Autumn-winter 2004


  Autumn-winter 2004

  Marina Gržiniæ

I would like to rethink some methodologies in terms of organizing exhibitions in the context of globalization. Documenta 11, from 2002, is the most prominent case, although a variety of other exhibitions in search of this or that (the “Balkan,” for example) have recently taken place in Europe. I would like to give some possible answers to the following question: through what operations of exclusion/inclusion in relation to the notion of hegemony does this new European world itself emerge?

These exhibitions are parallel to the phenomenon of global culture and art. What do I want to say? The most important aspect of these exhibitions is that they have brought into focus and made visible the art and cultural productions of other worlds, most notably the Third World (Africa, Central and South Asia, Muslim-Asian countries, Latin America) and the Second World (the former Eastern European countries). All these worlds are currently, with some future projects scheduled, becoming (through a specific selection) visible in (Western) Europe and the North American continent, where for decades they were, and still are, out of focus. It is not only a question of visibility that matters (to see, or even to discover these distant, and not so distant, but still unknown, productions), but also the question of re-contextualisation, that is, making accessible and reachable within the Empire of the capitalist First World what had been until now perhaps just imagined, or occasionally, although very rarely, written about.

My question is: through what operations of exclusion/inclusion in relation to the notion of hegemony does this new world itself emerge? What I want to do is to discern, in what appears to be a mere contingency today, the inner necessity of the art/cultural system (as many of these exhibitions present themselves as just a moment of discovery – the exhibitions are entitled “searching for this or that” – or even as an act of pure generosity and sharing between different worlds in this era of globalization).

I could immediately foster the thesis that the model of the way that global art cultural imperialism functions must be looked for elsewhere, outside of the pure cultural context. The elements of the exclusion/inclusion machine are to be found in the scientific discourse on cloning, biotechnology and in the notion of the viability of none other than the (recently deceased) sheep Dolly. Two basic texts are to be considered: Sarah Franklin’s essay entitled “Dolly’s Viability and the Genetic Capital” (2001) and Donna Haraway’s book Modest Witness @ Second Millennium: Female Man© meets OncoMouse™ (1997).

Exhibitions that are prepared as projects realizing the new internationalization of the Third and Second Worlds demonstrate an incredible viability. It seems that these exhibitions have found a way to involve the “world,” and at the same time (and this is very important) to prolong their proper life. The inclusion of the Third World is also in the balance, with the proliferation of cultural studies in the capitalist First World, as the Second World (former Eastern Europe) is still (!) on the waiting list, and reserved for special purposes. The former Eastern European art and culture is namely forced to wait, just as when you wait to take a last minute flight. You are waiting for the call, and you have to be ready.

I can say that there exists a certain cosmo-political context in the modern capitalist world connected with pure commodification, within which works from the Third and Second Worlds seem to be perfectly cloned. In a way the structure of most of these exhibitions is as follows: there is a core of artists that are part (forever, or just freshly affiliated) of the capitalist art market, and other artists quickly commodified to, or made to assist with, these aspects. They are presented in a kind of replica situation, always rotating around the centre.

I can state: What had been seen before as an obstacle, a failure (that exhibitions did not deal with the Third and Second Worlds, as they were too complex, not developed and not translatable into understanding), what was in the past therefore perceived as an inherent impossibility, is today externalized as a positive obstacle. This move, from inherent impossibility to external obstacle, is the very definition of fantasy, of the phantasmatic position in which the inherent deadlock acquires positive existence! A-historical exhibitions, ruptures with styles, trends, classifications, etc., are all at work today, with the implication that as soon as the obstacles are removed, the relationship will run smoothly. This global structure is no less hallucinatory and no less a spectralization of the phantasmatic power of the Art Institution than it was in the past, when this Institution failed to include worlds other than the capitalist First World. Fantasy plays a crucial role in hegemonic formations, a role often at odds with the explicit political/curatorial program of the Institution/Art Exhibition projects. “Fantasy” not only situates the subject in relation to its object cause of desire, but also compensates for the instability of its imaginary and symbolic identifications. This is why it is necessary to articulate not only the equivalence among diverse struggles against oppression, but also to traverse phantasmatic scenarios that might underlie such articulations.

But let’s go step by step. Let’s see what logic is developed and brought to the final stage by the so-called global exhibition projects in the capitalist First World. Let’s explore these fundamental shifts in its very logic.

We have to distinguish between different forms of functioning of the art “Institution” within different capitalist periods, decades and logics. The forming of the capitalist art market, in order to sell a single work of art, was based on the development of a careful pedigree – an exact genealogy of this single work of art. What it was necessary to accomplish was a shift in the definition of cultural capital: a shift from culture as a whole to the reproductive power of a single work of art, in order to say that this work of art is ready to be capitalized and invested in. In short, this shift involved the formation of an exact genealogy of the single work of art that was enabled therefore to stand for a larger whole. The creation of such a genealogy was accomplished through careful critical and intellectual/theoretical work, as well as art marketing-cultural-institutional devices. Such an artwork then started to function as a template for the continued production of artworks of special types. For example the Young British Art (YBA) scene today can be seen as precisely the result of such a manner of development. To be even more precise, the shift is synechdochic (the word is used by Sarah Franklin when discussing the process of the formation of a breed), in the sense that the “substance” from which the artwork is made becomes a template for an entire national contemporary type of production. The same can be seen within the phenomena of what was in the past decade named the new Switzerland Art Scene.

These conceptual processes in the art world are kept alive for decades, enabling the careful selection and proliferation of artists, production, investment and art stock exchanges. In turn, such differentiation(s) have enabled a redefinition of what is cultural context, along with the development of new definitions of what is a historical and an art lineage.

What it is important to notice in this process is how much conceptual apparatus had to be put into motion in the capitalist First World in relation to artwork(s) in order for their value to emerge as “natural.” Therefore, strictly speaking, and based on important statements made by Franklin, the Young British Art scene can be considered to be not only a new cultural-technological-aesthetical assemblage, but also almost a breed. Its constitution is, using Franklin’s vocabulary, a discursive formation, and its style a manifestation of the market-investment-art institution-theory capacity. Making a reference to a “breed” in such a context is not at all a cynical or pejorative remark, as the “breed” is in fact a British invention! On the other hand, it is important to introduce into the vocabulary of art and culture notions from the realm of biotechnology, such as template, breed, genealogy, and pedigree. If we keep in mind the idea of this effective capital investment (theory/money/art market) in the single work of art, we have to acknowledge the importance of the art/critic/theory “machine” in its background, which obsessively works on providing genealogical and historical power to a unique artwork style and aesthetics.

The final result is a special linkage of money, institutions and critical/theoretical writings that today present themselves even more than ever as a “civilizational kinship.” This kinship (which again comes from the vocabulary of biotechnology) presents itself in the “world” as the most natural and internal process of art and culture in the capitalist First World, and moreover this “civilizational kinship” is today overcoming the cultural borders in order to become the password of the day in political affairs (us against them, the war to preserve civilization, etc.).

Which exact form of exclusion/inclusion will prevail in a certain configuration is the result of struggle. My intention is not to play with the endless impossibility of substitution within the same fundamental field of impossibility, but to make thematic the different structural principles of this very possibility.

Let us see what is going on with the so-called new global exhibition projects that include selected Third and Second World artists and their works, or which are organized just for them. These projects make evident some important new directions, which can be seen not only as a conceptual, but also primarily as a technological shift. With these projects, firstly, the traditional template of genealogy is disrupted, and secondly, a new kind of assemblage, effectively “reprogrammed” in time and space, is put into action. What is important is not the work of art, but the technique of transfer that provides the means of reproduction. The inclusion of the work of art from the Third and Second Worlds in the territory of the Empire has in most cases, therefore, the role of just testifying to a successful application of the technique of transfer. In the case of an artwork originating from outside the Empire, neither its own authenticity, nor its own auto-generative capacity is valuable. It is solely here to prove the transfer of the work of art to another context and also, if it persists through time, of the work of art’s viability to survive in the new context. The work of art coming from the Third and Second Worlds thus functions as a “living proof,” that the transfer has been successful, as it was in the case of Dolly. The transfer is the source of the new global cultural capital, or, as can be stated via Franklin’s thoughts: “the transfer is a device for seeding a corporate plan for the production of cultural wealth in the form of cultural-reactors.” These works of art are seen as cultural-reactors.

What is the result of the technology of transfer: works of art coming from the Third and Second Worlds are removed from the source of their primary conceptual/inner contextual value. The result is a different genealogy, an “enterprised-up genealogy,” (as is the case with Dolly) which as a consequence has to take apart all the genealogical descent systems. Within the newly developed Third-and-Second-World expressions or “enterprised-up genealogy”, so to speak, within this new FAST (FOOD) GENEALOGY (as a reference to a McWorld), the power of the art work to generate new ideas and concepts is not important at all, what is important is solely the transfer. With enterprised-up genealogy, via Franklin, newly flexible subjects and their works of art are redesigned and freed from specific cultural contexts, “ready to become newly promiscuous recombined art works.” What is also important is the process of abstraction from the root. In such a way, with the technique of abstract transfer, when the artwork is cloned within a new paradigm, it testifies that it is also removed from the “noise” of the root. If it were also to transfer the entire poverty and social relations and the possible intellectual implication(s) that the work of art produces in its original context, it would be very politically demanding, as well as costly. Actually nobody can predict what kind of match would result if we allowed the “noise” and the “waste” of the Third and Second World real space to come truly closer to, to enter, the Empire. An abstract and evacuated transfer eliminates the risk, producing instead a replica of the desired traits. So it is not so strange that all these works from the Third and Second Worlds are today presented in so-called evacuated and sterile White Modernist Exhibition Cubes. Just think again about Documenta 11. Was not this the main flaw of Documenta 11? At the very least, did not the critics complain that the exhibition would have been perfect if the works had not been put into such an abstract (Modernist Cubes) context? But my point is that this was the precise externalization of the inner logic of all these global art projects.

In terms of genealogy, the technique of transfer effects a 90-degree turn, whereby the “descent” is no longer the equivalent of genealogical gravity. With these exhibitions (Documenta 11, “In Searching for Balkania”, etc.) that include new world(s), it is possible to talk about the new cultural capital in the form of a new genetic paradigm of culture. At the heart of such new Internationalism there is, therefore, what Sarah Franklin primarily stated for the sheep, Dolly, and I am adapting it for our global, cultural-genetic condition, – “the technique that bypasses the conceptual and artistic capacity of the work of art in its specificity.” The global, for exhibition purposes, “enterprised-up genealogy” functions exactly like cloning in the realm of new biotechnology. Within these new epistemological coordinates of global art, it is less important to know what, again rephrasing Franklin’s statements about Dolly, art work coming from the Third or Second worlds “is, than what it does.”

For these global exhibitions what is important in re-using art works from the Third or Second Worlds is the process of the compression of genealogical time, offering in such a way an evacuated, sanitized pure context that will thus be constantly perpetuated. Or to put this even more precisely, we see a process of the cannibalization or rapid assimilation of history and specific art practices. These exhibitions instantiated a new form of genealogy, one that eliminates “conventional genealogical time, order, and verticality.” An over-rapid historicization is what we have here, and the totality set on effaces the traces of its own (im)possibility.

Dolly is the vanishing mediator, as are works of art from the Third and Second Worlds. Dolly became even more an iconic sign of its vanishing mediation when she passed away in the year 2003.

What I am trying to develop here is an intensification of the politics of reproduction (as in the case of Dollyesque procreation) within a global cultural context that results in an enterprising-up of genealogy and processes similar to cloning. This specific type of cloning, which is firmly tied to technology, enables capital to remove the substance from the artwork. This has implications for the whole idea of enterprise. A process of expropriation is going on that bases difference on a very different bondage, influence, and constellations; the Third and Second Worlds’ difference(s) are seen solely through relations of enterprise and propriety. The exhibitions are owned and the works are branded! Donna Haraway in Modest Witness @ Second Millennium: Female Man© meets OncoMouse™ describes the effect of cloning precisely as the construction of a new kinship. She describes kinship as “a question of taxonomy, category and the natural status of artificial entities.” And what else are art works from the Third and Second Worlds than artificial entities, half cloned and in the process of forced naturalization within the only “natural and civilized” capitalist First World? What it is important to understand is the logic of the process. If we use Hegelian terminology, then the radically contingent struggle for hegemony can be operative only in so far as it represses its radically contingent nature, in so far as it undergoes a minimum of naturalization.

The brand becomes, for Haraway, a kind of hyper-mark. “The parent company,” which is in our case the well-administered global exhibition project, then connects brands and trademarks. As Haraway (through Franklin) points out: these commodity descent lines (and I will add – the Third and Second Worlds’ art works) present different kinds of substantial connection(s), kinship and genealogy which are established solely through trademark(s) or brand(s) as its mark(s). Such exhibitions can be seen therefore as projects that mark a different set of relations, which today are generated and procreated within the deadly influence of corporate techno-science, which radically overdetermines, forms and articulates what is considered global culture.

I can posit the following intermediary conclusions:

1. We can say that all these exhibitions have several fathers (and not one single mother, just as with Dolly) or owners who establish the brands. A specific marking now occurs through branding, which establishes a new proprietary relation. And this relation can be seen as the protection of capitalist property rights, which leads to the increasingly privatized ownership of different public projects, exhibitions and etc. All these ownerships – new paternal figures – are obscured by quasi impersonal rules and neutral principles in public, and heavy criticism in private, that make visible how these new fathers are behaving as dictators, imposing the absolute right of decisions. Most exhibitions are named after the father-curator!

2. What is missing in these exhibitions is “a patiently documentary genealogical critique,” as Ewa P³onowska Ziarek in her book An Ethics of Dissensus. Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy suggests; instead we get flat documentaries. The difference is crucial. In a flat documentary style of presentation it seems that “freedom” can be seen as an easily transferable possession or simply an attribute of the subject. Instead what is needed is a different viewpoint; we have to think here about “freedom” as a situated political praxis (situated knowledge, as Haraway argued) that can possibly create modes of being that are still improbable.

3. The process of cannibalization and over-rapid historicization is also happening within the capitalist First World (nothing is left out of the work of the capitalist machine) in order to give fresh blood to different histories and practices and even more to re-connect different sciences and theoretical works. We get exhibitions that connect technological inventions and theoretical work and all is shown in an obsessive natural way; it all seems as if it had already been working for centuries. Some exhibitions present such an artificially speeded up lineage of the first capitalist innovations and inventions that it is as if everything had already been here for at least five hundred years. What a powerful civilization and what a splendid science (be sure that here the Third and Second Worlds have nothing to look for!) that has always been on the right path – right from the very beginning. In producing this enterprised up continuity, the civilization can therefore survive happily in its neutrality and as well with its democratic invention(s). And beware, if necessary, everything will be defended to the last man! An excellent example is the New Tate Modern institution of art and its ways of dealing with art works; the way the works are presented there is also part of the new system of branding and marketing. Here we see the matrix of old and new, where rooms with titles announce wholly new dimensions or epochs. The social and political dimension is presented as just an event in the course of the new logic of the newly established order, where the social and political “room” is, so to speak, only a stage in a new a-historical art and cultural history.

Da capo senza fine (sounds familiar!): back to civilizational kinship.

In all these articulations theory has a special function and provides a methodology for hegemonic procedures. In the book Contingency, Hegemony, Universality by Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek, the authors deal with the notion of "oppositional determination.” The notion traces a trajectory from Hegel and Marx to Zizek in searching for a path to look into the location of theory and identities. The intention is to look at the process of theoretical writing and its complicity with power. We can detect a dialectical process between the technology of writing and the politics of publishing. Theory and the industry of theoretical writing are precise pyramidal constructions, carefully safeguarded. Who can publish, when they can and, moreover, who will give the first line of interpretation, all of this is extremely important for the capital machine. Huge symposia, seminars and panels organized to support world exhibitions and global cultural projects provide for the circulation of always the same theoretical personalities and public opinion makers and represent the reproduction of the capitalist machine in theoretical terms. In relation to capital, theory displays itself as an auto-regenerative hypertext. Just as with cloning, we witness the reproduction of capital in genetic terms. After the procedure of original accumulation, capital in its flexible stadium can circulate “naturally.” In such a way theory is not just innocent intellectual work, but is today part of the capitalist machine, enlarging its spiritual as well as its territorial aspirations. Well administered, with the facility of continuously publishing books within American university publishing houses (having remote departments in Western Europe, or vice versa), those who teach and produce knowledge in the capitalist First World have structured access to the printing tools and technical instruments of publishing.

What counts as political and as technical is at stake here. The line of demarcation between the technical and the political places knowledge inside the field of re-territorialized theory. I want to be very precise here: I want to emphasize the location of theory, because it is crucial not to forget one’s own complicity in the apparatuses of exclusion and inclusion that are constitutive of what may count as the theory/technology of writing and the politics of publishing. Lineage is very important, as is kinship. As Haraway argued, only some “writers” have the semiotic status of authors for any text, as only some actors and “actants” have the status of owners and inventors.

So, the question is not only how to be compatible with theory, or just in synch with a theoretical position, but also how to rethink theory as the struggle for an impossible-possible emancipation.


In relation to the above established genetic paradigm of contemporary art and culture it is also possible to discuss the paradigm of the new European Identity in order to situate or reformulate the postsocialist (transitional) condition of the East of Europe, within the matrix of relations and structures of power known precisely as the New Europe. These questions arise with the political and cultural changes that are the effect of the enlargement of the European Union by 10 new members. There is a constant patronizing of the states from Eastern or Central Europe that are called "reform states" by the so-called nucleus of Europe. It is said that these reform states, "need to learn the way” in order to "get things right." We have to be careful not to develop new forms of inequality, as “there is no center without a periphery.”

Even more, if we are to reflect on the future of the new Europe, then we have to take into consideration also the new productive anti-global and anti-hegemonic tendencies in art and culture.

It is therefore proposed that a possible unity/or a multiplicity of a common spirit can be found, my question is under which conditions? An analysis can be established reviewing what the thinking academic heads stated about Europe at the end of May 2003. On May 31, 2003, J. Habermas published a text in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, co-signed by J. Derrida (who argued that he was not able to join the writing of the text, but was happy enough to have a chance to at least sign it). This text is to be seen as a precise answer and a sort of “rebellion” against the January, 31, 2003 list of supporters of the USA war in Iraq, signed by some old and some new states that will become part of the EU. On May, 31, 2003, on the date when the Habermas text was published, U. Eco, G. Vattimo, R. Rorty and others also published additional texts supporting the main ideas formulated by Habermas, in different but not less important daily magazines.

Lets try to focus on what is, so to speak, to become the new European Identity and the new European spirit, rethinking first Habermas’, and afterwards Vattimo’s thoughts.

Habermas exposed in his text two main points that deserve to be analyzed. First, the new Europe has to be seen as a space of different speeds, at the heart of which remains what he named the avant-garde, the nucleus of Europe, formed by the most developed European countries. He is presenting again, though through a slightly new rhetoric, the old story of West and East. This difference is in his view underlined further as he sees the West as a spiritual framework, a contour that is much more than Europe, it is a spiritual habitat that is connected with individualism, rationalism, and, last but not least, with the Judeo-Christian framework. Everything, and I repeat, according to Habermas, has to be seen in complete “symphony” with the USA, Canada and Australia.

We have to note that Japan is omitted, although this Western spiritual framework is, first and foremost, the depiction of nothing other than that of the developed Western World, therefore of the First Capitalist World. It is important to note that according to the Vietnamese theorist and filmmaker, Trinh T. Minh-ha, within the Global World the Asian space is granted a specific set of domination relations and expropriation processes/evacuations of historical grounds. An obsessive situation exists toward this East (of Asia) that has to be seen as radically different from the East (of Europe). In relation to Asia, an almost daily shaping of different forms of inclusion and exclusion are activated, within and/or with the help of the First capitalist world.

Secondly, Habermas exposed in his text two main traits that are in his view at the root of Europe today. He stated that Europe has in common two main features: the totalitarian regimes and the Holocaust. Here I have to raise a question and to ask where and when we are then to include the massacres within the Balkan territory: Kosovo, Srebrenica, Vukovar? What is evacuated and abstracted is precisely the condition of the impossibility of Europe to become, as termed by Haberms, “a happily individual and rational Judeo-Christian entity.” Or lets put this differently, in this act of omission, we can detect precisely the evacuation and abstraction of that impossibility that today prevents the new European home (as termed by Vattimo) to be fully closed, completed and at peace with itself. The concentration camps, the massacres (SREBRENICA!) in the 1990’s in the Balkans must be evacuated, abstracted, and rejected, erased from the European memory, in order for this endeavor of the harmonious new European home to become a successful reality.

It is interesting to note that within the real space of Europe, the Balkans are, on one hand, perceived as a disgusting ‘remainder’, and therefore the massacres and killings there are constantly abstracted. On the other hand, as has been pointed out by the theorist Boris Buden, a specific obsession regarding Eastern Europe, precisely the Balkans, exists on the esthetic level. It seems that the Balkans are fulfilling a special role for the European imaginary identification processes. The Balkans are seen as an almost raw entity that can produce, but solely in the field of esthetics, new concepts, and therefore the Balkans are capable of providing to contemporary European art some sort of fresh blood. Viewed from such an angle, I can state that the former West of Europe is a vampire entity or a modern cannibal searching for fresh blood and raw meat! This can easily be understood if we think about the proliferation of exhibitions in Europe that attempt to search for the Balkan identity and the “honey” with which to cover up the bloody wounds produced in the real space of the Balkans also with the help of this same West of Europe.

G. Vattimo, takes us even two steps further in searching for the new European identity, exposing the fact that if we are to talk about identity, then it is something that goes beyond the national states of Europe. But is he not simply giving a positive mark to what is going on anyway in the real space of Europe? The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, The World Trade Organization today make the most important decisions regarding the economic and political situation and the future of a number of countries today, not only in Europe, but within the Global World. Moreover, following Giorgio Agamben, we have to assert that what really interests the West is genetic material, so-called biopower. There is a whole realm of new technology and biology that is coming together and opening a field that is known as bio-politics. Bio-politics are about exploring and producing (artificial) life, and is also the way modern States administer our lives today. Modern States, and even more so multinational companies instead of, or in the name of, nation states, are prescribing what life is, when we can die, etc. It is not the idea of nations so much that is a problem today, pace Agamben, but the administration of the definition of life and of our right to die. The borders in question are almost completely regulated by the bureaucratic administration of the Capital Machine, assuming all rights to decide on these topics. It is time to understand that the neo-liberal principles of the regulations governing economic, political and cultural imperatives are already at work here, going well beyond the national state interest.

And again, Vattimo talks about the gene of socialism, which can be seen as something specific to Europe. In doing so, he simply suggests that we have to put into parenthesis the real socialist histories of the horrors of Europe. But, the history of socialism cannot be evacuated from its Eastern European legacy. The gene of socialism as proposed by Vattimo is a process of the swallowing, or better put evacuating, of several decades of the histories of the East of Europe. This means to evacuate precisely those conditions of impossibility that would normally prevent one from seeing socialism only as a process of humanization and prosperity. In short, it would be possible to give to this second part of my text the following subtitle: “To whom belongs The Gene of Socialism?”

If it is to talk about genes, then it is to underline the gene of oppression and wars exported from the nucleus of Europe toward its eastern/southern borders or out of Europe. These genes produced millions of refugees, immigrants, people without papers, trafficking in bodies and minds, the slavery of millions, etc. The gene of inclusion and exclusion from or within Europe, is to be seen today, according to Gail Lewis, the British theoretician, also in the form of a black woman’s body, the body in constant processes of trafficking, exploitation and of being subsumed within different stories of contemporary racism.

And even more, if we are to count all the academic heads mentioned above who stood up in defense of the new Europe, all the members of the new holy alliance against the devil – outside of the new Europe, then we cannot just acknowledge what was stated by the American philosopher and feminist, Alison M. Jaggar, in an interview published in Zarez, Zagreb, that on a global neo-liberal scale, contemporary democracy has the face of a white man! And even more, she added that what is to be heard from the other part of the gender divide is only elite wealthy academic white women.

If we think within such parameters and the stories that are shaping the identity of the New Europe, then we cannot be but critical of stories of the empowering of naked life. Naked life (which I am using in reference to Giorgio Agamben) is a situation of absolute and total deprivation, when individuals have nothing but their (naked) life. The term comes from Roman Law, wherein slaves were perceived as sacred/animals, i.e. without any rights other than the right to have a naked life, and therefore only the right to die. Today we have a similar situation in relation to refugees, immigrants, emigrants, people without papers, etc, and also when thinking about contemporary slaves (the ones that are included within all sorts of trafficking: children, women, etc). We have to be critical toward such interpretations that see a source of irrational power coming or dissipating from so-called people without citizenship, with undocumented lives. To credit them an over-empowerment when they are bearing just a naked life is a dangerous form of academic institutionalization and moreover a rationalization of the total forms of oppression of people and bodies without papers, without rights, who are in possession of one thing only, their naked lives.

My critic is precisely against this transformation of naked life into a category of obscene jouisance, into a category of enjoyment. If we are to give credit to such stories, then it means we are to empower merely and solely the managerial academic groups within the global capitalist system that are trying to rationalize, in the world of an almost panicky, rotating global capitalist system, forms of deprivations and the naked lives of millions. Or better stated, in reference to Agamben, this is the rationalization of a life without form, or a process to give to formless forms of life a kind of form, but without life!


Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita, Einaudi, Torino, 1995.

Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality, Verso, 2000.

Sarah Franklin, “Dolly’s Body: Gender, Genetics and the New Genetic Capital” in: Marina Gržiniæ Mauhler, Ed., THE BODY/LE CORPS/DER KÖRPER, FILOZOFSKI VESTNIK, No. 2, Ljubljana: FI ZRC SAZU, 2002.

Donna Haraway, Modest Witness @ Second Millennium: Female Man© Meets OncoMouse™, London and New York: Routledge, 1997.

Ewa P³onowska Ziarek, An Ethics of Dissensus. Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.