Foucault for Sale
reblogged from Foucault News:
Call for sponsorship to buy Michel Foucault’s archives (2013)
13 May 2013 by Clare O’Farrell
Call for sponsorship to buy Michel Foucault’s archives
Paris, 8 May 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA).
The Ministry of Culture sent out a call for sponsorship to French companies in order to purchase the archives of Michel Foucault.
The archives of the French philosopher consist of 37,000 hand-written or typed documents. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) stated its intention to acquire these documents, ranked as a national treasure, a year ago.
The call for sponsorship concerns €3.5m. Supporting the purchase of a national treasure for the State will allow indebted companies with company taxes to benifit from a reduction of up to 90% within 50% of the sum due.
The national treasure title is a way of protection in order to avoid goods holding a major historical, artistic and archeological value for the country from being exported. The BNF often uses this procedure to enrich its collection. That is how in 2009 it bought the archives of Guy Debord, while Yale University showed its interest in the purchase as well.
Some (nice) thoughts about punishment
On being asked in an interview whether he envisaged a world without prison, Michel Foucault gave the following response:
“The answer is easy: there have been societies without prisons; it was not so long ago. […]
You want me to describe a utopian society where there would be no prison. The problem is to know if we can imagine a society in which groups themselves controlled the application of rules. It is the whole question of political power, the problem of hierarchy, of authority, of the state and state apparatuses. It is only when we have cleared away the brushwood from this immense problem that we will finally be able to say: yes, we should be able to punish this way, or, it is completely useless to punish, or again, society ought to give such a response to this irregular conduct.”
‘Prisons and Revolts in Prisons’ Interview with B. Morawe (June 1973)
This evening I went to a book launch for Thom Brook’s Punishment (Routledge, 2012). My understanding of academic book launches was that the author gives a little taster of what’s in the book and then colleagues, editors, publishers and other relevant minor celebrities on the topic all gush praise on to the author before a wine reception during which everyone else there is guilted into buying a copy of the book.
There was no wine. There was no sign of Routledge. Instead Frances Crook and Baroness Stern deftly demolished poor Brooks and his theoretical posturing on punishment, congratulating him on his ‘interesting’ book and his ‘nice thoughts’. But this wasn’t your average academic pissing contest where junior colleagues are bitch slapped back into their rightful subordinate box. Both Crook and Stern made some excellent points about punishment which for all their simplicity are no less worth repeating.
Crook organised her comments into 9 key points or perhaps theses:
1. the central assumption that punishment is legitimate should be questioned.
2. can punishment ever really be talked about in the abstract?
3. surely punishment always involves inflicting pain.
4. where punishment once constituted a major form of public spectacle and amusement - is this still not often the case?
5. to suggest that the criminal justice system can sort out someone’s life is fallacy and inappropriate
6. curfews and tagging are forms of punishment bringing, an albeit lesser form of, prison into society
7. prison doesn’t make people reflect on what they’ve done but become more selfish
8. Abolish prisons. Very few people pose the kind of threat to society that requires their exclusion.
9. the justice system is still based on the notion of proportionality - ‘an eye for an eye’ etc. - and consequently can only over involve the infliction of pain. what’s required is a radical notion of transformative justice which abandons the whole idea of punishment.
Baroness Stern’s critique was aimed more squarely at certain parts of Brooks’ book but also made some generic point:
1. the term ‘offender’ is objectionable and should be avoided
2. there is no link between ‘crime’ and ‘morality’ - I found the use of the term ‘morality’ by all speakers somewhat problematic yet it also seemed strangely appropriate in its appeal to a general humanist stance towards crime and punishment.
3. individuals are not just punished for the crimes they have committed but , in the case of indeterminate sentences, for those they might go on to commit
4. the dialectic which pits ‘deserve’ against ‘require’ in the discussion of punishment needs to be rethought rather than assumed as valid
5. punishment is not therapeutic but rather entails:
- learning the rhetoric of remorse
6. what does it even mean to talk about a punishment ‘working’ or not? What does ‘work’ mean in this context?
7. how did punishment become transformed into a welfare service for criminals and subsequently spawn a whole industry of bad data and statistics on its effectiveness?
8. what about desistance theory?
14th Street: A Photo Essay
Some things that I read when looking for John and Theodor. Welcome to the empire state of signs. Not so much an exercise in psychogeographic framing, wanderlust or rhizomo-nomadic masturbatory drifting as a few badly taken snapshots the juxtaposition of which brought me some brief and mild amusement…
A short exercise in semiology and urbanism.
not necessarily in that order.
If there’s no answer - try some or all of the following:
Step 2. (actually you’re not allowed on these steps)
Step 3. How do you poison a TV? Narrative already lost its thread…
maybe like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krsj2bcnRlM
Step. 4 why should an image have any tangible relationship to the text next to it?
Step 5. As the typos seem to imply - perhaps they are spreading themselves a little thin here?
Step 7. But only after you’ve finished Step 6. (I know I’ve already used a variation of this sign but the street is as much about repetition as it is about difference.)
Step, or more accurately, Hop 8.
This seems to be a shop for all one-legged people going by the name of ‘John’.
Then it turned into an existentialist joke like the one where Jean-Paul and Simone are in Les Deux Magots…
Call for Papers: Common Ground
Common Ground – A Two-Day Conference organized by the Centre for Cultural Studies
24-25 June 2013. Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
Call for Papers:
Postgraduates in the Centre for Cultural Studies are pleased to announce their annual conference. This year’s theme is Common Ground and we would like to invite papers, artistic presentations, workshops and panel proposals on all aspects of this topic.
This conference comes out of a shared frustration with the framing of canonical discourses. For every subject and object in the world, there is a linear story of its explanation– a forward-projecting narration of origins, development, transformation and signification. What is accomplished in this expository process is a reductivism that not only privileges particular modes of explanation, of knowing, but in doing so also neutralizes the grounds of subversive potential. How can we explode these centralizing rationalities and reconfigure the conceptual space of knowing? How can we think critically about literal and metaphorical spaces and the accompanying temporalities which claim to bring individuals together and form alternative modes of collective being but simply end up privileging dominant, homogenising discourses of social control and organization?
Possible topics could include but are by no means limited to:
Writing and Rewriting History
Time, history and asynchronicity
Homogeneity and hegemony
Discourses of Inclusion/Exclusion
The collective vs. the individual
Who are the 99%?
Nationalism and Identity
Digital Technologies and posthumanism
Crossing borders and limits
Spaces of convergence – the street, the square
Public vs. private spaces
Encounters, confrontations, conflicts
The production of difference
Subversive spaces and temporalities
Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and emailed to:
email@example.com. Deadline for submissions is 26 April 2013. For more information please visit www.commonground2013.wix.com/conference
Some maps of London by this year’s Text and Image class. Unfortunately my scanner is broken and the lighting in here lacks a certain studio quality. Have tried not to cut anything off… Will redo - neater, clearer, better when sort out a new scanner.
Thanks to Lara Choksey for the idea.
Orson Welles film season
Curated by Anisha Ahmed, the Centre for Cultural Studies Monday night film will resume on 18 February with a mini Orson Welles season. The line up is as follows:
18 February - Mercury Theatre radio broadcast: The War of the Worlds.
25 February - The Magnificent Ambersons.
4 March - Touch of Evil
11 March - The Trial
18 March - F for Fake
We’ll also be showing some of the Orson Welles Sketchbook during screenings.
6.30pm. The Council Room, Laurie Grove Baths, New Cross.
Monday night film - Erasing David (2010)
A documentary about privacy, surveillance and the database state.
After the Child Benefit Office claim they have ‘lost’ his daughter’s details - David leaves her and his pregnant wife to find out how easy it is to get ‘lost’ inside and outside of the system…
Monday 4 February 2013, 6.30pm
The Council Room, Laurie Grove Baths, Goldsmiths.
This is not a sailboat
Notes from my Monday lecture.
In Kevin Smith’s film Mallrats (1995)there is an ongoing narrative of William’s failure to see the sailboat hidden within a ‘magic eye’ image. The narrative - which punctuates the main story – this functions as comic relief within an already comic tale but what makes William the comic relief rather than a protagonist or antagonist is that his story can only ever be a form of punctuation. Despite being white and male like the majority of the other characters in the film – his weight and appearance deny him a major role in the film. His exclusion from seeing the image attests to his wider social exclusion. His blocked gaze, his impotence. Moreover, the more he attempts to gain access, to be included, to share in the vision of the sailboat – the more his exclusion is compounded. When, at the end of the film, he finally sees the image, it no longer matters. Inclusion is granted when it ceases to be of value.
Those who can make out the image participate in a shared experience which precludes those who can’t. Knowing what the image here is supposed to be provides no assistance with actually seeing it. Hence, the double irony later in the film when a small girl says she can see a schooner - William laughs smugly – not realizing she has not only seen the boat but defined it with yet more precision.
The process by which our gaze is blocked, whereby we are prevented access to a vision or image of something – in this case the sailboat – raises various questions about the gaze itself, the way it is mediated, filtered and blocked.
Monday Night Film - The Pillowbook
Postponed from last week, this Monday 28 January, film night will resume with Peter Greenaway’s The Pillowbook (1996). The film will be introduced with a short talk by CCS’s own Theo Reeves-Evison.
6.30pm, The Council Room, Laurie Grove Baths, Goldsmiths. All Welcome.
Text and Image - Lecture 3
The Text and Image lecture series continues next Monday 21 January with ‘The Refracted Image’ which currently looks something like this:
More to follow.
11-12, BPLT, Goldsmiths. All Welcome.