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Thinking Contemporaneity through Image : Alain Badiou's Conception of Image

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2017, 52(), pp.73-95
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.52.0.03
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : October 31, 2017

Tae Soon Chang 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Badiou did not seem to have given the concept of the image any serious thought, despite his extensive work on the philosophy of art and the commentaries of other contemporary philosophers such as Foucault, Deleuze or Lyotard. However, in Images du temps présent (Images of the Present Time), Badiou turns to image as a way of interrogating contemporaneity. More specifically, he refers to Jean Genet's play Le Balcon (The Balcony), in which he discerns four major elements: 1) structure, 2) truth or exception to the structure, 3) bare power, and 4) the emblem of bare power. Badiou claims that the play shows how an exception to the structure is “normalized” by the emblem of bare power. Here image plays a crucial role because it serves as an emblem of bare power. Badiou draws an analogy between the four elements in the play to contemporary society, where today's emblem of bare power is democracy. To fight this emblem, Badiou proposes to set up a kind of “image” of the exception, which he calls as “idea.” The image we need today is communism, and as a reference to this insight he named a series of conferences “The Idea of Communism.”

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