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Showing posts from February, 2013

"The poetics of presentation: Lyn Hejinian's My Life project and the work of Giorgio Agamben"

Article just published in Textual Practice and available to view there for free for a limited period at

Under Glass: Agamben, Ashbery, Cornell and the Museum

As ever in Agamben's philosophical archaeology there are, according to him, two contesting theories of poiesis in the period of aesthetic modernity. The first concentrates on the role of the artist as god-like being of creation (the sovereign or common). The second on the art object itself as thing unto itself (artistic bare life or the proper). Naturally the two positions are connected in that, as we always see, god needs the world to give his power of making specific instances of operativity, while the world needs god to retroactively found its power of particular making. In this way then we can 'easily' read Agamben's first book The Man Without Content in light of one of his most recent, The Kingdom and the Glory . If we were to do this then we can say that the universal power of creation founds of course every specific object created, but that without these objects created pure creation remains merely a potential and thus inoperative. There is, therefore,

Agamben's Aesthetics Explained in 1000 Words

My previous work was concerned with the “Literary Agamben” although its primary interest was Agamben’s extensive work on poetry.   While indifference was a central part of that study, it was completed before the availability of the key works on method and language and so in some ways is deficient in answering the question as to the actual significance of poetry for Agamben’s work.   That said it is a detailed study of the question so I can allow myself the luxury of a very simple summary here, a kind of concluding statement on poetry which is perhaps missing from the previous book.             Poetry is a signature in Agamben.   It operates according to the logic of the common and proper by assigning prose to the realm of the common and the poetic or semiotic to that of the proper.   Agamben repeatedly talks about the signature of poetry in terms of the semantic/semiotic split, the age-old antagonism between philosophy and poetry, or indeed that between prose and poetry.   The s