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..Dr. Josip Rastko Močnik

In the framework of the Reflection on Contemporary Art: Seminar of Contemporary Performing Arts, MASKA and Cankarjev dom invite you to the first public lecture:

Dr. Josip Rastko Močnik: Dispositif: Art Practices and Revolutionary Practice

On Monday, 15 October 2010 at 19.00
Cankarjev dom, M3/4 Hall
Prešernova 10, Ljubljana

The lecture will comment on the following contradiction: on the one hand, contemporary art obsessively criticizes the current power relations, exploitation practices, etc., while, on the other hand, contemporary capitalism sees its solution in “creative industries”, including contemporary art. On the one hand, the fringes of aesthetic practices offer one of the rare havens for radical theory – on the other hand, the aestheticization and culturalization are one of the strongest weapons of contemporary reaction. We will try to analyse this contradiction with the concept of the “aesthetic dispositif” of our contemporaneity.
Foucault introduced the concept of the dispositif in a polemic against – as he himself put it – “totalitarian theories”, such as, psychoanalysis and Marxism. Foucault’s dispositifs are flexible sets of institutional procedures, classifications, dissections, designations, doctrines, and discourses and serve the exercise of power over an object they themselves establish (madness, disease, crime, sexuality, addiction, etc.) The strength of Foucault’s concept is precisely in the dispositifs themselves establishing the object they control. But, herein, lies also its weakness: where one would expect a theory of subjectification as subjection (assujetissement), he offers merely a banal theory of the constitution of the objects of knowledge. The dispositif is supposed to conceptualise that which the juridical and Marxist theories of power cannot capture. They are too rough and, at the same time, based on an economic understanding of power: in the juridical one, economic exchange is an implicit model, in Marxism, the economy is the explicit basis and power only its function.
We will show that, in the contemporary aesthetic dispositif, the legal and economic dimensions do operate – but so as to provide the subjectification of the bearers of art practices and thereby enable their subjection to the reproduction of power relations and exploitation.

Dr. Josip Rastko Močnik graduated in Sociology and World Literature with Literary Theory in 1968 from the Faulty of Arts in Ljubljana. Between 1968 and 1970, he worked as a journalist. During the 1969/1970 school year, he attended postgraduate studies at École pratique des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris, while, between 1973 and 1975, he studied at École des hautes études en sciences sociales. In 1983, he obtained his PhD in Sociology from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. He has been employed at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana since 1970, where he became professor of Sociology of Culture in 1997. His research fields include the theory of ideology, theory of discourses, theoretical sociology, theoretical psychoanalysis, semiotics, epistemology of the humanities and social sciences. He has written several tens of expert works and translated several expert texts from the English and French.

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