Tuesday, November 13, 2012

dv - about "state of exception"

about "state of exception"

'state of exception' started out as a creative 'digestion' of my ongoing reading  of Giorgio Agamben's Homo sacer series of books. Like all my works it is a running process, searching for collaboration where ever possible. Personally i call it neo-cathedralic Creative R&D, referring to my 2004 re-installment of Kurt Schwitters' Kathedrale des erotischen Elends, a merzbau that in its current form takes both the virtual but very real network environment and the 'real' but often very fictional world as its natural, integrated habitat (cfr. the section about the Neue Kathedrale des erotischen Elends' ).

Agamben's Homo sacer series starts out[1] with a meticulous analysis of the State of Exception (other terms: 'state of emergency', 'martial law', '(under) siege'). Within each juridical system, he explains, there exists susch a provision whereby the sovereign power(s), in order to protect the future of the system itself are able to temporarily or spatially limited suspend the validity of the system itself and then proclaim the 'illegal' measures deemed necessary for the salvation of law and order. There is (was) no civil state without a state of exception build within it.

Originally, in old Roman law, those individuals living in such a state of exception were reduced to  'Homo sacer', holy people in that sense that their existence fell outside the reach of human law, their lives were stripped of all human rights, they were no longer civilians but 'bare life'. These individuals one could kill unpunished provided you did not actually murder him 'as a human being' because it was to be strictly ruled out that the Homo sacer should infest the realm of the dead with his 'holiness'. It is not difficult here to recognize the process of dehumanization, that particular strategy of hatred that is an integral part of any major genocide event in our sad history.

 Agamben continues to broaden and deepen this theme[2] of a piece of the inhuman within the human, the absolute exterior within the interior of our experience and more disquieting, our juridical and political systems. One can pinpoint a topology of perforation that can be identified as the virus of any dictatorial regime or the excesses of 'raw' power, from the Romans over the French revolution to Hitler, Stalin, Guantanamo,...

Furthermore, as far as Agamben is concerned, we now live in a continuous state of exception, where at any moment in time any civil 'right' can be annulled or made void for any number of reasons of 'emergency'. Any claim to 'justice' is therefore based on a myth, not on any 'archè' of any sort[3].

This 'State of Exception' project urgently calls for works by creative thinkers, authors and thoughtful artists to help broaden the awareness of our precarious condition. In times where irreversible dramatic climate change collides with a global collapse of the political and economical systems, where literally billions of lives are threatened by an unprecedented global turmoil, a full awareness of our actual condition is primordial in any attempt to actively see through the inevitable transition ahead of us. It is up to us to contribute to the awareness that further blind consumerism is leading us nowhere, that as our dehumanized systems of exploitation, decentralized and nameless as they are, reach their endgame, it does not matter who is to blame, or what we should occupy, the only thing that matters is how to escape those unstoppable automata of massive destruction.

Resistance to the inevitable only worsens its consequences. Instead we should further all our efforts to further awareness of the non-human (transhuman, if you prefer that term) processes that control us beyond our control, counter the forces of hatred, populism and intolerance, and set out a path ahead for non-violent transition, reconciliation and solidarity with the weak and the inflicted.

about  the " Neue Kathedrale des erotischen Elends"

The Neue Kathedrale des erotischen Elends (NKdeE) is more a viral growth than a premeditated production of any one author. There's no search for closure, for a finished product, the search is the continuing production of a desire towards openness, invention and the joy of creativity, leaving all commercial pressure and the logic of exploitation radically behind. It is only natural that all of the creative garbage the process produces (i.c. texts, graphics, sounds, video,...) are released in the public domain freely, under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.
In doing so the NKdeE redefines the author as a function within a running Creative R&D environment. The auctorial function is, after the required init phase, often not more (or less) than a portal, a I/O gate of the creative process. The historical persona with which  it is linked is of lesser importance, because that is a subjective aggregate that can, within the process environment, be dissolved, replaced or reconfigured according to the needs of the process that naturally supersedes its initial instantiator.

Since its creation the NKdeE has implicitly or outspokenly taking the form of an elaborate web application (2004-2009, currently offline), a series of blogs (2005-ongoing), the KLEBNIKOV CARNAVAL a yearly international festival for 'Free Lyricism' in Kessel-Lo near Louvain, Belgium (2008-2011) co-organised with the art collective Grapes of Art, a likewise coproduction of a weekly radio show on Radio Scorpio (Radio Klebnikov - 2009-ongoing), live performances with the Radio Klebnikov Live Band, the international Poetry Kessel-Lo Poezie blog, a series of graphical researches into the practice of (Asemic) writing, an entirely web based and radically a-commercial practice of (Dutch) writing through http://vilt.wordpress.com and more.

dirk vekemans, november's guest editor
[1] Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. De soevereine macht en het naakte leven, Boom 2002, ISBN 9053528296
[2] Giorgio Agamben État d'Exception. Homo sacer, II, 1, Paris 2003, ISBN 202061114
[3] Giorgio Agamben, Le Règne et la Gloir. Homo sacer, II, 2, Paris 2008, ISBN 978.2020961936

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