JBS 5 – 2017
The fifth volume of the Journal of Badiou Studies, energized by the publication of Badiou’s Rhapsodie pour le théâtre (2014), seeks to knit together distinguished approaches to artistic production engaging with the work of Alain Badiou: ‘Engaging’ would mean for us articulated positions that include, imply or criticize the Badiouiesque corpus. We would not therefore seek to implement Badiou΄s philosophical insights in interpretations of art or of aesthetics, but rather to take Badiou’s philosophy as a center of convergence-nexus of a plethora of philosophical positions that include artistic production as a central element of their structure. Thematically, the volume limits its discussion to “a two” of architecture and theater, thinking their overlapping, juxtaposition and respective generative capacities.
JBS 5 suggests superimposing these two “media” and posing them at the center of the volume for several reasons: Politically, both theater and architecture actively engage in the life of the Polis, they effectually and factually demand the participation of collective and material actors. Poieticaly, both media manifest a comprehensive form of artistic production, that is to say they both include elements and organs (actors, designers, lighting-specialists, engineers, planners, executives, actors, dancers, etc.) that are required as collaborators in the realization of the piece. The Architect, on the one hand, and the Theater maker, on the other, both produce what could be defined as a world, or, in Badiou’s terms, a formation of a subject.
Moreover, JBS 5 explores the political aspect of the relationship between Badiou’s concept of “state” (l’état) and the architheatrical activity. Indeed in Thèses sur le théâtre (1995), Badiou writes: “La difficulté générale du théâtre, à toutes les époques, est son rapport à l’Etat” (Petit manuel d’inesthétique, 118). If one considers this paradigm with Badiou’s L’être et l’événement in mind, one could analyze the manner in which the arts work with and/or against ontology, as well as carry an ethical tenor, with their responsibility towards a Truth. Badiou, an active playwright himself, integrated into his thought from early-on dramatic and theatrical topoi. Already in Théorie du sujet, one finds the Greek theater as an active player in his architecture of the subject. The activities of construction, conditions, subtraction, installation, generation, modelling all being prominent terms in the philosophy of Badiou, should be conceived within an architheatrical framework. Present-day artistic manifestations: The art-fair, video art, installation art, site-specific arts, performance etc., could be viewed as re-generating an art “form,” the architheater in which ontology, that is to say space, is configured by reality (that is to say duration or history). Finally, the “Il y a de deux” of theater and architecture invites to rethink the role of the receptor (otherwise known as the “spectator” the “public” or the “inhabitant”) of art, an issue having to do with the Badiou-Rancière debate. Naturally, the volume tries to take advantage of Badiou’s philosophy in order to think beside rather than within the Aesthetic-regime to the best possible extent, adopting instead a generative, that is to say a poietical, productive approach to art.
Adi Efal-Lautenschläger (Cologne), Guest Editor
Arthur Rose (Durham) – The Theater of Modern Philosophy: A Review of Alain Badiou, Rhapsody for the Theatre, translated by Bruno Bosteels (New York: Verso, 2013) | 306-314