"Artaud is nothing but the question itself, and it's a question raised to art, theatre and to society. The question itself cannot be defined because it's the function of the question which is important"
Sylvère Lotringer,“The Art of the Crack-Up” in Edward Scheer, ed. 100 years of Cruelty: Essays on Artaud.
"In this open discussion with Sylvere Lotringer, the question of how writing relates to art and politics is framed by Lotringer's lifelong love of the work of Antonin Artaud.
The discussion is accompanied by a short film screening of Lotringer's film Voyage to Rodez, and includes the participation of invited contributors.
What can Artaud, whose work has recently gained new advocates in both critical and creative art writing, tell us about the necessity of a mode of engagement based on provocation or 'cruelty' found not only in his work but echoed in Nietzsche, Bataille, Baudrillard? How can he be read in the context of recent re-conceptualisations of the subject/object divide in art? Lotringer's profound relationship with literature, his pivotal role in introducing and activating so much of the French Philosophy present in the contemporary art scene, his groundbreaking and influential publishing project Semiotext(e) – all contribute to his unique and formative presence in the art world.
Lotringer discusses with Katherine Waugh his personal relationship with literature, how this has influenced his theoretical engagement with thinkers such as Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard and Virilio and looks at where language stands today in relation to art."
by Katherine Waugh
Sylvère Lotringer is Professor Emeritus at Columbia University in New York and the founding editor of Semiotext(e). He is generally credited for introducing French Theory in America. He has written several books in collaboration with Jean Baudrillard (The Conspiracy of Art, New York, 2005, Oublier Artaud, Paris 2005) and Paul Virilio (Pure War, New York, 1982; Crepuscular Dawn, 2002; The Accident of Art, New York, 2005). His most recent books areHatred of Capitalism, New York, 2002; Fous d’Artaud, Paris, 2003 and A Satiete, Paris, 2006). He has written art essays on Nancy Spero, London, 1996 and David Wojnarowicz, New York, 2006 as well as catalogue essays for The Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum in New York, The Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Kuntshalle, Wien, amongst others. He is presently the Jean Baudrillard professor at the European Graduate School and at IDSVA.
Katherine Waugh is a writer, filmmaker and curator. Lotringer was one of the leading participants in her award winning The Art of Time; a film on the complex temporalities in contemporary art, film and architecture, which has shown internationally in galleries and film festivals in New York, Paris, the ICA and most recently in the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Excerpt from It's moving from I to It - The Library:
"This uncanny collage – this ménage à deux, moins him– remains exemplary of the kind of creative crossings that can be achieved between the various arts, but also between art and life, and art and death. Becoming someone else is a way of becoming oneself, which became the condition for his own poetics of chance and politization of aesthetics. His creative anarchism."