Savoirs en Prisme | 13 : Autopoiesis. Fictions of the self or the art of creating oneself
Directed by Carmen Cortés-Zaborras and Luis Puelles Romero
In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche pointed to an original space of problematization that will reappear from diverse prisms throughout his entire work: “we have our highest dignity in our significance as works of art – for it is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that the existence and the world are eternally justified ». These words of the young philosopher can guide us around the questions proposed here. As Nietzsche understands it, there is no other justification for the existence of a subject, which will be bound to combine on a basis of multiplicity and fictionality.
Savoirs en Prisme invites researchers to the multi-angled analysis of the meanings contained in the practices of subjectivity in contemporary times: the « figurations » – objectual and related to events – within the postulate of invention of oneself found in literary and artistic creations throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, without excluding attention to certain traces that could lead us to previous periods. In this sense, one might suggest a certain genesis of how the demand to create oneself accompanies artistic production to our contemporaneity.
Currently, the ontology of the hyperreal has led us to a kind of fiction made in the plot of our own existence, increasingly versatile and « virtualized. » Thus, the ethical dimension is overlapped with aesthetics and artistic. It is as if it were feasible to abandon the illusions of aesthetic representation in order to make the leap to life strategies in which facts and fantasy were not distinguishable. Thus, the self could finally disperse in the multiple, in the quick experiences, in the splendid episodes of an artistically forged existence.
It is also necessary to ponder the epistemological conditions that could sustain a field of interdisciplinary exploration. Thus, there are several fronts that open and converge: from the identification postulates of a modern, sovereign and desiring subject, to the formulations related to the notion of « aesthetic existence » (Foucault), or to the analysis of cognitive budgets that would allow to value life as if it was a piece of art.
We can consider several fields of exploration, although not exclusive among themselves:
- The first would contribute to trace a genealogy of this motive, so that we could compose a framework of authors and variations that would lead us, in the basis of modern subjectivity, from the romantic artist to contemporary practices in which art and life are amalgamated.
- Other pieces of research might be focused on how certain literary monuments, for example, Rousseau’s Les Confessions or Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, formulate existence as a work of art. This writing of memory, not devoid of fable and recreation, is revealing of that same elaboration of oneself.
- Another field of study could be dedicated to specific cases of anonymous people who conceived and made their lives emulating the creation of works of art, but which are not among recognizable artists. For example, being forced to adopt – as is the case with spies, fugitives and adventurers – multiple, carefully managed lives, that have been the subject of a literary or artistic work.
- It would also be appropriate to attend to the epistemological complexity of our proposal, taking into consideration the interdisciplinary elements – philosophical, psychological, sociological, artistic, aesthetic – that intervene in addressing the question about the « philosophical » significance of autopoiesis. Under what conditions can the artistic anthropology of a multiple subject more experiential than substantive, more Nietzschean than Cartesian, be elaborated?
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