artcontemporain on Thu, 15 Mar 2007 10:22:18 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-ro] Towards a New Aesthetics: Technology, Intensity, Heterogeneity

  Book Launch in Prague, on Mars 2007

A special issue of ?/Towards a New Aesthetics: Technology, Intensity, Heterogeneity/?, a European Journal (biannual) in philosophy and comparative studies, attempts to explore and assess aspects of the contemporary ferment in aesthetics.


  no. 32 Eds : Brian Rosebury & Louis Armand, Prague, Mars 2007

  ISSN  0862-8424

This special issue contains the essay ?/Postdramatic Body: Human Body Dismemberment 2.1/? by FLORIAN LIBER, visual and new media artist based in Montreal. You can also see in /premiere vision/ digital images of synthesis presented by Liber in New York, on October 2006 at the time of the cyber dance performance of a projection installation in the middle of Lower Manhattan ([Re]Configurations: Arts, Humanities, and Technology in the Urban Environment).

  see URL:[2]


? FLORI(A)N LIBER similarly examines spatial conceptions of signification but in terms of the event status of the

performative body as technological prosthesis. In Liber?s use of digital video, the performative body is not simply

encoded, mapped, transposed and thus captured ? submitted to a form of technical memory that at once seizes

and abolishes the performative event ? rather the body ?itself? becomes a zone of technicity. Consequently,

Liber?s praxis tests the limits of an aesthetic theory of performance that rests upon the exclusion of any ?machinelike

technicity.? The ?body? in this case is not the represented body (e.g. the figure of the dancer in Liber?s digital

video ?performance,? /Human Body Dismemberment/), but the transcoded body, the body inscribed in and by a

metamorphic algorithm (?le code plastique et gestuel?).46 It is a pro-grammatic apparatus, or what, in French,

may be described as an /écriture au corps/: a body /of /writing and an /embodied /writing. And it is in accordance with a

technics of writing, of inscription and circumscription, but equally of gesture, that Liber?s quasi-analytic

?dismemberment? brings into question what Derrida has termed the ?inherited, ossified, simplified opposition

between techn? and physis?47 ? that is to say, between technology and nature, the organic, the auto-mobile and


In turn, this questioning implies a further examination of the opposition between the whole and the fragment,

the living body and the dead, already rendered ambivalent in Plato?s treatment of the body as /s?ma/. Echoing

Artaud?s conception of a /corps sans organs /and Victor Tausk?s /machine à influencer/, Liber?s experiment in

performative dismemberment deconstructs the human/non-human dichotomy and treats the ?body? as a

discursive, informatic topology which does not point towards a ?post-? human condition but rather to a

?prosthesis at the origin? of the human as such. In this way we are presented with what amounts to an attempt at

an ?enactment? of a critique. Liber?s algorithmic dismemberments ? verging upon a type of quantum

indeterminacy ? situate in place of the functional body a body of probabilities, according to which ?machinality

(repetition, calculability, inorganic matter of the body) intervenes in a performative event,? as Derrida says, not

however as ?an accidental, extrinsic, and parasitical element,? or ?pathological mutilating,? but rather as the

constitutive materiality of the body as /dynamic system/. And if ?to think both the machine and the performative

event together remains a monstrosity to come, an impossible event,? this is because it represents a violation of a

logic bound up with a certain intentionality, for which the possible is always and only a function of the calculable.

In pursuing the implications of an /in/calculability (at the very foundation of digital computing), Liber suggests

that this impossible event is, as Derrida argues, ?therefore the only possible event.? Moreover, ?it would be an

event that, this time, no longer happens without the machine. Rather, it would happen by the machine.?48

Elegance of symmetry in the view that poses the intelligible against the merely sensible, and each against the

/in/sensible, remains ? even in its most elaborate, ?technological? forms ? cognate with what Claude Lévi-Strauss

described as analogical primitivism,49 and what John Ruskin in 1856 termed the ?pathetic fallacy:? the ascription

of human aspirations and beliefs to the otherwise inanimate.50 The philosophy of perception, and consequently

aesthetics, has played a determinate role in fortifying this way of thinking, vested as it has often been in the

intuitive, the unreflexive, and the metaphysical. Such traits have not only come to define a certain humanism, but

also a logic according to which technicity remains the excluded other of the experiential realm. The paradox that

this presents for aesthetics as a theory of art has not gone unnoticed, and yet the division between pure and

applied art or between fine art and technics preserved itself into the twentieth century, according to which even

the cinematic image has been subjected to a curious humanizing bias ? most famously perhaps in Benjamin?s

  ?The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.?


  a r t c o n t e m p o r a i n/ new technology arts



Nettime-ro mailing list