29 April 2013

Article: Bojana Cvejić, Marta Popivoda, Ana Vujanović and Bruno Latour, "A Conversation with Bruno Latour"

Making Things Public exhibition. Photo by Franz Wamhof.
Interviewers Bojana Cvejić, Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović delve into performance theory, politics and the public in this short interview with Bruno Latour, conducted at the end of 2011 and published in the most recent number of open-access TkH Journal for Performing Arts Theory (No. 20, 2012), devoted to the theme of Art and the Public Good.

Springboarding off the theoretical conceptions of the public posited by Walter Lippmann and John Dewey, Latour, Cvejić, Popivoda and Vujanović explore the difficulties of performing (in) a political moment, the disappearance of politics and fumbling in the dark, with a fleeting touch upon Latour's co-curated exhibition Making Things Public from 2005 (in the catalogue for which he produced the call-to-arms for an object-oriented democracy, "From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik"). Departing from a public/private divide in favour of recognising politics as located at that place of exception "where experts fail, where ... there is no procedure in place", Latour examines the sensitivities implicit in public and political actions.
"I can name the exact moment when it happened, when I started doing this ephemeral work of building a strange circle whereby you obtain something that is absolutely imposible: to speak in the name of several different people who say different things. And no habit can accomplish that. That's exceptional and if the principle of exception has an ephemeral quality to it, that's also what makes political activities hard."
No. 20 of ThK also includes a piece by Nina Power, which explores the London riots, the "public" and the legal status of art (this works through themes brought up in her public lecture of May 2012 blogged here) and a biting inquisition by Mario Kikaš into the failures of the critical theory sanctioned by the university, along with other short pieces exploring the various intricacies of performance theory, politics and the public. The next issue should be published soon this year.

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