Art – By Marcelo Pakman

This post is also available in: Spanish

Poetics is used here as opposed to praxis.


The process associated to creation, to art. But today art is on its way to stop being a singular event.

Absolutely. This is a bit the history of Aesthetics as a discipline: to try to tame art, to make sure it doesn’t escape universality. It’s permanent process, something which the cybernetics have always understood well, in which we are constantly biting our own tail. Like the uroboros, the snake that eats itself. There is no rest in the process of going through the havoc that abstract reason, extreme universality can cause on the process of singularity.

In your book you tell a great number of real stories, but you also use literature, accepting the fact that fiction also describes the world.

The term I use most is to imagine: imagination. It’s a tradition which, as I say, is a little Averroist.

You make use of Averroes very freely, omitting his theory of double truth, one for religion, one for science and philosophy.

People who obsess about a subject often tend to do that. It’s the subject that makes you take different aspects from several authors that have said something about it, without taking into consideration the rest of their works.

In the second part you quote Susan Sontag, discussing the difference between what man is and what he does. But there are also references to Sartre, who claimed that humans are nothing but their acts. For example in Huis clos.

For me, the point of contact with the Sartrian point of view is that Sartre was very worried about objectivation. From there I go the idea that the only perfect object is the finished one. That finished object is the object of what has already been said, which I mentioned before and in which the “psy” people have specialized. The job of poetics is the continued discovery of that which opens up the objects, which removes their perfection, resurrects them from that finished essential moment, that dead moment Sartre spoke about. That’s the real therapeutic job.

It seems like the therapist tries to help the speaker reach what he wasn’t aware of, that is, consciousness. But it’s not clear whether it’s conscience or consciousness.

In therapy we should always keep away from the Sartrian Huis clos. Any therapeutic session is a Huis clos. And that’s the challenge of therapy: to be constantly trying to find that which we are, beyond that which we officially are. Every therapy session happens as if it was a rehearsal for a theater play, where the patient comes with his script and says: “Doctor, please, read your part.” And we also come with a similar script including the patient’s part. And sometimes those parts coincide fantastically and what happens is called psychotherapy, but it’s a totally programmatic psychotherapy, a huis clos psychotherapy. Everything makes sense, but nothing new is going to happen. We are simply going to recreate scripts. What’s interesting happens when one finds a way to turn down his assigned role in the script. That’s what I call effective criticism: not to enter that role which is already determined, and see where it leads us. It’s not true that, without it, we only have the void. What we have is the singularity of poetics: something full of things. Ordinary things, not extraordinary. What makes us think they are extraordinary is the menace from the micropolitical forces in which we function, which keep warning us: “careful with deviating from your method. You must follow the method. You must be scientific. You need to enter the universal, everything else is disreputable and leads nowhere, it has no evidence.” A fundamental word nowadays. Fundamental, also, in analytic philosophy: evidence. These are the forces that make finding the unique, poetics, worth it as the critical challenge nowadays.

It would be like the Stanislavski method, in which the actor is asked to reconstruct what is not written.

That method would be interesting because it points to a territory which is no completely alien to what I’m talking about, with a different terminology and a different meaning. What happens is that Stanislavski was quickly embraced by American culture, which processes things like finding the real self, the real oneself, behind the apparent oneself. And it closes the issue again right there. American culture is very good at adopting things and taming then. It quickly transformed what Stanislavski was pointing at, which is close to what I’m saying, turning it into “we must come out of the huis clos of our apparent self in order to find the real one.” And then we just relax and return to the huis clos.

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