Berlin, 2009

Berlin, 2009
We want more voices, thoughts and languages!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

provisional - - -

short very short proposal - - -
whilst the longer is on construction - - -a first draft of our first very first - - thoughts
(well... a decade old... but like with oaks... they might have leaves sooner or later - -)

The starting point of our research project is quite a common given: the violent service of language. Gender and colonialist studies, cultural and genealogical investigations have all shown how deeply language is imbued with violent structures of domination. The value of these discoveries does not uniquely lie in presenting the paradigmatic domination of linguistic structures but also in having shown their genealogical development: their story of violence. They also revealed the movement of power between ´language´ and ´reality´ so to enable a critical attitude towards what had been thought as given. Precisely there Derrida brought to light the gift. Despite eminent, Derrida is certainly not the only exponent among those who tried to articulate what, for brevity´s sake, we call here the ´movement of power´. We might draw a line from Nietzsche through Heidegger to Derrida but we will also take into account other thinkers and artists with their own versions and variations of the same motif; one might think of Foucault, Agamben or Nancy.

The position we assume in the research presented now, more affine to Benjamin, goes directly against this general interpretative tendencies, despite acknowledging their relevance and value. On the one hand there is the demand and responsibility to nourish hope for our language, on the other hand we believe that in the language of power we are given a chance to listen to the voice of the oppressed.

Since many of the theorists of the ´movement of power´ would agree on the above statements, the difference we claim might seem feeble if not absent. We recognize as aim and responsibility of this work to draw as clearly as possible this dividing line so that revolutionary forces might be emancipated from the danger of assimilation and containment in the ‘movement of power’. The subtler the line becomes, the more bindingly falls on us the responsibility to reintroduce with it a clear revolutionary demand. Therefore it is all the more urgent to mark the site of this distance and map out the thesis of our project at once.

First of all we argue that the ´movement of power´ carachterizes a historical moment. So, far from being some sort of interpretative transcendental, it is rather the paradigm of power of contemporary times. Where this ´movement of power´ develops in its deconstructive form we see a contemporary deconstructive reality rather than an atemporal theory. The implications are of huge proportions. In reading ´the movement of power´ as a historically applied power itself we also detect in it a most convolute and pervasive form which in its liberal variants appears not to leave us a way out.

The second point to be made is then closely connected to the previous. If such ´movement of power´ corresponds to a historical reality, to a concretization of power, we must adopt a strongly critical attitude towards it without sharing much of its dreaming expectations. For us it means on the one hand to identify its paradigm (work that we will try to accomplish substituting power for success/renommĂ©e and working on the link between mediatic and deconstructive concepts) and on the other hand neither to trust nor to believe in it. Not only this paradigm is in fact a most advanced instrument of power but it hinders us from establishing a connection with our living traditions in language.

Here follows then a third point: the language of the movement of power exists only in terms of power. Language can certainly be in the service of power but (1) it must not necessarily be and (2) if there is language it is because of the living traditions in it. These living traditions are directly counterpoised to power, being oppressed and instrumentalized by it, the way a Broadway show employs, exploits and spoils any living theatrical gesture. We are far from seeing here any destiny or différance. The language of the show is certainly the same but it offers two receptions: either sharing the success of the systematic all or listening to the living, oppressed voices which have been mastered there as a result of professionalism and commercialization: the task of power which silences and sell out our demands for justice.

In order to close the argument we can mention a fifth summarizing point: we must break with the ´movement´ of power, break language apart in order to hear the voices which keep it alive. Only maintaining a clear distinction here between power and traditions, indeed antagonistically deploying these against the former, whilst also following another tempo and reverse temporality entirely detached from power’s control, we might catch those revolutionary sparkles in the voice of language.

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