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[Reading the] modern(ism)/post-modern(ism)'s Journal
Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Date:2004-03-17 13:12
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Here's something I generated today for a little discussion group in which I participate. Enjoy whatever in this post interests you. If you hate the whole thing, just move on. No hard feelings. FYI, the Foster in question is Hal Foster, the Bellmer in question is Hans Bellmer.

Superficial Knowledge demands the surrender of the life of the object, whereas True Knowledge must "abide with the object", and lose itself in it, abandoning itself to the object rather than to itself. The only way for Philosophy to be reconciled with Life is to overcome this opposition, sacrifice the pseudo-freedom of distance, and renounce itself in order to find itself again in the Other. --G.W.F. Hegel

Maybe think about Foster's essay on Bellmer in terms of the the concept Proliferation. Where have you heard that term before? And what kind of phenomenon or reality is it attempting to name?

Obviously proliferation has something to do with repetition, with reproduction; but what does it have to do with failure? In other words, how does Proliferation represent an alternative kind of reproduction, one which acknowledges a trauma, a catastrophe (think of WWI and Dadamax), some terrible loss within the world, one so great we can hardly name it? And what are different possible responses to this loss? What gets put in the hole which marks the place of the THING which has been lost, in the place of the trauma? What gets inserted into the wound to signify that the trauma is over; or beyond that, to deny, disavow or foreclose the idea that there ever was a trauma in the first place?

And what about the possibility of refusing to accept these stop gaps and substitutes, the refusal to recover from trauma, the refusal to heal? How might certain art works bespeak an attempt to go on living in the face of catastrophe without becoming the a victim of therapeutics, of psychiatry? How might radical Proliferation be attempt to continue, to endure, to "live on", by accepting alternate, non-authorized, scandalous (think of Bernard?) forms or reproduction? What about the possibility of an non-sexual form of reproduction known as "parthenogenesis", reproduction (typical of lower life forms) which does not require any male? Is it possible to exist without any Father?

To sum up, what are the political stakes, (here comes a term from Hegel--see your notes) of Overcoming? Seems to me that is exactly what Foster is struggling with. Can you see where I might be going with all this? Let me know. And for further insights, click

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