[-empyre-] stepping out of the frame to play around

Aristide Antonas antonasoffice at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 18:08:32 EST 2012

Dear Johannes,

We start today the 2012 ex situ workshop in UDK Berlin about gaming,
the city and the cultures of surveillance. A first question that
represents the political background of gaming is linked to the
discussion you have. The architectures of gaming are characterized by
the limits of the game, the structures of its interior space and the
concepts of its exterior. We may enter the political structure of the
question through a reference to Alain Badiou’s distinction between
fact and event, e.g., in Peut-on penser la politique?, a relatively
late text (1985) by the writer of Being and Event [3]. Thus, in
Badiou’s description, we encounter a voluntary rupture introduced
between the two notions of “fact” and “event”. The rupture is
presented through Badiou’s definitions of these notions; I suggest
that we could shape this distinction depending on the way we conceive
duration: an “event” stays alive in the present time, “immediately”
projected to the future. A “fact” is presented as an accomplished,
ended time: always enclosed inside a dead representation, a fact is
necessarily already formed, necessarily uninteresting, finished. We
can already raise an objection here: to “reject” a “fact” and insist
with such emphasis on a definition of politics through the event could
be, I believe, an impetuous act. Badiou, though, gives form to this
exact rejection of a bureaucratic conception of the fact. His
dichotomy between fact and event, even if announced here with a
particular, new emphasis, has a profound philosophical past. It
seems—from a specific point of view—problematic but it cannot be
neglected. This past glorifies in a log bibliography a type of “open
durations”: unaccomplished facts are sometimes “idealized” in their
way to form unfinished structures, considered open, living promises.
We have to let down a history of this idealized “living duration” that
is introduced together with the origins of philosophy (an obvious
reference to the pre-Socratic philosophers could find its place here);
this is not the time to be exhaustive regarding texts that insist on
this trope of conceiving strategies of unaccomplished time; in a
Lessing short text on unaccomplished access to truth for example, or
more emphatically in longer citations we can locate Bergson’s
“idealized duration” or even in many texts—in political art history—of
Situationist literature. Living duration changes names in the
theoretic literature but we can grasp at once its consistence as a
unified moral strategy. A plethora of references lead to opinions that
share this concern to negate the stability of a dead fact. This
extreme attitude names the end of a process and refuses to accept this
same end as part of the process. Inevitably, an event is inscribed in
a trace field. If not, it is an event that does not happen. It is the
possibility that the event might leave traces that construct it as a
possibility of happening. The “possibility of tracing” structures the
duration of an event. The event would then be a chance to trace; the
fact would be a mark occupying an already traced field. Nevertheless,
we cannot understand an event without a trace and a trace without an
event. Idealizing the event and demonizing the fact can be understood
as honoring extraordinary circumstances and as a call for
extraordinary political action. Furthermore, the “political” is always
precariously refounded while revisiting the normative character of a

A particular “inhabitation of becomingness” together with an immediate
symbolic power detected in an action, could describe the definitive
force of an event. I believe that through this concept we move again
into the idealization of a living structure compared to a demonized
lifeless one. The trace in a condition of passive reading crystallizes
the dead and the disappointing. A long story connects the roots of
philosophy to Heidegger’s Dasein and to Deleuze’s readings of Bergson.
We could underline the necessary coexistence of these constructed
opposite poles: we could argue that Badiou’s “fact and event” are
defined only when the one refers to another, in a circular way. They
are related in a complex manner. We could argue that thinking is
necessarily a potential reactivation of “facts”; we will thus keep the
distinction between fact and event in effect, in order to think again
about this dichotomy and revisit, in the same time, a city and a video
game structure. The game itself can be the place where an event in the
Badiou's sense can never happen. But what would be the consequences of
such an remark?

Aristide Antonas

On 21 July 2012 20:39, Johannes Birringer
<Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
> dear all
> what an interesting and thought-provoking follow up, on the technicity of the aesthetic protocoling
> and gridding of affect, if I understand Sean correctly:
> >>
> Played out on the grid of a now universal and
> increasingly immutable formal platform, play becomes play-on-a-grid, and
> affect affect-on-a-grid, and these are not the same as older, or
> culturally different modes of affect or play
> >>
> And probably worse, in the techno-thriller imagination (which i don't really want to engage),
> is the spreading of programmable and automated scanning and locating of the affected.
> (I was reading a review of Daniel Suarez's new novel, "Kill Decision,"  and it appears in this
> scenario we are no longer just seeing people as users and products (of their commodified
> affects) but mostly as "targets"). This, i take it, is the militarized version of what Sean was
> hinting at:   searched-engineering, scanning to be sought, identified, and executed. Responsibility
> and decision making off-loaded to machining architectures (as the architect Lars Spuybroek, in the
> more innocent non-militarized building contexts,  called the new interface designs).
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

ANTONAS office
emm. Benaki 118
Exarcheia, Athens 11473

More information about the empyre mailing list