouellet. Interview with D avide Panagia. Montreal: E ditions Tra i t d'u n i on . Paris: L'H armattan. ' h o m Ly ot:1 rd to S c h i l l e r : two r e a d i ng s o f K a n t a n d t h c l r pn i i t i c a l s ig n i fi c a n c e ' . 'The t h i n k i ng of d issensus: politics a nd aesthetics'.\ l t h l l Sser'. Rrrr/im/ Philosoph)! 1() ( S p r i n F 1 2 1 -3 8 . 1 7-30.doc> B l a c k D og P u hl i s h i n g :l n d Pha i d on P ress.. De L 'Histoire au cinema. '7'5-9'5. A lyson Waters. A nd rew. Disagreement: jacques Rtlnciere and the Politiw! (co� ference R . ' Ra n c ie re a nd t h e " l i m i t" of rea l i sm'. 2003. Kavanagh.) 0 (b l l . 'Esthetique. and capita l '.1I1 c i c re '.98 B IB L I O G R A P H Y O F P R I M A RY A N D S EC O N DARY S O U R C E S m Il U () (� R A PllY 01' P R I M A RY AND S FC O N DMty S O U R C ES 'L' historicite du cinema'. From an Aesthetic Point o/View: Philosophy. 45-60. ' D i scussio n : R :l I1cii. A c ta I' Editorial. 5 () . ' Politics a nd aesthetics: an i nterview'.-8. i d e olo g v. Forbes Morlock. (17/(/ . On Lml' (Inri Ueo!ogl" London a nd Ihs i l l gstoke: The lvtJcm i l l a ll Press LTD.) : 2 -5 ( S p r i ng/Su m mer 20(4 ) . t r a n s . trans. Ed. Ed./ /(cr/lcrche !ittrrrl i rc . J e a n . t r:l I 1 S . pol itics. ' Du ring. ' Two r d<Hl n d a t i o J1 p rolects o f d e mo cracv in C O I H C l l l ­ !'OLI rv f<rcllch ph i l o s o p h y : Cornel im C a s to r i a d i s a ll d J1 CC]1Il''' 20(1 ) : 639-'57. trans. E d . ' ''A nd t he w i n cl w h e e z i ng t h ro u g h t h a t organ once i ll a w h i l e " : voice. 1 ()7<). 47796. 2002. i naesthetics. < h t t p : / / h o m e p ag e s .P h i l i ppe .S t ruc t u r a l i s m a nd Rad ica I Pol itics specia l is t g rou p) . P a r i s : t d i t i o n s el u S e u i l . E d s . . Charles Ramond.Te a n d . Da nuta F j e llestad a n d El i za b e t h Kel l a . Roxanne Lapidus. H i tc h cock a n d the c i n e m ato g ra p h i c i m a g e'. A lain Brldiou: Pauer /e multiple. Qr/(rrtn-/r Further Read i n g B a d i o u . 'La communaute esthetique'. 'Jacques Ranciere : history and the a rt system'.\ nrer 1 ()()8) : 2. J a Illes \ i I I i :1 ill S . Fidelity to the 'God a rd . B ruxelles: E d itions Compkxe. Eds. M ic h a e l Te mple.'3 . 145-66. e t i o c a n't do'.. Ll lwl lc.Centurv ' Contemporary French Studies 4 (20 0 0 ) : 249-5 8 . trans. E n g e l ih e r r .' IT ()Il ideol ogy'. trans. 20(1 ) : 7 '5 .!050pJ�y. 2003. London : C o l d s m i t h s Col lege.a conversation with Jacques Ranciere'. D e ra nty.l esr!. 'Metamorphosis of the muses'. Peter Hallward . 1 3-33. 2 0 n 4 . ' \Xl h a t pure . I nterview with Solange Guenoun and James H . democracy.

Jacques Ranciere. Zizek. G abriel Rock h i ll . 'MaJlarme it la lum iere de ]a ra ison poetique'. Jacques R anciere. 'The d i ffe rences hetwccn hbk of fi l m : R a llcihe's A u tho lw M :t n ll '.jhu.3> Ross. html #5.edu/jourt1:lis/ theory_and_event/toclarch ive. Critique 5 8 : 665 (October. ' F i l m\' aes t h e t i c tu rn : a cont r i h u t i o ll {rom J acques R a ll c i i. Theory and Event 5 : 3 (200 1 ) . 1 999. Special Issues on Ranciere Lou i s DeNte. McClure. Jacques R a ll cierc. Ross. ' Political subj ectivization a nd its vicissitudes'. A:t m i r R.Hrs('lItnill' '[(1m Con 1cy. Slavoj .100 B I B LI O G RA P H Y O F P R I M A RY A N D S E C O N DA RY S OU RC ES H lB U () ( . 'Comments and responses'. Kristin.edu/ journals/theory_and_event/toclarchive. 'Presentation'.lCqucs R a nc ii:rc\ .j h u. Mufti. Jea n ' Critique 5 3 : 60 1-602 (June-July 1997). May '68 and Its Afterlives. 'I ntroduction'. . D. ' Ranciere a nd the practice of equality'. Yves M ichaud. 'Teaching reading: the case of Marx in France'. D avide. ' Mode rn i te .4> SubStance: A Review o/Theory and Literary Criticism 1 03. ITlOVe rn e l l t / s p :lCC. democratie. M ichael Dillon. M ic h l' i c G a rn e a u . 'Rancierc and contemporary pol itical ontology'. '(De)void of poli tics?: a response to Jacques Ranciere's "ten theses on politics'''. A rlette Farge.f Contemporary Criticism 6 : 4 ( W i n t e r 1 976) : 10-1 8 . 'The s ilent revol u ti o n '. d e m ncr:l cv: Oil J. B e l l ' Wri t i n g . 33: J (2004) .\ N Il S EC O N D A RY S O ll RC F S 101 Mehlman. 'The hegemony o f hegemony'. Th istoi re comme aV(' n e m e n t'. History o/the Human Sciences 1 4 : 1 (February 2001 ) : 88-104. Contents: Eric Mechoulan. R A P H Y O F P R I M A RY . Phi l ip. Davide Panagia. (pol i t i c a l d i s. Jeremy. 'Jacques R:tllc iere's Freud ian cause'. < http://muse.html#6. Panagia. SOcifli Text 29 (199 1 ) : 57-7 1 .· I-c·. Theory and Event 6:4 (2003) Contents: Jean-Philippe Deranty. Valentine. Diacritics: A Review o. P ierre Campion. Watts. 2003. heresie'.wid f. 'Le cinema entre mimesis et zone d 'ombre'. 'La parole muette: notes sur " la l i r rera tu re ' '. Solange Gucnolln. <http://musc. Jeffrey. Kirstie M. 'The politics of l iterature'. 'Disconnections.l grecmcnt) a !lel Lyo ta rd 's [)if((rm({: R a ll c i c rc's . 'Reading Jacques Ranciere's "ten theses on pol itics": a fter September 1 1 th'. 'Les pauvres et leur phi losophe: l a philosophie d e Jacques Ranciere'. Kristin. 'Ceci n est pas un argument: a n introduction t o t h e ten theses'. connections. t\ l i tera ry h isrory'. London: Verso. Patrick Cingolani. The Ticklish Subject. 2002): 830-7. 1 7 1 -244. and questions: reflections ofjacques Ranciere's "ten theses o n pol itics'''. 'Thinking with and against the "ten theses'''. C h icago: University of Chicago Press. Contents: Ph i lippe Roger.

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