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The Supreme

The Birth of
the Intimate

Jews, Christians,
and other

A Conversation
with Alain Badiou

Fifteen Theses on
Contemporary Art

Katy Grannan



To resume again...

Josefina Ayerza

In Moses and Monotheism Freud retells the events described in the Bible as they do not reproduce what actually occurred. He believes Moses picked out the Jewish people and adopted them. Soon he called these people his own. One day they murdered him. On the repression of the event a religion was founded.

In his Religion, Psychoanalysis, Jacques-Alain Miller will go on to say that Freud made Moses, "...he needed a great man to make a monotheistic religion, to make the primacy of One God rational...for the sovereignty of the signifier 'one.'"

Through this roundabout Miller will approach structure, what it meant for Jacques Lacan, " psychoanalysis structure replaces the prohibition through the impossible." Thus the scission of the unconscious and psychoanalysis. The unconscious is not psychoanalysis, it is the political. "The unconscious is the presupposed master-signifier."

The issue concerns us in terms of the question of whether all politics have the same value and the same religious claim whether it is explicit or not.

— This is a holy war, "Allah Akbar!" — exists against

— This is a war for democracy, for the liberation of Iraq! —

Where are we with democracy?

Signifiers can go astray, and with this it happens that they loose their meaning.

Has the time come for someone to "make" Democracy: the great man that will make a new monotheistic religion, the primacy of this One God rational, the sovereignty of the actual signifier "one..."? The face-to-face encounter of Democracy and God already happened. Democracy already spoke with God. Where?

Should we make Rockefeller Center the Mount Sinai of our time, there are commandments written on stone:

1 — A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.

2 — Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It's to see my dividends coming in.

3 — I have ways of making money that you know nothing of.

4 — I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.

5 — The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets.

6 — Competition is a sin.

Money is the life of Democracy, jouissance the interior limit of its consummation. Says Mehdi Belhaj Kacem in his The Supreme Luxury, " is the hygienic form of a superabundance of waste, a waste which is not a simple metaphor for garbage, but rather a waste which is the excess of production without any other end than its own superabundance."

With Gérard Wajcman, it is The Birth of the Intimate. Here he hints at a window, the window of the Other, a pre-existing gaze, pre-existing us, pre-existing our gaze... Not a question of calling on religious belief, he says, we are before all religion, before all thought..."God would only be a way of incarnating, of giving a name and a visage, a sense to this gaze which is always there. Even if religion is a privileged domain of the gaze,... the pre-existence of a gaze does not essentially come from a social, collective form, like religion. Each subject is concerned as subject. Each one's position of seer supposes that he is first under the gaze. Religion simply gives this meaning."

In Jews, Christians, and other Monsters, Slavoj Zizek wants us to conceive of a postmodern Antigone with a Stalinist twist: she would loom in such a position that the ethical itself is the temptation. "One version would undoubtedly be for Antigone to publicly renounce, denounce and accuse her father (or, in a different version, her brother Polynices) of his terrible sins out of her unconditional love for him. The Kierkegaardian catch is that such a public act would render Antigone even more isolated, absolutely alone: no one — with the exception of Oedipus himself, if he were still alive — would understand that her act of betrayal is the supreme act of love..."

Mario Goldenberg interviews Alain Badiou in Buenos Aires.

Badiou: The death of God is the end of the idea that posits truth and meaning as the same thing. And I would add that the death of Communism also implies the separation between meaning and truth as far as history is concerned.

Badiou develops his Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art.

"Art is not the sublime descent of the infinite into the finite. It's an intimation about how not to be a Romantic. And so, he says, the question of art is also the question of life and not always the question of death..."

Cathy Lebowitz interviews Josefina Ayerza over Katy Grannan's work, over its performative quality.



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