[-empyre-] art and ethics - incommensurable

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Tue Jan 26 08:59:24 EST 2010

Dear Nick and Empyreans,

Actors - as those who engage in actions - may be complicit in situations 
- whether common labour disputes or not - which both work to their 
disadvantage and give the lie to the principles under which they become 
complicit. This may be a variation on the 'best of intentions' trope but 
is also open to a critique that finds in art a higher dialectic 
unavailable to in-corporation, legalistic definition or naturalization 
as accomplice of life, law and - of course - art itself: the whole 
identitarian brouhaha which seems to draw its life-blood from 
positivism. This critique, despite the theatrical appeal of Badiou's 
discourse - upstage stentorian, echoing in the flies - is one of which 
his procedurals would seem a demonstration: art and love, politics and 
science, have their generic truths. The incommensurability existing 
between them - as in the dramatic example of Archimedes and Marcellus's 
emissary, where the time of the artist does not relate to the time of 
political expediency (a non-relation I would adduce as inherent in the 
situation of complicity I described in theatre) - produces a distance 
philosophy is called on to negotiate, in which it can create the 
problems proper to it. Complicity is problematic because it arises 
between generic universals. I think it is reducible to the Law only in 
so far as the Law is regarded as irreducible. And inescapable.



Nicholas Ruiz III wrote:
> ...as I see it, without getting too heady about a common labor 
> dispute, if art is an accomplice of life, it's difficult to see how 
> the theater artists could ignore the circumstances interfering in 
> their art lives...unless, 'injustice' was a welcomed function of that 
> art life...I think you do well to bring up the Law, because it is more 
> than a trope we can dismiss, in the sense that, for most of life, it 
> is inescapable in its major forms of action and side-effects of 
> governance; the Law may only be edited, or even for some, avoided, but 
> never escaped. I think I can appreciate the Law, then, as what you 
> mean by the shared ground upon which complicity, of all kinds, 
> eventuates...
> nick

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