Here is a course of action: harden, worsen, accelerate decadence. Adopt the perspective of active nihilism, exceed the mere recognition-be it depressive or admiring–of the destruction of all values. Become more and more incredulous. Push decadence further still and accept, for instance, to destroy the belief in truth under all its forms.
In this collection of essays and interviews from 1970-72, Jean-Francois Lyotard explores and drifts, as we drift, between art and politics, the "figural" and representation, silence and libidinal energy. Art becomes a deconstructing force that deals not with the signified of things but their form or plastic organization; and politics is the overturning of a mystified or alienated reality. The artists' reaction to capitalism, and their function, isn't anymore to create new good forms, but to deconstruct and accelerate their obsolescence. It is necessarily a critical activity.
In his essays dealing with Freud, Lyotard develops his thought on the figural and the unconscious as a topological space. Contrasting image-figure, form-figure, and matrix-figure, Lyotard establishes links between the order of desire and the figural through the category of transgression: transgression of the object, transgression of form, transgression of space. For him, the important thing is not to produce a consistent discourse but rather to produce "figures" within reality. For there is no point in changing social reality if all it does is set up the same form. Dealing with issues of depth and appearance, the body becomes a surface of inscription for flows of libidinal energy. We need to pay more attention to the silence of bodily organs which creates a tremendous dissonance: it is this silence that must be heard as the libido wanders through our bodies. What we enjoy in art is its ability to displace us, to make us drift.
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activity Adorno alienation anti-art appearance artists belongs body capital cathecting chord Claudius critical critique death drive deconstruction desire device dialectic discourse displacement disseizure dissonance dream drift energy father figure Freud fulfillment function Hamlet hear Ibid ideology image-figure intensity investments Jean Baudrillard Jean Starobinski Jean-Francois Lyotard kapital Klee Laertes language law of value Levinas libidinal longer Lyotard manifests Mario Tronti Marx Marxist mise-en-scene negativity noise non-fulfillment object Oedipus operations organs painting Paul Virilio perception phantasy phenomenological plastic political Polonids Pop art position possible practice precisely primary process principle problem produce proletariat psychoanalysis reality relation representation repression reversal revolutionary Roger McKeon scene screen secondary process sense set-up signified silence social society sound space speak Sprechgesang stage Standard Edition surface surplus-value theater theatrical theory things tonal Toni Negri traces tragic transformation transgression translated truth unity University voice wants words